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As a family of five, we love nothing more than curling up on the couch on a Sunday with a good family DVD. We chose HOP after watching the advertisments on TV and our sons thought it was hilarious, especially since E.B poops jelly beans. (my sons are two, four and five so think 'pooping' is the funniest thing going) We imagined this would be a fantasy animated childrens film with no real plot and some comedy scattered throughout, we were delighted to find however that HOP was so much more than that.
The story is about E.B (Russel Brand) who is due to become the next Easter bunny. Following in the 4,000 year long tradition of easter bunnies. E.B of course doesn't want to be the next easter bunny as he has dreams of his own. (There would be no film if this wasn't the case, so it was predictable to some extent)
Slipping away E.B heads to the big apple to seek fame and fortune as a rock star drummer. Stopping at the Playboy Mansion he thinks that he can live there as he hears they have bunnies staying he finds he is turned away. My sons never got this joke but my husband and i did. We where surprised that they would put a joke in like this with it being a childrens film.
Fred (played by James Marsden) nearly runs E.B over in his car while heading to his sisters boses house to house-sit. Fred is a work slacker who doesn't think that he should take a job as nothing feels 'right' to him. Fred knows there is the perfect job waiting for him but he just can't find it. Fred's parents get really annoyed with their sons work slacker attitude and kick him out!
The film slows down in the middle i feel and my sons started to get fidgety at this point as there wasn't many jokes or funny things happening until Fred and E.B decide to help each other out to achieve their dreams.
E.B wants to be a drummer in a rock band and Fred wants to take over E.B's role as the Easter bunny! E.B puts Fred through training to help him and my sons interest came back, they were killing themselves laughing as were we. (you really have to watch it to get it)
They both come across plenty of obstacles which strengthens their friendship. I loved the ending as i couldn't have guessed that it would end the way it did. Overall we all liked this film. My youngest loved it, i thoroughly enjoyed it and my eldest liked it but didn't want to re-watch it the next day.
Will they both reach their dreams? you'll need to watch to find out.
Directed by: Tim Hill
Duration: 1 hour 34 minutes
E.B. is the teenage son of the Easter Bunny, and about to be granted the ultimate honour in the bunny world of becoming the Easter Bunny himself, following the retirement of his father. However, E.B. just wants to be a drummer, and decides he doesn't want the responsibility of being the Easter Bunny, and manages to escape Easter Island, ending up in Hollywood where he will pursue his dream of being a drummer. He ends up almost being run over by hapless Fred O'Hare who is jobless, a tad hopeless and sure he is dreaming about a talking rabbit living his home. Fred finds himself looking after E.B. after he discovers he can't get rid of him, and the two of them form an unlikely friendship. When it seems that his father and the other bunnies on Easter Island are in danger, it's up to Fred and E.B. to save the day, but will either of them be able to face up to their responsibilities and save Easter for everyone?!
Harry and I had the chance to see this on one of Vue cinema's KidsAM deals, meaning I only had to pay a very small price to see it. Being that it wasn't exactly the season for seeing it (mid summer when the film is an Easter film!), I was hoping Harry would enjoy it anyway, and luckily for me he did! It is another children's movie that combines real life actors with animated characters, as previously seen in the Alvin and the Chimpunks, and Yogi Bear movies, and although we'd enjoyed the former, the latter was pretty awful but Hop managed to better that disaster, and is firmly up there with Alvin and co. Despite the fact it's set at Easter, it is a film that can be enjoyed any time of year, so don't worry about watching it in the middle of September!
The character of E.B., who is the son of the Easter Bunny is the main animated character in the film. I felt the animation for him was really good, he was a really cute looking bunny, wearing normal clothes, and certainly appeals to the films younger viewers. He's voiced by Russell Brand, an actor who I have to say doesn't really do it for me at all, but I feel he did really well in this film. His voice suited the character and I felt he really brought E.B. to life. E.B. himself is fun, loves life and wants to be a drummer, something you don't expect of a rabbit and this is why he doesn't want to follow in his father's footsteps. But I enjoyed the change in the character when he realises his father is in danger, and it sends a good message to the movies younger viewers.
