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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was a child of the 80s and grew up watching this special every single
Easter. We even had a copy on a battered old VHS that my father had
taped off of the television. So even if it didn't air on a network, we
were still always able to see "The Easter Bunny is Comin' to Town" when
Easter rolled around. It had literally been decades since I'd last seen
it when I came across it on YouTube and decided to watch it for old
time's sake. I vaguely remembered the plot and characters, and some
bits of dialog verbatim, but I had forgotten quite a lot about this
little special. I sat with my husband and hoped that I would be
rediscovering a gem of my childhood that I could share with my own son
in a few years. Boy was I wrong.
I'm a big fan of all the classic Rankin Bass stop-motion holiday specials, but this one? In a word, terrible. Even the rose-colored glasses of my childhood nostalgia couldn't save this one. In fact, I was shocked when I came on here to see that there was not one negative review for this appalling program. I felt compelled to write my own review, because someone needs to be honest here, this program is just not good.
For starters, this special is little more than "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" with the Easter Bunny shoe-horned into Santa's role. Complete with the Fred Astaire character and the reading of children's letters with questions for the Easter Bunny during the intro. Since when do children write letters to the Easter Bunny anyway? But I'll be kind and ignore this. It even looks like they've reused the same set for Somber Town that was used in "SCICTT", so it's very difficult to ignore the similarities. As with the Christmas special, the whole point of the show is to explain why we do certain things at Easter, but the scenarios they come up with to explain why we do certain Easter traditions are ridiculously laughable.
By far the worst explained Easter tradition is, "Why do we dress up on Easter?" There is a big mean bear who lives on the mountain that separates Kidville from the rest of the civilized world. Sunny the Easter Bunny decides that in order to warm the bear's icy heart, all he needs is a new suit of clothes. One minute the bear is all roaring and mean, but then once he sees his new clothes he becomes a sobbing mess and is a pushover for the rest of the film. This was the best they could come up with to explain wearing nice clothes on Easter? It makes my brain hurt.
Also I understand that this is a children's program and no one is expecting writing on par with Citizen Kane, but there are plot holes in this special big enough to float the Titanic through. It really feels like the people involved in this special didn't even try.
Sunny the Easter Bunny lives in a town called Kidville, where everyone is a kid, even the teachers and mayor. As the special progresses, several Easters pass, but not a single one of the children age a day. This could have easily been explained away with a quick mention of Kidville being a magical place, but not even that deus ex machina is utilized.
When the villains are trying to thwart Sunny in his attempts to bring a trainload of Easter goodies into town, their "brilliant" plan is that they put butter on the train rails to make the train slip. After this plan doesn't work out, they have absolutely nothing to fall back on. Seriously? You're supposed to be these awful villains hell-bent on destroying Easter, but after your buckets of butter don't work out you just give up? Lamest villains EVER. Not to mention that all it takes for the main villain to give up her mean ways is a flower. Seriously, a flower. One minute she's banning people from having children and forcing an entire town to eat nothing but beans, but give her a nice flower and she's suddenly sweet as pie.
The one nice thing I will say about this special, and the only reason I was kind enough to give it three stars, is the fact that all these years later some of the songs are still danged catchy. Also Sunny the Easter Bunny is very cute. So kudos to whoever did the song writing for this Easter special, and whichever character designer came up with Sunny, but shame on everyone else who was involved with it.
Needless to say, I think instead of ever watching this special with my son, we'll just color some eggs instead.
Rankin/Bass have been responsible for some of my favourite childhood
memories and I am very fond of a vast majority of their stuff now. The
Easter Bunny is Coming to Town is not one of their best, but at least
it is not another Cricket on the Hearth. The ending is very rushed and
abrupt, maybe a longer length may have helped. But much more than makes
up for that. The visuals are bright, colourful and highly accomplished,
while the sweet and whimsical score and songs also appeal. The writing
has many funny and heartfelt moments, and I equally loved the cute,
zippily paced and well-meaning story. There are some good values and
even some religious elements that don't feel out of place or
heavy-handed. The characters are highly likable and engaging, and while
I did miss Paul Frees the voice acting especially from Fred Astaire as
the warm and loving narrator is terrific.
