Have you ever wondered where Easter got its start?
No, not the religious start which I think we can all agree has been rather fittingly and exhaustingly documented; rather, how did all the eggs and a particular bunny and all the other colourful parts of the holiday come to be a part of Easter and just how long ago did it all kick off?
The Great Egg-Scapade, which premiered on Fox during the 2016 Easter season, has some answers for us, and true to the deliciously over-the-top hilarity that has marked the Ice Age series from Blue Sly Studios, they are both cleverly inspired, endlessly entertaining and quite heartfelt in their quirky way.
The 20-minute special begins, as does pretty much every story in the series with Scrat (Christ Wedge), the sabre-toothed squirrel on the hunt, as manically as always, for yet more acorns, only find one that, rather humourously, is hellbent on becoming an oak tree sooner rather than later.
Cue some brilliantly inspired visual comedy that makes good use of Scrat’s exasperated approach to his entire life, which never quite pants out the way he longs for.
While Scrat finds himself at odds, once again, with acorns aplenty, including one that isn’t an acorn at all but an egg with a painted identity problem, Sid (John Leguizamo) decides he’s good and ready for a whole new business adventure – managing other animals’ eggs.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, this is Sid the Sloth we’re talking about and while he is sweet and enthusiastic and gorgeously well-intentioned, he is also prone to massively underestimating how something will play out and his new egg-minding business is no different.
The eggs, all of them from doting parents, who expect only the highest standard of care, end up getting stolen by Squint, by an ex-pirate Palaeolagus (ancient rabbit) with a major chip on his shoulder after the events of 2011’s Scrat’s Continental Crack-up: Part 2 left them ship-less and career-less and back home with his sweet but lazy bunny brother Clint (Blake Anderson).
Why, you might ask, are the eggs stolen (an act accompanied by the way, by a ridiculously pleasing number of egg puns)?
As a means, of course of making Manny (Ray Romano), Diego (Dennis Leary) and Sid give him an all-new icy pirate ship so he can return to his Ice Age acts of misadventure; he figures that if he can hold the eggs to ransom, the gang will cave and hey carrot-y presto, he’ll have his old life back.
Quite how it all plays out is best left to the viewing, but it is FUN, it is SILLY and in short order, we end up with some entirely inventive origin stories for Easter eggs, the Easter Bunny and egg hunts such that you will never look at the more secular trappings of the season quite the same again.
One of the best parts of The Great Egg-Scapade is that we get to spend time with Manny (and his independent-minded wife Ellie and daughter Peaches, voiced by Queen Latifah and Keke Palmer respectively), Diego, Sid, Scrat and even Eddie and Crash (Josh Peck and Seann William Scott respectively), twin brother opossums who manage to invent April Fools Day, the first victim of which is someone who thoroughly deserves it and whose fate is a thing of comedy gold.
Granted The Great Egg-Scapade might be a good few tens of millions of years before Easter really came into being but when has that ever stopped Ice Age which delights in throwing all kinds of prehistorical elements into a great big giddy narrative blender and seeing what emerges.
A history lesson it is not, but it is funny, fun, manic and a hoot to watch, whether you’re a kid or an adult, and frankly if this is really how the Easter Bunny and eggs came about, with a lot of timey-wimey sleight-of-hand, then we are totally fine with that, especially if someone hands us one of those great big eggs, preferably one of the new-fangled chocolately ones (which also make their debut) and not one with an angry bird or reptile parent in hot pursuit (we’re happy to leave all the running to Scrat or Squint, thank you very much).
Happy Easter everyone!