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Western Animation / The Magic Pudding

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The Magic Pudding is a 2000 animated film produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and directed by Karl Zwicky. It is based on the children's story of the same name written by Norman Lindsay. The movie tells of the journey taken by a young koala, Bunyip Bluegum, to find his missing parents and how along the way he is joined by three interesting individuals: Bill Barnacle, a wise but rough and hot-tempered seaman; Sam Sawnoff, a calm, compassionate talking penguin; and of course the titular character himself, Albert the Magic Pudding.

Tropes seen in The Magic Pudding include:

  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • In the book, Albert is a straight-up Jerkass. Here, he's more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. He does some really nasty things, including taunting Bunyip over his failure to find his parents at one point, but also showcases a genuine heroic side and a concern for his adoptive family — though buried under his gruffness.
    • The Pudding Thieves, in this movie, are Forced into Evil under Buncle.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Bunyip Bluegum's quest to find his parents was invented for the movie to provide the story with some structure; in the book he just sets out to see the world with no particular aim in mind.
  • Adapted Out: Curry-and-Rice does not appear in the movie, having been replaced by Buncle.
  • Alliterative Name: Bunyip Bluegum, Bill Barnacle and Sam Sawnoff.
  • Ascended to Carnivorism: Invoked and played for horror when Buncle decides that, as he's eaten all the other food and his Pudding Thieves can't bring him Albert, he'll start eating his slaves. Zigzagged in that he's not exactly enthused about this — in fact, what saves his first intended meal is that he's so fussy about still being able to smell that it's meat that it delays them being served up until Albert interrupts — and he makes it quite clear he'd rather have vegetables. But he's just so insatiably hungry that he's stopped caring what he eats, so long as it's food.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Played for laughs in "The Pudding Owner's Song", in which Bill & Sam sing about Albert the Magic Pudding's origins and how they came to own him. They claim Albert dropped off the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden, helped fuel the Egyptians so that they could build the pyramids, was used by Moses to part the Red Sea, was given as a gift from the 3 Wise Men to Baby Jesus, belonged to Napoleon (which was why he always had a hand in his shirt), was the reason behind the Mutiny on the Bounty (Captain Bligh was stingy with the second course), was the reason behind Marie Antoinette saying "Let them eat cake" (because she thought she had Albert, so she could feed them all), and was on the Titanic when it sank, which is how it wound up trapped up in an iceberg and ultimately came to be in Bill & Sam's possession.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: When Albert decides to be a real Jerkass and mock Bunyip over his failure to find his parents, the normally nice koala loses his temper and kicks Albert in the arse so hard he flies into the branches of a gum tree.
  • Big Bad: Buncle, the gluttonous wombat.
  • Big Eater:
    • Played With in that Albert, being an everlasting supply of food, expects everyone to eat him in extremely large amounts. He gets annoyed when it turns out they don't.
    • Buncle, in a very horrifying way.
  • Canon Foreigner: Buncle did not appear in the original story. While there was a character named Buncle in the original story, it's nothing like Movie Buncle. Novel Buncle was not the main villain (really was mostly an upper class snob), appears very briefly in one of the poems, and was a human instead of an anthropomorphic wombat. Here, he replaces Curry-and-Rice as the Villainous Glutton.
  • Coming of Age Story: Bunyip's adventure begins literally on the day he comes of age.
  • Disney Death: Albert appears to have died after going One-Winged Angel, but he's quickly revealed to still be alive.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted for Buncle in the prologue. Hanging on for dear life from an icy precipice after trying to take the magic pudding for himself, the cliff starts sliding off of the mainland and crashing into the ocean, taking Buncle with it. He survives, swearing to get the pudding back.
    Buncle: I want...that...PUDDING!
  • Domestic Abuse: When the Pudding Thieves return in failure, Buncle threatens to send them to labor in the mines with his other slaves. The terrified Wombat pleads with Buncle for mercy by reminding him that he's Buncle's nephew, the son of Buncle's sister, and asking if he'd really send his own family into the ranks of the slaves. Buncle laughs in his nephew's face and mockingly asks where his nephew thinks his mother has been for the last few years, making it clear that family means nothing to Buncle in comparison to his hunger.