In conclusion, well worth the look and charming. 8/10 Bethany Cox
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
some may prefer that other hop bunny, you know, the CGI one, but
seriously, i like to sit down and check out the old time stop motion
stuff. it's cuter, funnier and a lot trippier to try to figure out how
much work went into the process.
stop motion animation is basically a lost art form and very few people these days know how to animate the numerous puppets involved in the technique. with computers used in everything these days, it's become as quaint and archaic as the art of hand carved wood.
Rankin/Bass were the masters of this form and still the best in my opinion. their animated TV specials are still more colorful and elaborate than more recent efforts.
i'm also always impressed at how tuneful and likable the music scores always are too. i wouldn't say they are Sondheim or anything, but they are nicely done and effective.
fun to see old timer Fred Astaire reprise his snow mobile mail carrier from the 'Santa Claus' special, only here he drives a bright yellow choo-choo modeled somewhat after the little engine that could story.
cute as a bunny's fluffy tail and always suitable for kiddies and families. also as fun and festive as a easter egg hunt. great for baby boomers and their grand-tykes. i'd rate this ooky pooky for everyone.
As with Santa Clause is Coming to Town this is a cute follow up on how to tell origins of traditions in connection to a traditional holiday. It touched my heart ever since it came out as The First Easter Rabbit did when it came out one year prior to this one.The kids make a cute rendition in Kidville and Lily Supplies a good Villainess more or less equivalent to The Burger Meister,Meister Burger with her soldiers and all.I agree that this Easter special brings out the kid in all of us as do both "Here comes Peter Cottontail" and "The First Easter Rabbit" do. Sunny Bunny is very cute both as a baby bunny as well as a big bunny.Gad Zooks the bear is equivalent to both The Abominal Snowman in Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer and the winter warlock in Santa Clause is Coming to town of which brings to mind in part how the late Fred Astaire did come back to narrate this special. Truthfully, Stephen "Steve" G. Baer a.k.a."Ste" of Framingham,Ma.USA.
If your kids want to see an Easter special, Here comes Peter Cottontail is better. But this Easter special from the late 1970s isn't too bad. Songs and score are harmless and the villain, an ornery bear, won't scare younger kids. The winter warlock from Santa Claus is coming to Town is very scary in comparison. Having seen this show and Peter Cottontail when they first aired, I saw them both again this past Easter. I didn't remember any details from this one even though it was released six years after Peter C.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Picked Easter Bunny is Coming to Town off the library shelf, hoping to
share some of my childhood memories with my 8- and 10-year old. Didn't
work. Not because any issues with dated dialogue or advances in
animation technology (which my 10 son incessantly pointed out during
the movie), but because Rankin|Bass forgot to tell a good story.
Think about Rudolf. Is it about Christmas? Not really. It's about accepting oneself, overcoming obstacles, friendship, and celebrating differences.
For the EBCT, it's about answering children's questions about Easter traditions. That's it. Why do we color eggs? Why are the eggs hidden? Why are there jellybeans? And so on. There's no reason to spoil you with the answers because zzzzzz .
The backdrop is recycled. A hodgepodge of familiar Rankin|Bass fare. Newsreel. An orphan. Among orphans. In an orphan village. With a nearby town that's oppressed by an austere ruler Are you seeing a pattern here?
That wouldn't be bad except for none of it's explained very well. The characters have no motivations. No true or deep relationships are built. Sure, Sunny the Easter Bunny wants to make people happy something that is stumbled upon (deeeeep breath) by the nature of building an importing/exporting economic model by capitalizing on their world-renowned (how do they know this?) eggs, thus bringing in better goods for the orphan town of Kidsville. But I digress.
(Mind you, if Rankin|Bass really went for it, to make Sunny Bunny some sort of charitable economic genius, instead of a Santa with furry ears, THAT could have been original and interesting.)
I'll also add that the songs were dull and uninspired. Sunny's sidekick, Hallelujah, isn't very charming as they hope him to be. The three chickens were annoying, near southern-belle stereotypes. Their song about "Firsts," a.k.a., "The chicken or the egg" will have Christian enthusiasts, quietly nodding along while science crawls back into the water.
