"THE FIRST EASTER RABBIT"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Available on DVD February 16
     www.KidsWB.com
    Studio: Warner Bros.

    Back to DVD Review Home

   

WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The classsic Rankin/Bass animated television special, “The First Easter Rabbit,” has been given a new life on DVD. Featuring the voice of Burl Ives, this half-hour cartoon tells the origin story of the Easter Bunny, with the help of a magical toy and Santa Claus.

WHAT I LIKED
I grew up watching the Rankin/Bass classics, and while I don’t remember “The First Easter Rabbit,” I remember this style perfectly. For those who aren’t familiar with the special, this utilizes the same animated look of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” with the mustache-less Santa and the brainy mouse who ruined Christmas.

It’s not as much of a classic as “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” but “The First Easter Rabbit” is still a neat little show for the kids. It ties in the legend of Santa Claus nicely into the mix, and it has a sweet story. There’s a small homage to “The Velveteen Rabbit,” which is a favorite childrens story, along with some nods to Jack Frost as well.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I’ll be the first to admit that this kind of animation style is crude and rudimantary. It’s also very retro, which is hip now, so it works in today’s context. However, kids that have been raised on Flash animation might get a little bored with this old-school cartoon.

Ultimatley, though, Easter specials have never really been a huge hit. There are a few notable exceptions, like “It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown,” but the story of the Easter Bunny just doesn’t seem to have the same pizzazz as Santa and Rudolph’s stories in December.

DVD FEATURES
The only features on this DVD include some trailers and six menu-based puzzles that the kids can play with the remote.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Rankin/Bass fans and grown-ups who remember these TV specials.



"BUGS BUNNY’S EASTER FUNNIES"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr


    MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
    BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)

    Not Rated
    Available on DVD February 16
    Official Kids WB site
    Studio: Warner Bros.

    Back to DVD Review Home

   

WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Back in the 70s, the folks behind the Looney Tunes brought a bunch of the old cartoons out of the vault and put a wrap-around story with them. This particular television special features Granny looking for someone to replace the Easter Bunny, who is sick. She tries Bugs, Pepe Le Pew and even Daffy, which results in flashbacks to the aforementioned classic shorts.

WHAT I LIKED
Ultimatley, I feel that any presentation of the Looney Tunes has some great stuff in it. Some of the brilliant shorts featured in this longer-form television special include “Knighty Knight Bugs,” “Robin Hood Daffy,” “Birds Anonymous,” “For Scent-imental Reasons,” “Sahara Hare,” “Rabbit of Saville,” “Hillbilly Hare,” “Tweety’s Circus” and “Little Boy Boo.”

Watching this series of truncated cartoons reinforces the fact that Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng and Robert McKimson were absolute geniuses of animation. It also gives a nice mix of the Looney Tunes characters and reminded me that second to Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam is probably my favorite.

Sure, we’ve seen these short films before because they are classics. In fact, “Birds Anonymous,” “For Scent-imental Reasons” and “Knighty Knight Bugs” were all nominated for Academy Awards. I had a blast watching these again with my kids, and they got a kick out of me laughing at the slapstick.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The weak link in this special is the wrap-around story. While it was directed by the same people, there’s something cheap about the animation, voice recording and production value of these 70s-era cartoons. I prefer the charm of the older cartoons, and I’m happy I was able to experience them as well in this hour-long special.

DVD FEATURES
This disc features a bonus cartoon with more flashbacks: “His Hare-Raising Tale” as well as three interactive puzzle games for the kids.

WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Looney Tunes fans. Woot! Woot! Woot! Woo-hoo!




    

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