The Adventures of Brer Rabbit
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Adventures of Brer Rabbit is a 2006 modern-day retelling of some of the timeless Uncle Remus stories first collected in 1882 from African-American folk tales, oral folk lore, and songs. This is an enjoyable and thoroughly contemporary take on Brer Rabbit, and an entertaining introduction to these stories. There is some cartoonish violence -- animals chasing each other and falling from the sky, a bull kicking a wolf in his rear end, a fox trying to hit a rabbit with a mallet -- but overall, the stories themselves shine through with celebrities voicing the characters, which hopefully will inspire kids to read the original stories.
What's the story?
While playing outside, Janey meets Brer Turtle (voiced by Danny Glover), who tells her about Brer Rabbit, a rabbit who continually outwits his pursuers, and all of the animal kingdom. Brer Turtle first tells Janey of how Brer Rabbit brought down all the animals from the constellations in the sky because his love of vegetables led to miscommunications between Brer, mankind, and the Moon (Wanda Sykes). Brer Turtle goes on to share how Brer Rabbit used cunning and manipulation to avoid capture at the hands of his pursuers. But his pranks get the best of him when Brer Rabbit isn't invited to a big party where all the other animals are dancing and having fun; Brer must learn to be good, kind, and selfless, even as it is his nature to "give the other animals what they think they want."
Is it any good?
This movie does a very good job at modernizing the classic Uncle Remus folktales without sacrificing the original stories that have made them so popular since first being published in 1882. A sense of history comes through in this cartoon feature, and one gets the impression that this was a labor of love for the celebrities who provided the voices of the characters.
There are times when the cartoonish violence veers into classic Warner Brothers-style slapstick, and what's striking is how unnecessary it is. The stories hold up just fine without any of it. Regardless, as an attempt to place these stories in a more modern setting and vernacular, this movie succeeds just fine, and hopefully it will inspire families to seek out the original stories.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about modernizing classic folk tales. What do you see as being the challenge in taking the Uncle Remus stories and placing them in more modern settings?
How do the filmmakers make these stories more modern?
What aspects remained true to the original?