  • Faceā€“Heel Turn: Buncle was a fellow shipmate, and possibly friend, of Bill and Sam in the prologue. Due to his Sanity Slippage in the time they are stranded on the Antarctic ice, being accidentally left for dead after he fell into the icy waters of the ocean, and his mania to possess the titular pudding, he becomes the movie's central villain after the Time Skip.
  • Fat Idiot: Buncle, at least originally. He used to be the stokesman and cook on a small steamer with Bill and Sam, but he caused the ship to flounder because he was using the coal engine to bake a cake.
  • Forced into Evil: The Pudding Thieves. The wombat is Buncle's nephew, the possum is that wombat's friend, and they are forced by him to search for Albert or else join his other slaves.
  • Foreshadowing: When they are stranded in the Antarctic without food in the opening prologue, Buncle goes crazy and starts considering Sam as a potential dinner. Later on in the film, when his food supply runs dry...
    Buncle: I must have food. [smells the air] Those slaves are smelling good enough to eat.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Buncle started out as a sailor whose worst failings were being a Fat Idiot. When he discovered Albert, he attempted to murder his shipmates Bill and Sam to keep the magic pudding all to himself. When that failed, he set himself up as a slaver and warlord in the Outback — and then almost graduates to cannibalism.
  • Hartman Hips: Ginger, Buncle's female rat assistant, has childbearing hips and a large backside.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: The film ends with the disclaimer "No animated animals were harmed in the making of this film".
  • Non-Indicative Name: The incredibly friendly, polite and all around genial Penguin is known as Sam Sawnoff, needless to say there are no firearms featured in this children's film.
  • One-Winged Angel: When Buncle demands that Albert give him "a million serves of veggie pie!", Albert responds by horrifically swelling up into a giant, monstrous pudding and then throwing Buncle all the way back to Antarctica before exploding.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: There isn't a chance in hell that Albert's original backstory from the books — where he was the invention of the shockingly racist Villainous Glutton Fat Bastard Chinese chef and mystic, Curry-and-Rice, whom Bill and Sam threw into the sea to drown when they learned he would rather watch them both starve to death than share his Magic Pudding with them — would make it past modern day censors. So, instead, Albert was made an ancient magical invention of uncertain origin (though Bill asserts he "dropped off the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden"), whom Bill and Sam just happened to stumble across when they crashed in an iceberg. Curry-and-Rice's role as a Villainous Glutton antagonist was taken by the far less racist — and much more evil — Buncle.
  • Stupid Evil: Albert is an infinite source of food that will regenerate his mass, but only so long as you eat him normally (i.e one spoonful at a time). What does Buncle do? Tries to swallow him whole all at once. Which judging from how Albert was scrambling around to avoid it would have killed him. Buncle then demands he give him "A million servings of veggie pie" and then "All of the puddings in the world". Once again forgetting that Albert was already an infinite food source, but causing the already swelling Albert to explode...while Buncle was standing on top of him.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: A regular habit of Bill and Sam's is to burst into song at the slightest excuse.
  • Token Human: In a cast full of anthropomorphic animals, Bill is the only human, although other historical figures are mentioned in song.
  • Those Two Guys: The Pudding Thieves, of course. They weren't exactly big-league criminals in the book, but here, they're downright harmless — and reluctant villains to boot.
  • Villainous Glutton: Buncle is this in spades. You don't get much more glutinous than refusing to share a food source that's endless anyway, as seen when he attempts to murder Sam and Bill for ownership of Albert. Somehow making his way to Australia, he sets himself up as a tyrannical ruler in the Outback, keeping numerous people — including Bunyip's parents — as slaves to provide himself with an endless supply of food. He literally eats the landscape into a famine, and then decides that, if he can't find the Magic Pudding, he'll start eating his slaves instead.
    • In a throw-away line, he also reveals that he has made his own sister into one of his slaves.
  • Worf Effect: A mild example, Bill Barnacle is of the three main characters the most gung-ho about fighting, that being his go to solution for most pudding thief related problems. It's shown that he's quite good at it too with a wind up Popeye punch. However when it comes time to confront Buncle, Bill goes in to fight directly and is easily swatted aside.