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|Index||17 reviews in total|
"Colonel Korny's World Famous Circus" is in town, featuring "Bruno, the
Skobokian Acrobatic Bear." The colonel gets a phone call informing him
of a talented rabbit and the boss says, okay, tell him to come down and
I'll have him perform with Bruno. The big bear, overhearing this, is
not happy. "Nobody shares the spotlight with Bruno The Magnificent," he
tells us (the viewers), "especially a stinking little rabbit."
Anyway, the act starts that night and immediately, Bruno starts sabotaging Bugs, trying to ruin him. After Bugs takes some big-time licks, he catches on and the tables are turned. The two go at it the rest of the night and you know who will wind up the big winner. How Bugs brutalizes the beast is pretty funny with some clever ideas. The sight gags were good, too, such as Bugs "pedaling" a bicycle in midair. The movie ends with a bang, literally.
This is prime Bugs Bunny humor.
I've never been a fan of Robert McKimson's 'Big Top Bunny' and the main
reason for that is its villain, Bruno the Slobokian Bear. Aside from
his tiresome accent and general lack of charisma, Bruno is so
unappealingly designed. A big, ugly brown and white lump, Bruno used to
freak me out as a child. I first encountered him on my old Viewmaster
which had a single frame from this cartoon, an image of Bugs Bunny
flying through the air towards Bruno. I could recognise Bugs instantly
of course, but the other character was indistinguishable and disturbing
to me. I couldn't tell who or what it was and I used to peer at it
through the two eyepieces of the Viewmaster with a mixture of intrigue
and genuine unease.
All these years later, I have encountered Bruno on screen several times and my unease has melted into disinterest. Thankfully, this tedious character was never used again after 'Big Top Bunny' and it's not hard to see why. Writer Tedd Pierce struggles to find an enjoyable way to use such a lumpy character and, as a result, Bruno poses so little threat to Bugs that the rabbit doesn't even seem to be trying, resorting in some very feeble clowning. There are a couple of exceptions: an inventive gag involving a pocket watch and the finale in which Bruno and Bugs attempt to one-up each other by threatening to jump off ever higher platforms into diminishing amounts of water, resulting in the deeply satisfying image of Bruno slamming his frightening face into solid cement! Apart from those brief moments of respite, 'Big Top Bunny' is a massive let-down right down to Bugs' off-form final comment to camera.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a 7-minute Warner Bros. cartoon from almost 65 years ago. Bugs Bunny is the star again this time and he joins a circus where he meets a jealous bear who is not willing to share being the top attraction. Early on, Bugs does everything right basically, but the bear starts bullying him and that's never a good idea with Bugs. At the latest when he asks you "What's Up Dawg", you know that you are in deep trouble. Director McKimson and writer Pierce have worked on so many Looney Tunes that they knew exactly what they were doing. And here they include basically all the circus equipment and references you can think of to make this an enjoyable watch. One of the better Looney Tunes from the 1950s and it is actually a bit of a pity that Bruno did not appear in further films. Good stuff and I recommend it.
I love Bugs Bunny and I love Looney Tunes, but I am sorry to say I am
not a fan of Big Top Bunny. It definitely wasn't awful, but it is one
of my least favourite Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Starting with the good things, I did like the animation in general. The colours are great, as are the backgrounds and Bugs looks fine. The music has its usual energy and quirkiness, while the dialogue is reasonably amusing and the sight gags while slightly lacking in originality are decent especially with the idea with the heights. And as always Mel Blanc's voice work is superb.
However, there are things that make Big Top Bunny somewhat decidedly lacklustre. The story is incredibly predictable and offers little to no surprises, while the pacing is uneven, it starts off slow and then it suddenly feels as though a bomb has hit it and it doesn't slow down. My main problem with Big Top Bunny is the character of Bruno. I do not like him... at all. In this cartoon, Bruno's character design is the only one I don't care for, it is ugly and I think inconsistent too, while the voice was rather tiresome and some of his dialogue did little for me either.
Overall, not terrible but sadly not particularly good either. 6/10 Bethany Cox
Bruno, a Slobokian bear (whatever that is) and a circus acrobat, does
not take kindly to having Bugs Bunny join his previously solo act at
Colonel Korny's World Famous Circus. Somehow, during a performance, an
anvil ends up where Bugs's head should go. Fool him once, shame on the
Slobokian bear. But Bugs won't be fooled twice. He's ready for Bruno's
dirty tricks throughout the rest of the act and has a few tricks of his
own. Somehow Bruno ends up taking several falls into a bass drum before
finding himself competing with Bugs in a high diving act. Will Bugs or
Bruno take the dip?
