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With: (voices) Maurice LaMarche, Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille, Frank Welker, Roddy McDowall
Written by: Gordon Bressack, Charles M. Howell, IV; Peter Hastings, Earl Kress, Jed Spingarn, Wendell Morris, Tom Sheppard, etc.
Directed by: Kirk Tingblad, Charles Visser, Nelson Recinos, Russell Calabrese, etc.
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 471
Date: 03/18/2013

Pinky and the Brain Vol. 1-2 (1995)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Citizen Brain

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Warner Bros. has recently released two box sets of 1990s animated TV shows produced by Steven Spielberg. The first, "Animaniacs" (1993-98), has aged badly, moving at hyper-speed and firing off lame wordplay and bad pop culture references like paint balls. But "Pinky and the Brain" (1995-98) has only improved, relying on sly, clever wit and actual jokes. The simple premise has two lab mice, their brains and personalities altered by endless, nameless experiments, planning to take over the world. Brain (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) is the ringleader, the smart one, with a hypnotic baritone sounding like a combination of Orson Welles and Vincent Price. Pinky (Rob Paulsen) is the imperturbable one, happy and dumb, always ready with a non sequitur in his high-pitched British accent. Their plans are impossibly elaborate and necessitate several peculiar steps before world domination even approaches. In one episode, Brain disguises himself as an office worker who tries to raise money for the second part of his plan by staging an accident and claiming worker's comp. The imagination that went into these twisty plots is commendable, but it's the clever byplay between the two characters -- and the assumption that the audience is smart enough to follow -- that makes it a keeper.

DVD Details: The new box set from Warner Home Video comes with the first 22 episodes on four discs, including the Christmas special (1995). Extras include a featurette, interviewing the voice talent.

DVD Details II: In December of 2006, Warner Home Video released Volume 2, with more of the same.

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