Most of you have heard of the Aesop's fable about the tortoise and the hare that dates back to ancient Greece, but do you know what happened after the infamous race?
After years of defeat, Murray Hare is determined to set things straight with his arch-nemesis Walter Tortoise by having a father/child race to the finish. Hare's thoughts are that winning the race requires speed and agility, whereas Tortoise believes that slow and steady wins the race. Sound familiar? Well, as I mentioned before, the story dates back to ancient Greece and has been told for many centuries, so it should. However, this time it's set years after the Tortoise beat the Hare.
Jay Leno lends his high-strung voice to the role of Murray, a jittery and over-eccentric hare obsessed with speed who believes that the most important rule to winning a race is no naps. His arch-nemesis is a calm and collected tortoise by the name of Walter, leisurely voiced by Danny Glover. Stuck in the middle of their two competitive fathers are Butch Hare, voiced by a geeky Drake Bell, and Crystal Tortoise, voiced by an upbeat Keke Palmer.
The voice cast fits well, but the moral of the story becomes muddled in the 79 minute running time thanks to the number of unnecessary characters and some overly dramatized moments of peril. Sure, these moments fill in much-needed running time and add suspense to the tale, but more importantly it takes the big heart out of a simple story and makes it smaller.
With detailed animation and a fair amount of entertainment value at hand, Tortoise vs. Hare doesn't take the fun out of the classic story as much as it swamps its important point. On the plus side, it does have its amusing moments and it's never really a strain to enjoy hearing these talented voices. Also, the animation is done surprisingly well given the fact that it was intended to go direct to video without a theatrical release. So while the film is by no means a bad one, it took what was once a 10-minute short and made it into a frantic and over-extended 79 minute story that's complex and ironically unstable (as described in the title).