Robert McKimson, a flaccid director, does a better-than-average job here. Bruno is a funny creation, thanks in large part to Mel Blanc doing the Russian-accented voice. The character animation is particularly strong; the gags are reasonably funny; and we're made particularly eager to see Bugs triumph over this bullying jerk. This is a good cartoon: no more, no less.
This cartoon is available on the "Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume One," Disc 1.
Bugs has been much better elsewhere. Though the big top has great potential, as does the villainous Bruno, it's all too familiar, with most of the gags and wisecracks coming off as average at best. But what else can you expect from McKimson?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
. . . current Russian President "Mad Dog" Putin. Displaying their usual Nostradamus-besting prophetic gifts, the folks behind the Looney Tunes animated shorts of the 1950s picture "Bruno the Slobokian Acrobatic Bear" as someone who says they're doing one thing while they're actually committing something entirely different. For instance, Putin will say he's "protecting" the one ethnic Russian guy in a seaport two thousand miles from Russia when he's actually forcibly annexing that city, and carrying out genocide against its 400,000 Non-Russian natives in order to construct a deep-water naval port for a Russian surface and\or submarine fleet. Two or three years later Putin might let slip out (over cocktails at the United Nations), "Oh, by the way, I just noticed that someone actually DID build one of our Russian naval bases over there in the Ukraine, or Syria, or wherever, but it was surely in self-defense." During BIG TOP BUNNY, Bruno (the Putin stand-in) promises to "save" Bugs from numerous circus perils, all the while setting Bugs up for certain death. Bugs finally makes the world safe from Putin (or Bruno) by nuking the Russian-accented bear out of the Looney Tunes Universe, which America will need to do with Mad Dog in Real Life (hopefully, sooner rather than later).
Bugs joins a circus and is paired with an acrobatic bear named Bruno. Bruno doesn't like having Bugs forced upon him so he does what he can to make life miserable for the rabbit. Bugs, as you probably expect, doesn't take kindly to Bruno's antagonism. A middling effort from Robert McKimson. The animation is fine and the colors are nice. The music is lively and whimsical. The voice work from Mel Blanc is good, as always. The problem is the short is very predictable with no gags that really stand out. The bear Bruno is unlikable and, frankly, a lazy character. Bugs is only as good as his antagonists and here he's saddled with an unremarkable villain with a corny accent. Not to mention he's drawn rather unimaginatively, too. Anyway, it's not the worst Bugs short by far but it doesn't hold up to the high standards his cartoons usually had in the 1950s.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Big Top Bunny" is an excellent Bugs Bunny cartoon that teams him up
with Bruno the Slobokian Acrobatic Bear. The arrogant Bruno becomes
insanely jealous about having Bugs horn in on his circus act. There is
absolutely no way in hell Bruno is going to allow himself to be
upstaged by a little gray rabbit!
My favorite scenes from "Big Top Bunny" include the following (DO NOT read any further if you have not yet seen this cartoon). Bruno is quite funny even in his first scene as he expresses his disgust (with a humorously thick accent that could only be voiced by Mel Blanc) about having to share the spotlight with Bugs. During a fall, Bruno lands inside a tuba, which blasts him out onto a kettledrum, where he gets struck with a pair of mallets. The scene that probably makes me laugh the most is that of Bugs and Bruno continually elevating their heights above the ground and arguing about who will jump first - into a block of cement!
Please, oh PLEASE, let us not overlook composer/arranger Carl W. Stalling's contribution to "Big Top Bunny". The fact that he could quote a Sousa march one moment and a popular song the next is a testament of his true genius. Animation historian Michael Barrier's audio commentary for the DVD (the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 1 Disc 1) is essentially a kind tribute to Maestro Stalling.
When the circus hires Bugs Bunny as an attraction, Bruno-an Eastern European bear, gets jealous and tries to sabotage him. He succeeds the first time but the rabbit catches on. The gag where Bruno ends up in the band's kettle drum isn't funny but everything else is. I especially liked the one when Bugs, after being given a handle with bear hands by Bruno on his trapeze, uses that handle and "peddles" his way back to the bear's starting base. Robert McKimson didn't make the greatest Warner Bros. cartoons compared to Chuck Jones, Friz Freling, Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, or Frank Tashlin but because of all that talent that surrounded him, he could still make good animated shorts that can be entertaining in themselves. Big Top Bunny is one of them.
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