Animated Short Review: ‘Take Rabbit’

Review by David Ferguson

TAKE RABBIT (animated short film)
Greetings again from the darkness. Oscar nominated short film writer/director Peter Peake (HUMDRUM, 1999) beautifully animates the age-old riddle that asks how does a merchant with only a small row boat safely transport a fox, a rabbit and a cabbage safely across a river. You likely heard the riddle when you were young, and depending on your age, were baffled. Obviously the fox would eat the rabbit or the rabbit would eat the cabbage, so until your critical thinking improved, there seemed to be no solution.

What makes this little gem work isn’t that director Peake solves the riddle, but rather the creative way he serves up life lessons on the row boat route. The voice acting is stellar. Matt Berry as the fox, Amelia Bullmore as the rabbit, and Stephen Graham as the philosophizing cabbage each chip away at the stone façade of the rower, voiced by Steve Pemberton.

The dialogue is extremely well written and cuts to the core of the complexity of relationships – doing so with quite witty humor. For example, the line Life can go quickly “from a bowl of cherries to a pile of pellets” takes on a certain poignancy when stated by a rabbit. Having each of the ‘passengers’ note that the rower should get a bigger boat, is spot on at making a point about unsolicited advice. It also goes directly opposite of the man’s approach to mind one’s own business.

Whether to get involved or keep to one’s self goes right to the heart of not only choices in communication, but also choices we make in how to live our life. If you wonder why the rower named his boat Enola, the hint would be in how Oprah named her production company Harpo, or why Danny muttered ‘redrum’ in THE SHINING. Life is full of choices, and this terrific little 14 minute short film reminds us that every approach has consequences.

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