SUMMARY: Self-styled space hero Duck Dodgers goes in search of the rare element Illudium Phosdex (the shaving cream atom) but ultimately ends up locked in a vain battle with a martian to claim Planet X.
WHY IT’S HERE: Chuck Jones’s ‘Duck Dodgers in the 24th ½ Century’ has always been the most popular of his Daffy and Porky genre spoofs and it isn’t hard to see why. Aside from a cracking script by Michael Maltese, ‘Duck Dodgers…’ is one of the most handsome Warner Bros. cartoons ever made. While almost every second of an average Warner cartoon is dedicated to either gags or story development, ‘Duck Dodgers…’ features moments of visual brilliance that relate to neither. Most memorable is the giant eyeball that watches Daffy as he walks beneath it, an image which has no real comic value but is just beautiful to look at. Once the intrepid duo reach Planet X, however, the cartoon is all about brilliant jokes, my favourite of which is the Acme disintegrating pistol (“Well, whadda you know, it disintegrated”). The extremely on-form Porky’s final deadpan address to camera is also classic. In one of his few appearance which nevertheless afforded him star status, Marvin the Martian proves an amusing adversary for Daffy. He doesn’t get as much chance to shine as in the cartoons that pitted him against Bugs since Porky and Daffy steal all the best moments but he is still a memorable villain whose well documented ineptitude proves more than a match for Daffy’s inadequate heroics. ‘Duck Dodgers in the 24th ½ Century’ is an undoubted classic which can count among its fans George Lucas, who selected it to be shown before the cinema screenings of his re-released ‘Star Wars’.