Speaking of water, the environment is also stiff. There is no magic. One doesn't watch Rankin|Bass looking for Pixar-style graphics or animation but there is absolutely no charm here that made Rudolph, Santa, or even the Heatmiser a visual feast. The characters' fur looks worn, shabby. It feels less crafted and something you might buy pre-made off the craft store shelf. Their motion isn't very sharp or considered.
Aha! I just stumbled on a theory on why this movie is so terrible. After such forcibly secular Santa tales, maybe Rankin|Bass felt the need to capture the good graces of Christian audiences? No, not forced. But then again, is there another movie where a character is named, "Hallelujah?"
In the end, this is a vapid, useless tale. It gets two stars because if you want to keep your 6-year old occupied it may kill 50 minutes. Gadzooks, the evil bear growls a lot and turns good pretty quickly. He shouldn't scare your children unless they're offended by bad voice actinga trait shared by most of the actors.
Oh, don't bother with the DVD extras. Did you think they'd show a bit of Rankin|Bass history, an explanation on stop-motion animation technology, or at least trailers of their good specials? Nope. Seems like all they could offer were three stop-motion shorts made by some first-time, community college students.
Though this one was a bust, I'm not giving up on lesser Rankin|Bass features. I'm hoping, "Here Comes Peter Cottontail" with Vincent Price as "Irontail," was the movie I was looking for, because it certainly was not this one.
For the longest, I've been trying to find the Rankin-Bass special that
featured and included a town called Kidville, where all its inhabitants
are children and hadn't been successful. I remember catching those
scenes of this special some years back on cable. It's no wonder I
didn't know that they were part of this special, which I found out
after watching it over a week ago on Youtube. I must've missed the
title when I first saw those scenes evidently and I don't even remember
ever seeing the special in full before then.
My thoughts about this special. I was going to give it the highest rating possible until I read the review by the member who gave it three stars. She made some, I guess, sensible points on why it isn't as great as most reviewers of this, and some others outside of this site, may make it out to be. The amount of stars I give it are between the lowest that have been given (or given so far) by the aforementioned female reviewer (my amount a little higher that hers) and the highest that have been given (my amount a little lower than the others). One reason I chose to give no less stars than six is because I like the Kidville concept. Another is it's great to see the mailman, S.D. Kluger, make a recurring appearance here, but there are several, other similarities that will remind viewers who have already seen the Christmas special, Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town, even right down to the title. There may be even more similarities than differences that would've set it apart more from that X-mas special. I just found out it's supposed to be a semi-sequel. In that case, I could overlook that, but then again, more sequels to originals should have more distinctions and be better. There still may be some flaws in this that I may have missed and probably never would've thought much of had the more negative reviewer not pointed them out, like how the villains attempted to stop the yellow train from reaching town and that another, better way could've been made for the villains to attempt. I presume I just have mixed feelings about it. However, I've now decided that the previous two, Rankin-Bass Easter specials are much better than this one, considering this is a semi-sequel. I don't really, completely dislike it, but simultaneously, I don't like it as much as the other two Easter specials and find them more superior. It's still nice and alright. One other thing I'll say is the religious references were a surprise.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I never got into the world's view of Easter. What I mean by world's
view is, for Christmas we have Santa and the elves and such. For Easter
it's the Easter bunny. Yet I never got involved in that much, that I
can remember, as a kid. I'm a Christian, and of course my focus was on
However, it was interesting to watch this video to not just enjoy classics, but to see what things the world does Today and the creative ways they are explained in movies like this. And one thing that shocked me but shouldn't have was the mention of religion. The chicken or the egg song was awesome when they revealed the Bible story.
I must say that the majority of the movie was great, and I really enjoyed it. The only odd thing was the ending, which seemed badly rushed, for lack of better word. The mean aunt suddenly gave into Easter and next thing you knew, she was happy and then the movie ended there, with the conductor and the train. I was expecting the movie to end with the conductor seeing the Easter bunny all grown up and professional and everyone happy. Because it didn't, that confused me a little, but hey it's a classic anyway.
I rate this 7/10.
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