With retailers offering so many choices for family Easter television specials to purchase, parents may find it difficult to know which are worth sharing with children or spending money to buy.
The animated Easter special The Great Easter Egg Hunt is not going to become a new children’s classic. Its plot is a rushed mishmash hybrid of the movie Toy Story and the classic children’s book The Velveteen Rabbit, and the animation and dubbing are substandard at times.
However, this Easter holiday program does ultimately fulfill its goal of providing wholesome, family-friendly entertainment. And it is definitely worth renting or checking out from the library. Since the 2005 DVD version is generally offered for $6 or less (sometimes much less!), some families might even invest in a copy as an inexpensive Easter basket stuffer.
The Great Easter Egg Hunt – Easter Cartoon Special Plot
Produced by Golden Films, a company founded for the purpose of providing children with entertainment products that promote positive messages without containing violent content, this well-meaning Easter holiday special tells the story of Whiskers, a stuffed toy bunny. Over the course of the two days before Easter, Whiskers meets and makes friends with a nursery full of toys, gets dragged into the woods and lost, encounters a group of live bunnies who act superior about being real, is rescued, goes on a quest around the town to find a magical Easter egg, finds the egg, meets the Easter Bunny, makes a wish that saves his owner’s life, and gets tapped to become the new Easter Bunny and live life as a real bunny each year for a week before Easter.
Clearly, many events are crammed into this Easter television special’s 47-minute run time.
The Great Easter Egg Hunt – Characters
The characters populating the bedroom of Peter, the little boy who is the main human character in this holiday program, are an oddly junky mix:
- VCR, a girl space alien/toy figure who might be dismissed by the viewer as a delusional Buzz Lightyear clone except that she does have real alien powers.
- Angel, a girl angel Christmas ornament “from the mall.”
- Sabre, a sabertooth tiger figure from the Natural History Museum who speaks in cultured tones and prides himself on his “superior education” and several degrees.
- Pee Wee, a goofy and somewhat slow gorilla figure from the Zoo.
- Trog, a Cro-Magnon figure that calls to mind a Troll doll.
- Officer Harley, a motorcycle cop figure on a bike who is forever threatening to write the other toys up for rule violations and who brings a dash of real humor to the movie with his deadpan obsession with rules and rule-breakers. (He assures Whiskers that the neighbors at whose yard sale he was bought had a permit for the sale.)
Rounding out the cast is Carmen, a Latina parrot who begins this holiday special believing she is better than the others because she is real, but who changes her mind by the conclusion, naturally, and comes to recognize the value of all of the toys.
The Great Easter Hunt – TV Easter Cartoon Special Review for Parents
Despite priding itself on not containing any violence, this animated special does contain a few moments that can scare younger viewers. The school bullies who wrestle Whiskers away from Peter are mean, and the dog that drags Whiskers into the woods and later returns to menace him some more is drawn in a very frightening way with slavering jaws and lots of teeth.
There’s an odd undercurrent of sexuality as well. When Whiskers first meets Angel and mistakes her for a real angel, she tells him not to let the halo fool him and winks at Officer Harley (with whom she more innocently flirts at later moments in the film, also). In addition, the lady bunny who sings the opening and closing song is weirdly modeled, with a bunny body that is strangely curvaceous and a head that has very human-like features and a completely human hairdo.
That said, this Easter special has many positive aspects to recommend it:
- It shows children the importance of banding together to solve problems and the value of being loyal to one’s friends.
- It teaches kids to be tolerant of other people’s differences (like being “only” a toy).
- The tour the toys take around town while searching for the magic Easter egg leads them through the Natural History Museum, the Zoo, and a pet store, and at each place they see a different kind of egg, the last of which hatches into a baby bird. Parents can use this part of the plot as a starting point for a discussion about different kinds of eggs and how new life comes in spring time. As Angel notes when the bird hatches, new life is the “biggest miracle there is.”
- The jazzy main song “Jump In” (which will stick in parents’ heads for weeks after watching this movie) promotes an exceptionally positive message about being thankful for the life you’ve got and being motived to wake up and jump into life and do things.
At heart this is a sweet (if cheesy) Easter special that teaches good lessons about friendship and how to live one’s life. Parents of young children will find it worth seeking out to watch, if not necessarily to buy.
Families looking for other wholesome animated Easter television specials about the Easter Bunny may also like a review of Here Comes Peter Cottontail.