While older children, teens, and adults who enjoy good Claymation may appreciate the 1992 Will Vinton Studios Easter television special A Claymation Easter, the grotesque character designs, bad behavior of the main character, and scary plot events make it unsuitable for younger viewers.
A Claymation Easter – Plot
The antihero Wilshire Pig from Will Vinton Studios’ earlier Halloween television special Claymation Comedy of Horrors returns, this time with a money-making scheme to kidnap and replace the Easter Bunny. Within the first few minutes of the show, his assistant is eaten by a scary shark in a tank. The assistant later turns up unharmed in the shark’s belly, but younger viewers will have no way of knowing that this will happen and may be frightened.
During the course of his quest to become the new Easter Bunny (or, rather, Easter Pig), Wilshire Pig performs such dastardly acts as trapping the real Easter Bunny in a vacuum cleaner and cheating at a series of contests. Before he can claim the title of Easter Bunny, however, the real Easter Bunny appears at the last minute to thwart his plan.
A Claymation Easter – TV Easter Special Review for Parents
The Claymation, full of uniformly smooth movements and incredible detail, is up to the usual high standards of a Will Vinton production. In fact, this holiday Easter special won two primetime Emmys, one for Outstanding Animated Program (for programming one hour or less). Unfortunately, the details are often gross or scary, and overall the style and content of this Easter television show makes it appropriate only for older viewers.
Although the Easter Bunny is a good role model who refuses to benefit financially from his position (claiming that Easter is not about money but about springtime and picnics and so on), his good influence may be outweighed in young children’s minds by Wilshire Pig’s bad and antisocial behavior. Aside from having his evil plans ruined at the end by the reappearance of the real Easter Bunny, Wilshire Pig never receives any punishment or comeuppance, and he certainly shows no remorse or personal growth as a character.
Throughout, this animated Easter special is full of content that is inappropriate for young children, from aforementioned scary situations like the Easter bunny being attacked and imprisoned by the vacuum cleaner and characters being devoured by the shark, to grotesque scenes like Wilshire Pig being run over and over again (each time with more disgusting results, such as his skeleton being spun out of his body) while trying to learn how to hop across the street like a bunny. There are also print references to lobotomies and shock treatment.
Parents may get a kick out of the fact that the music for this Easter television show is by Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo.
Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Plus Halloween & Easter Celebrations DVD
A Claymation Easter is included on a DVD with two other Will Vinton Claymation holiday specials – Claymation Comedy of Horrors and Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas Celebration. The latter is a beautiful and hilarious Christmas holiday classic and by itself worth the price of the set.
A nice DVD extra is a Production Stills Gallery full of production photographs that illustrate how a Claymation special is made, including shots of filmmakers at work on the sets.
Families looking for Easter specials for teenagers will be pleased by this special. Parents of younger children should rent this DVD or check it out from the library instead of paying to purchase it and should watch it once first to decide for themselves if their children can handle it.