James Marsden is the human character in the film, Fred O'Hare. Fred is a grown up who has no idea what he wants to do with his life, so ends up house-sitting for his sister's rich boss. He meets E.B. by chance, and the pair strike up an unklikely friendship. Considering he is having to act to something that isn't actually in front of him, Marsden does a fantastic job interacting with the character of E.B., and at no point do you think he's acting to nothing, he does a great job, he's very animated and the friendship between Fred and E.B. is really genuine and sweet. I also have to mention the hilarious chick called Carlos who is determined to become the first Easter Chick against the odds, Hank Azaria voices him wonderfully and he's simply hilarious to listen to and watch!
The story itself isn't anything amazing - Easter Bunny wants his son to follow in his footsteps, son doesn't want to but when he realises his dad is in danger tries to save the day. There is a quite a bit of comedy throughout the film, mainly courtesy of Carlos, but Marsden does his best with the script too. I did like the 2 Pink Berets, action bunnies sent out to hunt down E.B., but they weirdly didn't have much dialogue but added a bit of drama whenever they appeared. The soundtrack was quite good, I remember it featuring a Taio Cruz song during a funny skit involving David Hasselfhoff so they've definitely tried to keep the movie modern. Overall I have to say this was a pleasant enough movie, it entertained Harry for the duration and he laughed along at the funny parts so the humour is clearly well aimed. The animation was lovely, the story a bit ridiculous with some adult references in there the kids won't get (the Playboy mansion!) but overall a watchable and sweet children's movie. It isn't the best by means, but it's a nice way to pass the time!
Directed by Tim Hill
Written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio
Running Time: 95 minutes
James Marsden ... Fred O'Hare
Russell Brand ... E.B. / Production Assistant (voice)
Kaley Cuoco ... Sam O'Hare
Hank Azaria ... Carlos / Phil (voice)
Gary Cole ... Henry O'Hare
Elizabeth Perkins .. Bonnie O'Hare
Hugh Laurie ... E.B.'s Dad (voice)
Tiffany Espensen ... Alex O'Hare
David Hasselhoff ... Himself
The DVD is released on 29th August 2011, and will sell for £9.97 (Amazon.co.uk, Aug. 2011). Blu-ray is available for £15.93, also released on 29th August 2011.
Thank you for reading.
*** Film Only Review ***
So, I watched 'Hop' with the children and their friends. It was a Kids Am showing at the Vue cinema, where children's movies that have been out for a while are shown in the morning, at reduced prices: £1.25 per person. Bargain! They also do an offer with children's popcorn plus drink at £1.50, which makes buying it more affordable instead of the normal "you faint, I'll carry you out" prices. The film is due out on DVD at the end of August.
'Hop' is a story about the Easter Bunny, so a bit out of season, but anyway...
On Easter Island, EB (voiced by Russell Brand) is the reluctant heir to the Easter Bunnying business, whose father (voiced by Hugh Laurie) is trying to groom him for greatness. But EB wants to drop out and be a drummer, he doesn't want this high-pressured life where he feels all he can do is let his father down. He decides to do a bunk and heads to Hollywood.
In California, human Fred O'Hare (James Marsden) is a slacker whose family stage an intervention, demanding he gets a job, moves out and gets a life. This 'tough love' instigated by Fred's ever-disappointed dad (Gary Cole) is diluted a bit by his sister Sam (Kaley Cuoco) secretly hooking him up with somewhere to stay and a job interview.
On Fred's way to his temporary home, the two worlds literally collide as his bumper meets EB.
In the meantime, on Easter Island, EB's distraught dad sends out his royal guard of the Pink Berets to track down EB, while his chick assistant Carlos (voiced by Hank Azaria) schemes and dreams.
Will EB evade the Pink Berets? Will Carlos succeed in his dastardly plotting? And will Fred ever get through a job interview?
