Posted by: Mad Ness Monster | 06/30/2009

“The Adventures of the American Rabbit” review

(8/13/08)

So here I am trying to think of how to explain “The Adventures of the American Rabbit.” And I am pretty darn well stumped. I saw this weird little barely-movie-length movie on the Disney Channel (man, who knew I’d ever be nostalgic for the days when the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon would basically air anything they could get their paws on) when I must have been very young. Young enough to be attracted to the pretty colors and cute characters without being bothered by the fact that THERE IS NO FREAKING PLOT!

Let me try to sum up what happens in this movie. My thoughts, mostly things that I didn’t think about as a kid but which bothered me as an adult, will be in {these cool curly math class brackets}.
Okay so there’s this little village of rabbits. Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit are very happy today. {They are the Rabbit family in a town where everyone is a rabbit? Wouldn’t that get confusing?} They have just had a son named Rob. {One baby. Somebody doesn’t know much about rabbits.} Rob grows up and learns he is actually a legendary superhero called The American Rabbit. The legend says that he must now walk the Earth, getting into adventures and helping everyone while keeping his identity a secret from everyone. {Wouldn’t it be nice if all the little rabbits of the village learned about this legend a lot earlier, just to be prepared in case they turn out to be the One? Especially since, once Rob learns he is the One, it means he has to abandon his family and friends and everything he knows and loves?}
Rob walks to San Francisco {???} and has a run-in with a jackal biker gang. {He’s too much of a dweeb to defend himself at all.} He also meets and befriends the crew of the Panda-monium club, Teddy Panda and the White Brothers Band. {Are they actually brothers named White or are they an all-albino rabbit band?} There are also two dog characters who vanish by the second scene and Bunny O’Hare. {Laziest Meet Cute setup ever.} The Jackal gang returns to threaten Teddy and his friends. Later, on the orders of their Big Bad boss, they completely trash the club. After a very convoluted sequence of events, the Panda-monium gang decides to tour the country. {Really, any attempt to describe all of the events leading to this decision could fill several paragraphs.} After several more confusing events {seriously, don’t ask}, they eventually end up in New York City.
Here, the movie descends into complete and utter chaos.
During the tour, we learned that the Big Bad must have a truly epic grudge against Teddy Panda, as evidenced by his elaborate attempts to kill him and his friends at every city. {Is it me or is that kind of a big jump from just threatening the manager of the local hangout?} In New York, the Big Bad kidnaps the renowned candy maker the Chocolate Moose and rents out the Statue of Liberty for an entire day. {The Statue is still a human in this world of cute little Furries. “Planet of the Apes”-ish unsettling implications ahoy!} He then invites everyone in New York to come and eat free chocolate at the Statue. {Seriously.} And then he was going to blow everyone and everything on the island up, but Rob, as the American Rabbit, thwarted him. And all of this leads to a plot twist that is so completely insane, M. Night Shyamalan wishes he could have thought of it first. {And it involves an even bigger leap in villainy from just threatening Teddy and messing up his club. Heck, if you can figure out the Big Bad’s line of thinking here or his master plan –if he even has one- you get a cookie miniature American flag.}
Fortunately, as American Rabbit, Rob is able to save everyone again and defeat the Big Bad once and for all. And it is easy to see why he is the hero of this world. Over the course of the movie, particularly during the trip to New York, it becomes more and more obvious that Rob is the only character other than the Big Bad who has more than ten brain cells to rub together. Honestly, his friends never ever figure out that
(a) Rob is the American Rabbit,
(b) That the Big Bad and his Jackal gang is following them around the country,
(c) That every gig along the way is a thinly disguised plot to kill them all,
(d) That it can’t be just a coincidence that American Rabbit just happens to show up wherever they are just in time to save their pathetic asses, and so on. After a while, I started to suspect that Rob stopped warning his friends about the obvious traps on purpose, just so he could swoop in as American Rabbit and be a big damn hero.
By the way, a lot of online critics have accused this movie of being all like, “America F*** Yeah!!!”  It’s… not.

