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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin Jr.
Cast:
Fred Astaire, Skip Hinnant, Bob McFadden, Allen Swift, Ron Marshall, Jill Choder, Meg Sargent, James Spies
Writing Credits:
Romeo Muller

Synopsis:
In Kidsville, youngsters make their own laws, run their own shops and maybe even stay up as late as they want. Each Spring, everyone - including Sunny the Bunny - pitches in to make Easter holiday goodies. Then it's the Bunny's job to take the painted eggs and yummy jellybeans to a nearby town called Town. But he better watch out. Because grouchy old Town doesn't allow kids or a hippity-hoppity Easter bunny! With a childlike sense of wonder, this perennial favorite shows how Sunny and his pals win over the meanies of Town by inventing many of our happiest, hoppiest Easter traditions!

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Fullscreen 1.33:1
Audio:
English Monaural
Spanish Monaural
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 50 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 3/7/2006

Bonus:
• Trailers


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


The Easter Bunny Is Comin' To Town (1977)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 10, 2006)

Though the Rankin-Bass holiday specials concentrated on Christmas, they occasionally made forays into other holidays. Their first Easter program came out in 1971 with Here Comes Peter Cottontail, a forgettable look at the holiday. Rankin-Bass tried again six years later with 1977’s The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town.

Bunny acts as something of a sequel to 1970’s enjoyable Santa Claus Is Coming to Town. Both trace the origins of the respective holidays’ icons and both also feature Fred Astaire as the voice of postman turned narrator SD Kluger. He introduces us to a place called Kidville, a town occupied only by children. Though occasionally threatened by a giant bear named Gadzooks (Allen Swift), they lead decent lives.

One day the children find a baby rabbit they name Sunny (Skip Hinnant). When he mature, Sunny becomes a community leader and he espouses the financial growth of Kidville. He plans to sell their special eggs across Big Rock Mountain. Along the way, he meets a hobo named Hallelujah Jones (Ron Marshall) and they head toward a dull burg called Town.

Unfortunately, Sunny loses his eggs to Gadzooks before he gets to Town. There he finds that dour Dowager Duchess Lilly Longtooth (Meg Sargent) won’t allow kids in the city even though her nephew young King Bruce the Frail (James Spies) is the proper ruler.

The rest of Bunny follows related threads. We see how Sunny foils Gadzooks and also learn how all of this affects Town and Kidville. Along the way we check out how various Easter traditions developed.

At no point does Bunny ever turn into anything more than mediocre holiday entertainment. The main flaws come from its lack of originality. Virtually every aspect of the show feels borrowed from other Rankin-Bass specials.

Obviously, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town displays the most prominent similarities since Bunny borrows its structure. This show’s Town also echoes Santa’s Sombertown, and Lilly is little more than a rehash of Burgermeister Meisterburger. Gadzooks feels like a mix of Santa’s Winter Warlock and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s Abominable Snowman.

Don’t expect a memorable cast to enliven Bunny either. Once we get past Astaire, Bunny suffers from virtually no star power. Santa boasted Mickey Rooney, Keenan Wynn and legendary voiceover actor Paul Frees. Other than Astaire, no recognizable names pop up in Bunny. That doesn’t automatically mean they’ll not provide good work, but the performances do seem relentlessly ordinary.

Add to that some bland songs, lame characters and a forgettable story and you find a mediocre holiday show. Perhaps Easter just doesn’t serve as a good launching ground for memorable specials. This one sure doesn’t make me look forward to the holiday.


The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C+/ Bonus D-

The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The transfer offered decent visuals but rarely stood out as particularly strong.

Sharpness was acceptable. The show never came across as especially concise, but it never looked soft or blurry either. Bunny was reasonably well-defined. Moiré effects and jagged edges caused no problems, but print flaws were a distraction. Light grain appeared much of the time, and I also detected examples of grit, speckles, nicks, and blotches. These weren’t overwhelming but they made the image a bit messy.

Bunny boasted a broad and vivid palette that succeeded to a moderate degree. While I always felt the colors should have been more dynamic than they were, the tones still appeared fairly good. They could be a bit restrained but they usually were fine. Blacks seemed reasonably deep and dense, and low-light shots showed decent definition. This was a perfectly acceptable transfer.

Similar thoughts occurred when I considered the monaural soundtrack of The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town. The mix offered no particular strengths or flaws. Speech was good. The lines consistently sounded natural and lacked edginess. Music didn’t show much range, but the score and songs appeared clean and never became shrill or rough. The effects were also clear and demonstrated no problems. Like the rest of the track, they simply failed to stand out as anything special.

Although Here Comes Peter Cottontail included some decent extras, almost nothing appears on the DVD for Bunny. We get trailers for Kid Easter and Baby Looney Tunes. Nothing else pops up here.

A perfectly forgettable holiday special, The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town does little to entertain. It recycles characters and themes from other shows and never manages to form its own identity. The DVD presents average picture and sound but lacks extras. This is a mediocre show and DVD.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.375 Stars Number of Votes: 8
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