Eunice does The Adventures of the American Rabbit

“That red, white, and blue rabbit is going to wish his Aunt Agnus never let him out of the hutch!”

The Scoop: 1986 G, directed by Nobutaka Nishizawa and Fred Wolf, and voiced by Barry Gordon, Kenneth Mars, and Bob Holt

Tagline: He’s here to save the day!

Summary Capsule: Superhero The American Rabbit must fight a biker gang of jackals, then it turns into a road trip movie.

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Eunice’s Rating: ~Meeeeeeeeemorieeeeeees~

Eunice’s Review: Going back down memory lane and watching something you thought was awesome as a kid is a dicey business. Adventures of the American Rabbit is one of those movies that, because I grew up with it, for a long time I thought that everyone had to have seen it. But alas no. I’m guessing a big reason behind no one ever hearing of this movie is because it’s weird. Like there is very little that makes sense about it.

Anthropomorphic all American rabbit Rob Rabbit grows up in a tooth-achingly sweet small town. But it turns out that the town has a legacy to turn out a protector of the innocent and purveyor of justice known as the American Rabbit. The bit about the legacy is explained by a wizard (just go with it). Immediately, and I do mean immediately, Rob leaves the town, which suddenly disappears (I repeat: go with it).

Rob goes to The Big City, in this case San Francisco, but on his way meets up with a ‘50s type biker gang of jackals (think The Wild Ones) who’ll be trouble later on. Instead of going the way of the traditional ‘geek by day superhero by night’ formula, Rob becomes a pianist in a swinging nightclub called Pandamonium, that is run by a panda. Of course. Unfortunately, the jackals want protection money from the club. When Teddy, the panda, and Bunny, the sexy love interest, refuse the gang comes back and busts the joint up.

Okay, I realize that up to this point it does make sense.

So, Rob doesn’t actually do anything about the gang. Instead Bunny organizes a “march and rally” (a wha?). After some hijinks where a vulture nearly kills everyone by destroying a bridge, Teddy decides he’s going to get the money to reopen the club by going on tour. Bands tour, not nightclubs. But whatever.

Does the gang stay in San Francisco now that the only people brave enough to stand up to them have left? Nay! It’s at this point where it becomes a road trip movie that goes from San Fransisco to The Grand Canyon to New Orleans to New York. In about 80 minutes worth of runtime.

American Rabbit, isn’t good at much and isn’t great at anything, but it is very entertaining. The jokes are cheesy, the voice acting is stiff, the animation is often pretty awkward. Why are the rabbits’ ears in the front and back instead of on the sides? Is it really appropriate that a pig gets harassed, a gorilla gets drugged and water tortured, or that moose are in charge of the world’s chocolate (Me: Eeeew)?

Maybe the weirdness is because (though I didn’t know it before this review) this was an American/Japanese joint project. Based on a poster. In the ‘80s. Actually I think that does answer everything.

The Adventures of the American Rabbit. It’s weird, it’s goofy, it’s upbeat, it was a flop when it was originally released. It’s what cult is made of.

Really. The thing that bothers me most is the ears.

Intermission!

  • If all Rob needs to do is say “Rob” to turn back, why does the old man have to touch his tail? Dirty geezer.
  • Don’t pick up needles by the train tracks kids.
  • The tap dancing bit still makes me laugh.
  • Bunny’s actually pretty selfish.
  • Pigs that fly? Three blind mice? Get it? Get it?
  • That truck’s pretty empty for having “a load of chocolate.”
  • Behold the world controlling power of chocolate!
  • Vultor’s true identity! A twist right out of The Twilight Zone
  • New Yorker’s are tough even in the face of a Doomsday Switch (TM)
  • If the summer of ’77 taught us anything, maybe causing a blackout would not be the best idea?

Groovy Quotes:

Mentor: Even though no one else will ever know it, Rob Rabbit is… The American Rabbit.

Mentor: You need a young fella’. He’s fast and he’s strong. And he’ll be working crazy hours!

Rodney: You got any idea what gets cooked in a kettle like this here?
Rob Rabbit: Soup?
Rodney: Soup?! Why you pathetic little pipsqueak, you make soup in a soup pan. In a kettle like this here, you make rabbit stew.

Vultor: Ohh, it just doesn’t pay! Treat people as you treat your own mother, and still they walk all over you! That red, white, and blue rabbit is going to wish his Aunt Agnus never let him out of the hutch!
Rodney: Just say the word, Vul!
Marvin: Yeah we’ll scare the socks off him!
Vultor: We’re not going to scare him… We’re going to destroy him.

Bunny O’Hare: You must be exhausted. Why don’t you come over here by the fire, and rest yourself. And get warm.
The American Rabbit: Warm, huh? No, I, I’ve gotta’ save The White Brothers, they’re one heck of a band. And, uh, by the way ma’am, there is no fire, but, uh, maybe you could get one going.

Vultor: We’re going to New York!
Rodney: New York!
Dip: New York!
Marvin: A toddling town!
Vultor: That’s Chicago you, you… Num num! New York is our town. I figure, if we can make it there, we can make it anywhere.

Vultor: We’re going to be bad. *laughs* We’re going to make life miserable for anybody we can. We’re going to torment people, and terrorize them. We’re going to lie, and cheat, and steal! And force everyone to live under our control. We’re going to rule New York with an iron will!

Vultor: The whole world craves chocolate. And he who controls chocolate controls everything!

Dip: Hey no offense intended. I mean, what are we animals?

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • Superman
  • The Brave Little Toaster
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Summer Vacation
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7 Comments

    • I loved that Raggedy Ann and Andy movie. Thanks to you, Dblade, I’m watching it now for the first time since I was very young. I’ll be blaming you for any wounds dealt to my psyche.

      Great review, Eunice. You really dredge these suckers up out of nowhere! I’m very interested in your childhood.

      • It would take a while to fully explain the relationship my family has with movies, but let me put it this way Heather. When my when we lived in Italy my parents would internationally rent obscure movies, rent a reel-to-reel machine, and organize showings for friends and anyone else who wanted to show up.

        And when I was seven and it came up in a discussion that Bro2 and I had never seen Airplane! my Mom says, “Get in the car.” And, both of us in jammies, drove over to the rental place and picked it up and let us pick out two movies besides.

        For examples.

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