THE EASTER BUNNY
Full Name: E. Aster Bunnymund
Otherwise Known As: Bunny
Guardian of: Hope
Featured In: Rise of the Guardians (2012)
Voiced By: Hugh Jackman
This was a tough choice to make, I’ll admit. So tough in fact that I had to resort to the age-old method of flipping a coin and letting fate decree the choice. In the end, after many, many coin flips the choice had been made and thus I present to you, my readers, E. Aster Bunnymund more formally recognized as the Guardian of Hope but more commercially known as the Easter Bunny.
Seeing as Bunnymund, or Bunny as he’s more commonly referred as by his fellow Guardians, is based on a character from a book, allow me a brief moment of comparison between the two. Initially, when the film was in its developing stages, there had been little to no plans on changing Bunny’s appearance from his book counterpart who was often seen wearing a green robe and spectacles accompanied by a severe no-nonsense-please attitude and a… slight… obsession with eggs and chocolate.
I say slight but really, that is a severe understatement as he initially came to Earth (and yes that makes him an alien) because of the fact that our world was initially egg shaped. Unfortunately, this distinct ovular shape would have proved our underdoing if not for Bunny, rather reluctantly, using his incredible digging prowess to round out the planet and use the excess dirt to create a few new continents with one in particular being a personal favorite.
If you hadn’t guessed, it’s Australia.
Now, the true difference between Bunny of the film and Bunnymund of the book came to be primarily because while it’s not hard for a child to imagine a robed rabbit kicking some serious butt with incredible speed and karate skills, such cannot be said for adults. Thus, the robe and spectacles were ditched and once Hugh Jackman (yes, freaking Hugh Jackman!) signed on to voice the character, he was altered further into being more of a ranger of the Outback kind of character.
Now, this is just my inner artist speaking here but one particular aspect that I like about Bunny is the fact that he is not in anyway human in the way that he moves and walks. Despite many a good effort when it comes to creating distinctly alien life in film, insomuch that the creature is not human and thus incapable of walking or moving as we do, it is rare to see it achieved to the degree that was done for Bunny. This is especially evident not in how he walks by way of his legs but rather how his arms and shoulders move.
Bunny is a Pooka, a creature that is essentially what a rabbit would be like if it evolved to a more humanoid stance and as such he retains many of the same bodily structures one would expect from such a creature. Basically, though he can walk upright, Bunny runs on all fours and his shoulders and arms need to be in such a place that he can not only do this effectively but in such a way that doesn’t actually harm him.
From there we’ll get into the film proper with the explanation that though he is defined as a Pooka in official media, both for the film and the book, he too has been transformed by the belief of children and is likewise effected by the loss, even worse then North and Tooth. For in their case, both were born as they are (and yes there’s quite a story behind the Tooth Fairy but that’s for another place and another time) but Bunny was not in any way a human creature. So it is with the loss of belief he reverts not to a natural Pooka but a cute little bunny rabbit.
With the power of belief backing him up though, oh boy! Bunny is indeed a warrior to the core and is arguably one of the fastest amongst the Guardians in terms of speed. Arguably because of the methods that the others use for travel such as Tooth’s wings, Jack Frost’s north wind, etc. Then again, Bunny has his own method of “cheating” when it comes to quick travel across the globe by way of his “rabbit tunnels.” By tapping his foot, Bunny can create holes in the ground that exit anywhere that he wishes them to. What’s rather interesting to note though is that when the holes close up, a flower springs up from where the opening once resided, no matter how utterly impossible it is for it to be there.
What I found particularly interesting about Bunny though, and what ultimately put him and Tooth in the final running over the other Guardians, was not only his home, the Warren, but how he manages to create and decorate so many eggs. I could speak of it, try my best to put it to words and paint the picture for you but honestly? The animators and all who were involved in this film did such a fantastic job of it that frankly, you are all better off seeing it for yourselves so take a gander before continuing on.
Like North, Bunny has his own form of “muscle” in the “warrior eggs,” which (in the film) are giant stone eggs with legs and faces that turn from happy to fierce with a slow turn of mossy granite. He can also command the little Easter eggs who, unlike their larger stone cousins, share a limited copy of Bunny’s tunnel creating ability, only able to make tunnels to areas within a limited range though how limited is currently unknown.
Bunny is also a surprisingly good fighter in the group because of his preferred weapons of choice being a pair of boomerangs. Now, I am certainly no expert when it comes to boomerangs, particularly those used as actual weapons than for sport and fun, but even so the fact remains that Bunny is surprisingly versatile with them and is able to utilize them to their full potential. He is also armed with some exploding eggs but from their rather colorful detonation, I assume that they’re more for placing a “tag” on the opponent rather than blowing them up.
Bunny’s character is gruff and serious for most of the time but you can tell that there’s a heart of gold underneath the fur even when he tries his best to hide it. The best example of this was when, despite his clear animosity with Jack Frost at the time, Bunny ran to his defense when Pitch Black started to talk down to him about how he was going to ignore Jack as being a threat but then, the boy was already used to that.
Hands down, E. Aster Bunnymund is my favorite rendition of the Easter Bunny bar none. Not for the fact that he can rough and tumble with the best of them, not because he is voiced by one of my favorite actors, nor even for the fact that he is given one of the most interesting designs for a anthropomorphic rabbit ever. No, it is because he has one of the best reasons to do what he does for Easter.
To inspire Hope, to impress upon the children of the world that Spring is here and that beginnings, no matter how small or fragile they may be, can grow into something great and powerful.