The Bellflower Bunnies... Boy it's been a while since I said I'd review this.
For those who don't know, MasonMouse sent me a DVD copy of the first two episodes, with the idea I'd review them ...three or four years ago. :P Providing further motivation is Bellflower fan JP-Daoust ...who has reminded me of my word a few times ...and who also chose the subject of the art for this review: Periwinkle. :3
Last, I should mention I'm retiring from reviews. Oh, I still have some coming up, but they're already written (I'm just waiting for when I feel like making the art for them--a few are also seasonal as they're holiday related). So while this is the *last review I'll ever write, it's not the last I'll be uploading. This one's simply taking precedence because it's long overdue. ^^
*presuming there isn't another 'Vacak' movie I'm unaware of, and/or whether the lost episode of Lenny and Sid remains undrecovered. :3
What are The Bellflower Bunnies (TBB)? TBB is a French animated program based on Genevieve Huriet's Beechwood Bunny Tales book series. The show is... similar to many growing-up/slice-of-life cartoons for young children. It's fairly unremarkable save for some slightly above-average animation ...the production of which is certainly facilitated by the fact of the main characters looking strongly alike. :P
Today we're looking at the second episode of The Bellflower Bunnies: 'Carnival'.
TBB sometimes begins with the Bellflower family going through their scrapbook, 'recalling' the events of whatever episode we're about to see. 'Carnival' is no exception, albeit the transition here left me scratching my head a little (not not because the bunnies gave me fleas ...though that didn't help *scritch-scratch*)
*VIOLETTE (pointing at a photo in the scrap album): "Hey, look! That's the race car that Poppy and Mistletoe built!"
PAPA BRAMBLE: "Yes, that was your float for the big carnival last year"
...So the story we're about to get happened last year? Fair enough, save for one small thing I'll expound upon later ...Well, it's not a 'small' thing, but that's the problem (trust me, it'll make sense later---just keep this in mind).
*It's worth mentioning Violette has two names (actually, all the bunnies do, but Violette is a special case). For those watching this episode, you'll note the characters refer to Violette as 'Pirouette'. Pirouette is her French name, used in the books. It wasn't until the 'Born to be Bunnies' episode that the name 'Pirouette' was replaced with 'Violette' (the other bunnies used their English names from the start). I'll be referring to the character as 'Violette', since I'm reviewing this retrospectively.
DANDELION (pointing at another picture): "Oh! I don't ever want to see those two again!"
The picture is of the villains ...a picture nobody took nor could have taken.
And, no, I'm not getting ahead of the story---it's the episode that's ahead of itself. :P
Anyway, the story properly begins last year in the Bellflower attic, whereat Violette, Periwinkle, Dandelion and Aunt Zinnia are searching for costumes to wear to the forthcoming carnival.
Nothing of consequence happens here, though it is interesting to note that Dandelion (the youngest bun) appears to be the same age as we saw him at the beginning of this episode (you know, one year in the future).
According to TBBFB, Dandelion is five years old. He is shown to be more toddler-like in other episodes (he uses a highchair, etc).
Meanwhile, Poppy, Mistletoe and Papa Bramble are in the woodshop, cutting out parts for their float.
POPPY: "I'm sure that our car is gonna be a big hit at tomorrow's parade"
MISTLETOE: "Hey, you know what we should call it: The Super Carrotmobile!"
Carrots. Right. Digressing, but carrots aren't good for rabbits (too much sugar). :3
They're interrupted when the others walk in, donned in their costumes. Violette is a fairy, and both Periwinkle and Dandelion are dressed as gardeners ...which is silly considering gardening is what this family does for its living. :P
Anyway, here comes our plot point (as well my gripe from earlier)...
MISTLETOE: "Tomorrow, all five of us are going to be a walloping success!"
PAPA BRAMBLE: "You know, tomorrow I'd prefer it if Dandelion stayed with us; he's too little to go with you"
...Dandelion is (maybe) two inches shorter than the other kits... moreover, Dandelion communicates as articulately as they. The only characteristic that gives Dandelion the appearance of being 'too young' is the little floppy plush he carries around. That's truly it---he isn't a babyfur.
Not that this is much of an issue: Dandelion will be going to the carnival, he just won't be going ahead with his siblings. Even so, we can expect the kits to overreact.
Last, Mistletoe cannot count: there's seven in his family. :3
We cut to somewhere in the forest, where we meet our villains: two stupid foxes named Roderick and Marmaduke. This scene shows the two unsuccessfully hunting for mice. Having failed, the two notice a poster nailed to a tree,
RODERICK: "'The Venicette Annual Carnival' ...It's tomorrow, and it's even got the address on it!"
...You're impressed the ad for the carnival gives the event's time and place?
RODERICK (continuing): "There's gonna be more meals to catch per square yard than in a chicken coop!"
MARMADUKE: "Nice fat little bunny for dinner! That'll get us in shape, Roderick *chuckles*"
Yeah, if the shape you're going for is round. :P
Anyway, the 'carnivore confusion' trope is present here. For those who don't know, the trope (usually) describes cases in which 'civilized' animals eat each other. I've never seen this done well, esp. with clothes-wearing animals who drive cars and work for money ...it's disconcerting all the way 'round.
Returning to the Bellflower home, the kits are discussing the Dandelion situation.
MISTLETOE: "We said all five of us were going to go, and all five of us will go!"
Correct, just not all at the same time. I could understand if, somewhy, Dandelion couldn't go at all, but that's not the scenario.
POPPY: "Listen to me: if we take Dandelion with us, that means we'll have to keep a super close eye on him at all times. Do you all feel up to it?"
The Bellflower kits believe so ...they only have to convince Papa Bramble (Aunt Zinnia, seemingly, doesn't get a vote).