The Best Parts:
1 second in – OMG start “Dark Side of the Moon” quick!!!
1 minute in – Way to jump right into the action without setting up a damn thing. Also, this theme music does not sound anything at all like any other Superhero themes I have ever heard ever.
3 minutes in – Obviously, he was a Foreshadowing Fairy. They sometimes appear in the form of really old rabbits.
5 minutes in – “Yes, let me go on for hours and hours about how gosh darned wonderful my own child is! Everyone loves it when parents do this!”
9 minutes in – “Super-Special Awesome Transformation Sequence GO!!!”
11 minutes in – Cool! He’s like Buffy!
13 minutes in – And that was the last time Rob had any fun at all with his newly discovered powers.
24 minutes in – Or you could fight back, but I guess that’d just be silly.
30 minutes in – I must be really jaded at this point. So far, the strangest thing here is Teddy Panda’s massive forehead.
35 minutes in – Man, that’s kinda dark.
42 minutes in – What is the deal with Bunny O’Hare?
44 minutes in – Funny Aneurysm Moments ahoy. 😦
50 minutes in – Yeah, what’s with all the jackal hate? And is Rob’s insistence that not all jackals are mean supposed to be some kind of comment on racism? And if so, couldn’t we meet a nice jackal character so that said Aesop isn’t Broken?
53 minutes in – Great cover story there, Rob.
Also, the way American Rabbit turns back into Rob is by saying his name, “Rob”. So wouldn’t he transform back in front of everyone during this story of his?
56 minutes in – You really need to find some friends who aren’t complete idiots, Rob. Come to mention it, I doubt they’d even realize what’s up if you did change back and forth right in front of them.
58 minutes in – I sense further Funny Aneurysm Moments approaching, Captain.
59 minutes in – Squee penguins!!!
1 hour, 1 minute in – I like how the only justification the Big Bad can come up with at this point is “I’m a villain, therefore I have to be aimlessly evil in every direction!”
This is a perfect and totally understandable explanation for how he has gone from holding some kind of unspecified grudge against a local club to plotting to destroy the Statue of Liberty and everyone who is visiting her after they have been promised free chocolate. Yeah.
1 hour, 06 minutes in – Like I said, M. Night Shyamalan WISHES he could come up with a plot twist this insane.
Stop and consider that for a second. I am saying that this twist is more crazy than the following:
That the invading aliens are hurt by water;
That the Water Fairy needs the help of an obvious Mary Sue character to save the world with his wonderful stories;
That all the trees are pissed and are using their pheromones to kill all of us animals who lack enough of the Power of Love;
That Rosie O’Donnell would make a good Nun…
1 hour, 11 minutes in – Wait, is the Chocolate Moose actually made of chocolate? Psy-yi-yi... duck?
1 hour, 12 minutes in – “WHERE IS YOUR AMERICAN RABBIT NOW???” 😦
1 hour, 15 minutes in – It’s actually pretty scary that I never questioned the convolutions of this plot as a kid.
1 hour, 20 minutes in – And then Rob, with his superior IQ of 65, took over the world himself.

Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“You and everyone else – the whole world – CRAVES chocolate! He who controls the chocolate controls the world! The road to success is PAVED in chocolate!” – Big Bad explaining his evil plan (I guess)

Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – Rabbits can have mustaches.
* – Jackals are dicks.
* – Condors are incredibly noisy and can bite through steel cables.
* – It’s okay to pick up hypodermic needles you find abandoned in the train yard.
* – Penguins can even make yuppies cute.
* – Take taxi rides from mysterious strangers. It might snap you out of depression.

Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures?
The characters actually are very cute.
Good Soundtrack? Funny thing about this; Rob gets a job in a band but there are no songs at all in the movie.
Hot Guys? No.
Pretty Scenery? No.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? Meh.

Drinking Game Potential? Drink when they say the name “Rob”. Be very careful here.

Head Movie Potential? I can’t help but wonder if it actually makes more sense on drugs…

Rating: Danny rating (2)
Danny wearing America Pants.
Credits
An Orion Pictures film released in 1986. Based upon characters created by Stewart Moskowitz, written by Norm Lenzer and directed by Fred Wolf.
Related Links
IMDB entry
Film Freak Central review
TV Tropes Page
Total Media Bridge “Childhood Revisited” review

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