It’s Easter, and a time for bunnies; I see swarms of them every day, and regularly scrape their eyeless corpses off the road with my shovel. Given their numbers, it’s only fair that rabbits should have some movies of their own. German production Rabbit Academy is a new animation in 400+ UK cinemas this Easter, and if you’re kids are just a little on the tiny side to ingest three hours of brutalism via The Batman, Rabbit Academy should do the job for nippers with a taste for a bright, fun cartoon entertainment.
A bit of research reveals that Rabbit Academy is a stealth sequel; the original film, Rabbit School: Guardians of the Golden Egg came out back in 2017, and did well enough to merit a follow-up, one that works as a stand-alone and doesn’t require knowledge of the first film, or the original source material, 1924 children’s book A Day At Bunny School. Things have clearly been amped up a bit in Ute Von Münchow-Pohl’s film as we follow Max, a rabbit city-slicker who is chosen to develop his super-powers as a master rabbit at, you guessed it, the Rabbit Academy. They have to protect the magic process by which eggs are collected and bring joy to children, and a threat arrives in the form of some nefarious foxes. Will Max discover his powers and outsmart his foxy foes?
The world of Rabbit Academy is quite tricky to grasp; while the bunnies live in a very different world from us, it’s rather jarring that they have access to drones, smart-phones and social media, all of which look just like ours. As with a number of recent family films, the punch-lines are generally warm and fuzzy, involving foxes learning to go vegan, and some kind of required rapprochement between species. And yes, somehow that’s 60’s and 70’s star Senta Berger (The Quiller Memorandum, Cross of Iron) providing the voice of the stern Madame Hermine.
Subtitled Mission Eggpossible, Rabbit Academy isn’t aiming for the wide reach or knowing self-referential humour of a Pixar film, but is content to tell a busy, cheerful story without too many nods to adult expectations. With a commendably brief span of 70 minutes, it’s a kids film that skews specifically towards their needs, and that’s probably good enough to provide a viable alternative to some of the more demanding fare on offer this Easter.
Signature Entertainment presents Rabbit Academy in UK Cinemas Nationwide 1st April 2022.