The next day, we see the Bellflowers have finished their float (which is, indeed, a carrotmobile). The kits (along with Dandelion) depart in their car (Zinnia and Bramble remain at home, sowing seeds---they'll show up at the carnival later).
Inconsequential, but Violette is the only Bellflower wearing what could be considered a costume (despite the fuss made earlier). My guess as to why would be so Mistletoe and Periwinkle could be distinguishable (Poppy, at least, wears glasses)---again, the bunnies are mostly identical save for their clothes.
A musical number about carnival fun proceeds (it's fine).
Some effort is made to show off the carnival. The milieu is nice, albeit I've noticed the carnival seems to be exclusively for rabbits---there are other (prey) species in this world, but it seems none were invited here. Hm..
Anyway, as the kits enjoy the carnival, we see the foxes have disguised themselves in clown costumes ...and are prowling around for bunnies!
The foxes have their eyes on the Bellflower kits. Roderick entices the kits with his juggling act, performed on a unicycle. The kits chase after Roderick as he rolls away, neglecting to bring Dandelion along with them. Dandelion couldn't be more unimpressed with Roderick's act, preferring instead to occupy himself with his bag of radishes. The radishes, somehow, make Dandelion drowsy, making him an easy capture for Marmaduke, who stuffs Dandelion into a bag.
Roderick has the older Bellflower kits where he wants them, but where is Marmaduke? Unable to keep the kits distracted any longer, Roderick wheels away frustrated. The kits are confused---so much so they don't seem to notice Dandelion isn't among them.
Meanwhile, Roderick meets up with Marmaduke. Marmaduke reveals his catch of Dandelion (sleeping in the bag),
RODERICK (to Marmaduke): "You really are the silliest clown I've ever met! ...We had the whole family right in the palm of our hands, and you pick the smallest one!?"
By this time, the other Bellflower kits discover Dandelion's absence. They wander about calling his name ...before arguing over who should be blamed for Dandelion's disappearance. Periwinkle squelches the argument---Dandelion must be found! United once again, the kits continue their search.
PERIWINKLE: "But, he looked so friendly"
POPPY: "Yeah, right; (but) he was a fox in disguise. And when he saw that Dandelion was all alone, he ran off and captured him!"
...Uh, no, not quite. Intentions notwithstanding, Roderick didn't capture Dandelion---Marmaduke did, and none of the bunnies saw Marmaduke. ...Moreover, we seem to be missing a scene here---how did the kits arrive at this conclusion?
VIOLETTE: "I saw (Roderick's) tail, but because of tye carnival and all, I didn't make the connection"
MISTLETOE: "I didn't either"
...In a carnival that's (so far as I can tell) for rabbits only, you didn't think a fox tail was suspicious? Moreover, Roderick was barefoot---you could see his claws, so the tail wouldn't have been part of his costume. And, again, the kits didn't see Roderick do anything, so this profiling, plain and simple. :3
Anyhow, the kits are at least on the right track. They run off to (I guess) find an adult to tell, but discover a telling trail of radishes on the ground. Could these be a clue left by Dandelion?
MISTLETOE: "(Dandelion) did just like Tom Thumb---he left us a trail!"
POPPY: "He's clever; all we have to do is follow the radishes!"
Of course the trail is being left by Roderick and Marmaduke. The radishes lead somewhere deep in the woods, whereat the foxes intend to enjoy their bunny feast.
After following the trail a way,
VIOLETTE: "What are we going to do when we find the fox; we certainly can't overpower him?"
MISTLETOE: "Why not? There are four of us and only one of him!"
As the kits continue following the trail, they notice an additional set of fox prints alongside the radishes. Periwinkle is dubious about the prospect of tackling two foxes, but his cowardice isn't shared by his siblings. The pursuit resumes forth!
At last, Dandelion is found, asleep on a tree stump (are we sure this kid isn't drugged?). The kits realize an obvious trap when they see one. Taking another look, they see the ears of the two foxes peaking above the bushes they're hiding behind.
Violette forms a plan, which could be described as surrounding the foxes and tripping them up as they give chase. It works! The foxes have been defeated (for now) and Dandelion (after a moment of uncertainty) is recovered, alive and well. :3
Returning to their senses, the foxes chase after the Bellflower kits, but are halted by the appearance of Aunt Zinnia and Papa Bramble, donned in some intimidating costumes. The foxes escape into the river, hopefully never to be seen again.
PAPA BRAMBLE (to the kits): "Well, well---I can see it was a good idea to secretly follow you!"
AUNT ZINNIA: "I have a feeling you have a lot of things to tell us!"
Yeah, something I didn't allude to is from the beginning Papa Bramble and Aunt Zinnia had been following the kits from the beginning, likely watching to see how well they'd take care of Dandelion.
This is a bit irritating when one recalls the adults had to remain home to attend to some all-important work (but would join the kits just before the parade). ...and since this obviously didn't happen, one has to wonder why everyone didn't leave together to start with (since it seems the work could wait).
...It also riles me to think Papa Bramble and Aunt Zinnia didn't intervene once Dandelion was captured ...but at least they got a nice photo of the foxes (somehow/-when)! :P
Dandelion can hardly remark on the adventure since he slept through it ...not that he had any lessons to learn anyway, but I find this fact disappointing.
What proceeds are the bunnies taking some time time to flatter one another for a job well done, recapping every one of the story's highlights as they do so.
The bunnies are interrupted by the sound of parade music! Luckily the bunnies have their float near by.
Oh, thank God that's over! XD
My final thoughts... I've been sitting here for the last twenty minutes thinking of what else to say that I've not said already. Concisely, this episode is imperfect (by a long stretch), but harmless. The issues I have with this episode would likely be overlooked (if not entirely missed) by the casual viewer; it's fine. :3