'Pinky and the Brain' is an example of brilliant animation and have always marginally preferred it over 'Animaniacs'. All of that show's numerous qualities are present here while making them even better, even more in quantity and even bigger in quality. It has always been one of my favourite shows, but love it even more as an adult due to more knowledge of animation and understanding the humour more. Same with animation in general. 'Pinky and the Brain' is like 'Animaniacs', it has something for everybody and children and adults alike will love it, it is so much more than "just another kiddie show" and should never be dismissed as such.
Both segments for this episode are wonderful, with as perfect parodies/spoofs of 'Winnie the Pooh' and 'Hamlet as one can get.
There is little to criticise the animation quality for. The characters designs have no stiffness (personally think they have a little more refinement than those in 'Animaniacs'), the backgrounds have nice rich detail and the colours are a mix of vibrant and atmospheric.
Music is without fault too. The scoring is dynamic and composed in a way that is always adding to the actions, expressions and gestures and doing what good music scores in animation should do in enhancing them. "The Wonderful Thing About Jagger" song has some genius lyric writing, 'Pinky and the Brain' was always great when it came to lyric writing in its musical numbers.
Have always loved the writing for 'Pinky and the Brain' and do so here. It is very smart, its best parts riotous. It is zany, witty and surprisingly intelligent, with references that will delight adults especially as they are more likely to get them. It achieves a perfect balance of never being too simplistic or too convoluted.
Once again, this episode is a not so common example of formulaic not being a bad thing, like 'Pinky and the Brain' in general, and not mattering at all, because of the cleverness, creativity and idea variety of the writing and storytelling, here benefitting from a different opened up location. One worries about repetition, no worries are needed because there is a lot of freshness and variety in both segments to stop that from happening.
Understanding the writing and storytelling shouldn't be too much trouble for younger audiences but adults will get more out of it, because the humour is more understandable when older due to more familiarity. It is easy to follow while not being childish, "Brainie the Poo" epitomises childhood innocence like 'Winnie the Pooh' should, while with lots of zany wit in typical 'Pinky and the Brain' style, and plaudits should always be given to anything that succeeds in making Shakespeare and 'Hamlet' (one of his most justifiably famous plays, but also one of his most complicated) accessible for all ages
Characterisation always was a major strength. Pinky and Brain were two of 'Animaniacs' best characters, Brain especially stole the show whenever he appeared and elevated already very good to great episodes to an even better level, and more than deserved their own show. For me they are even more interesting and defined here, appropriate seeing as they are the focus and lead characters here. It is hard to not love Pinky and his inane comments and actions, he is not exactly bright and Brain's frustration is understandable. But he is one of the finest examples of stupid not falling into the trap of being obnoxious, throughout the show's run Pinky never came over as annoying, he instead is very funny, hilarious even, and very cute.
Brain is slightly more interesting, especially in "Melancholy Brain" where his more serious side again is seen. He has always been the infinitely smarter one of the two, a genius in fact, although also the meaner and more intricate one. A very large contrast. Somehow though he is still very lovable, it is impossible not to fall in love with his schemes. Nor is it impossible not to love his deadpan personality and dark sarcasm.
Have always loved the relationship/chemistry between Pinky and Brain. The duo's always compelling personalities never feel false or overdone, and the depth to their contrasting personalities and relationship has not once been forgotten. The chemistry between the two is just delightful, sometimes antagonistic but there is more substance to it than all of that. It is essentially the show's heart, it was essential for it to work (make or break) and it does brilliantly.
"Brainie the Poo" and "Melancholy Brain" both fare well in the supporting characters, with the former faring slightly better. Especially Jagger, both very funny and endearing.
It would be a tall order replacing Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche, two of the best and most prolific voice actors, if a reboot was ever attempted, and in my mind it is nigh on impossible. Both are amazing here and throughout the show gave some of their best ever work, especially LaMarche. They are one of the main reasons as to why the characters work so well, their voices suiting the them and their personalities perfectly. The bond between them throughout 'Pinky and the Brain' has always been present and never been lost.
Paulsen and LaMarche are not the only voice actors who make a big impression. Out of one of the largest supporting casts in a 'Pinky and the Brain' episode, Jeff Bennett is a quite riotous Jagger. John Rhys-Davies brings a thoughtful, sonorous quality voicing the narrator and Cary Elwes is an interesting choice for Hamlet and comes off well.
All in all, another expectedly brilliant 'Pinky and the Brain'. 10/10