Animated Bunnicula Strays from Source Material in a Wonderful Way

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Bunnicula Season 1, Part 1

If you've ever read Deborah and James Howe's children's classic series of books featuring BUNNICULA, then you'll almost instantly notice that this cartoon series is several steps away from the story you know. The characters -- the animal characters -- are the same: Chester (SEAN ASTIN) the cat, Harold (BRIAN KIMMET) the dog, and of course Bunnicula the vampire rabbit (CHRIS KATTAN) are here. Their young master, Toby has been replaced with a manic young girl, Mina (KARI WAHLGREN) -- no doubt as an homage to Mina Harker from Bram Stoker's DRACULA. But even the familiar characters are a little different. Chester is excessively paranoid rather than curious and leaping to conclusions, while Harold has gone from easy-going and sensible to an ADHD afflicted canine like UP's Doug. Oh, and there's no doubt at all that Bunnicula is indeed a vampire bunny who sucks the juice out of vegetables.

But if you want the original -- well, the original still exists to go to. This is something like it, but weirdly -- and wonderfully  -- not.

The first thing I want to draw your attention to is the animation. This Warner Bros. project is an anomaly in today's market of episodic animated shows. First of all, you can look at the screen and instantly identify who and what each character is supposed to be. They are proportioned correctly. They are detailed. They aren't squiggly lines that shake as motion is attempted to be conveyed. It's also not the hyper-realistic, 3D CGI that tries to look like it's almost real and as such always misses the mark by delivering what looks to be, at best, animatronics acting out a play.

This is animation in the classic style. Think Walter Lantz. Think Tex Avery and Bob Clampett. This is what animation used to be at its best.

The stories are short, but not too short -- about 20 minutes each -- but paced so that they move quickly while telling a complete story. The characters have their own complex motivations and relationships with each other. Harold thinks Chester worries too much, while Chester just wants Bunnicula to go away so that other monsters quit coming around the house. And Mina is ever oblivious to the fact that the little bunny she rescued from a locked room with a special key is actually a vampire who confronts other evils in the world -- like a Frankenstein monster made entirely of vegetables, or a mummy monkey who sets his sights on Chester when he takes Mina's key to lock Bunnicula back in his lair.

In short, the animated BUNNICULA series is just a lot of fun -- a show you can watch with your kids and laugh at, rather than watch and wonder what happened to real animation.

Bunnicula Season 1 Part 1 Contents
Disc One Disc Two
Mumkey Business
Walking Fish
Alligator Tears
Muddy Harry
Whooo is...The Knight Owl
Squeaky Doom
Son of Bunnicula
Evil Cat Videos
Chester's Shop of Horrors
Curse of the Weredude
Bride of Bunnicula
Vampire Rabbit Season
Hole of the Unworthy
Adopt a Vampire
Haunted Dog House
Lucky Vampire's Foot
Ghost Chef



4.5 / 5.0