I found it quite a decent film. It's a combination of CGI and live action, with the bunnies and chicks beautifully created with computer effects - most excellent moving hair and feathers for maximum fluffiness and cuteness.
The storyline moved along quite well, with enough exciting and or funny moments to hold the children's interest for the most part. The younger children I took with me (5 & 6) grew somewhat restless mid-way through, and started looking around, fidgeting and even asking when it would be over. The film did manage to re-capture their attention, however, so all was not lost.
For myself, I'm a bit fed up of absent mothers trope in children's films: I mean, there was no sign of Mrs EB senior, and Bonnie O'Hare (Elizabeth Perkins) had minimal lines.
Kaley Cuoco (best known as Penny from the 'Big Bang Theory') did a nice turn as Fred's sister. She was feisty and capable, a good foil for Fred's flakiness. Gary Cole did the grumpy dad role well, while the voice-actors were all very good. It worked well. I particularly liked Russell Brand's brief live-action cameo.
Now, the Hoff (David Hasselhoff) basically plays himself, so he's not stretched too far(!): he does this tongue-in-cheek, self-referential stuff well. It's not as much fun as his appearance in the 2004 SpongeBob SquarePants movie, but it's still mildly amusing.
I wasn't entirely on board with some of the storyline of the film. I was seriously annoyed by Fred & EB's behaviour towards Fred's adopted sister (Tiffany Espensen). Events going wrong is one thing, but this part of the story felt more like a deliberate sabotage. It was just weird, none of the other members of the family got a comeuppance like that and I can't get to grips with the thinking behind it.
I was also peeved by the scene in which EB tries to gain access to the Playboy Mansion: it's a joky scene aimed squarely at the adults, of course, but it doesn't need to be there. Very little is added by it - it's not hilarious even for the grown-up audience and it's a joke I don't particularly want to have to explain to small children.
I liked the 3 Pink Beret bunnies, I liked how efficient & accurate they were with the blow-darts and it's nice to see female characters with the action role. Unfortunately, their characterisation was limited to one of the trio being asthmatic and a bit clumsy, otherwise they were interchangeable. Every time the others leapt into a pose, she would take the opportunity to have a blast of her inhaler, as a bit of comic relief. I thought it was good to have an asthmatic doing those active things and being very physical whereas often asthmatics are depicted in film/tv as sitting on the sidelines or as a kind of short-hand for nerdy. I liked that the three female bunnies were clearly very good at their job, but perplexed that they didn't have much, if any dialogue.
Some of the film seemed a bit familiar, and apparently it is from the makers of 'Despicable Me' (a much better film, in my opinion), so perhaps that was why. It was the scenes in the factory that were somewhat reminiscent of the Minions in Gru's lab.
All in all, 'Hop' provided a pleasant hour and a half's worth of entertainment. I wouldn't recommend it to buy, but certainly to borrow.
The Boy (6) says "It wasn't that funny, but it was very good and I'd like to see it again."
The Girl (11) says "The animation was really good and so was the storyline".
Product details for DVD (as available from Amazon):
"Actors: Russell Brand, James Marsden, Elizabeth Perkins, Hugh Laurie, Hank Azaria
Directors: Tim Hill
Subtitles: English, Arabic
Region: Region 2
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Universal Pictures UK
DVD Release Date: 29 Aug 2011
Run Time: 91 minutes"
note: originally written for What Culture by me, thanks!
There are many ways to sell an animated film, but having it directed by the man responsible for the more painful of the two horrid Garfield films - listed among Bill Murray's sole regrets, no less - is not one of them. But a solid cast is a solid cast; Hop boasts the voices of Russell Brand, Hugh Laurie and Hank Azaria, while featuring live action turns from James Marsden, Kaley Cuoco, Elizabeth Perkins and Gary Cole. Are they slumming it, or can they somehow elevate an idea that so brazenly rips off Tim Allen's The Santa Clause?
Perhaps the one refreshing thing Hop has going for it is a surprising lack of 3D, especially considering the visually elaborate opening; a pass through the Easter Island factory, where all the chocolate is made, replete with CGI fountains of the tasty stuff. The sickly visuals will certainly tempt anyone with a sweet tooth, and kids will doubtless be left salivating, for the visual effects are impressive for a film produced on a tighter budget than most mainstream animated fare. However, this promise soon goes to pot once the live actors are forced to interact with their animated co-stars, as is true of so many films of this type.
An overabundance of pop music, a dull, inane plot, and a criminal squandering of Russell Brand's wily charms are just a few of the reasons why Hop ostensibly fails. Instead of crafting a storied celebration of Easter, Hop feels desperately keen to stay relevant, shoehorning in pop culture references into a story about a teenage rabbit, E.B. (Brand) who shirks the responsibility of taking up the mantle of the Easter Bunny in favour of pursuing a drumming career in Hollywood. E.B. plays the video game Rock Band incessantly, as though contractually-mandated, and it would seriously be of little surprise.
In Hollywood, E.B. lives with a human, Fred O'Hare (Marsden), a slacker who accidentally hits him with his car and decides to adopt him out of guilt. Frankly it's a shame the script is so pat, because Brand's colorful vocal work lends itself very well to animated fare such as this, even though his own act is generally inappropriate for children's eyes and ears. The real impropriety, however, comes from a script hurtling along a misguided trajectory, giving way to unsavory potty humour, such as E.B.'s ability to excrete jelly beans, setting up for the inevitable gag in which a human eats one. If the writers wanted to make Easter festivities appealing, this isn't the way to do it...
The one thing the film does of interest is to strangely draw attention to the fact that people aren't freaked out by seeing E.B., yet it never dares to go further with this admittedly quite interesting, postmodern idea. While one gag is cute and funny - as E.B. pretends to be a toy while Kaley Cuoco cuddles him - the gags generally hit rock bottom by the time David Hasselhoff shows up as a Simon Cowell-type talent show judge, which naturally gives way to an absurdly forced impromptu dance number, executed with such aggressive glee that it almost works, and will probably make you laugh out of sheer incredulous embarassment.
The hijinx become increasingly tiresome very quickly, however, culminating in E.B. sabotaging slacker Fred's important job interview by playing the drums with a gang of blind musicians. By the end, its already spotty focus is lost, and not even the rousing voice work of Brand, nor a blatant live action cameo by the man himself, can save things.
It offers few surprises, and for your buck all you'll essentially get is a cringe-inducing dance number, lame gags and an admittedly alluring display of oversized chocolate. Avoid.
Hop is the movie that was released at Easter this year, combining animation with real life film. My son and I went to the cinema to see it, and we were both entertained, with a good combination of plot, acting, voices and music. Another tick for animated films this year.
The plot is quite a clever one. Russell Brand voices rabbit E.B., the next in line to become the Easter Bunny when his father decides it's time to hand over the controls on Easter Island. However, he is extremely reluctant to do so, wishing he could fulfill his dream of being a professional musician, himself a drummer. Meanwhile, James Marsden plays Fred, a 30 something who still hasn't grown up and who still believes in the Easter bunny despite his entire family despairing about his juvenile and irresponsible lifestyle. Urging him to get a job, he ends up housesitting for his sister's boss at the same time as E.B. chooses to run away. The two of them inadverntently meet, and the sparks fly!
The entertainment factor is the key here, and the combination of animation and real life is filmed very well indeed. It must have been really hard for Marsden to pretend E.B. was there all the time, and there are quite a lot of scenes where the two of them are there together, so hats off to him. The animators must have had an equally hard job combining it so well, as again, the amount of time on screen leads to the amount of frames and scenes that must be checked to make sure they're spot on.
The animation in general was very good, especially with the events on Easter Island such as the rebelling canaries and the ninja special ops girl bunnies. In fact, the characters are very cleverly created, and the way the film is set out does mean that the main plot featuring Fred and E.B. does have regular breaks where other characters are developed and smaller sub plots are explored. The main focus is certainly on the two lead roles, but the depth of plot isn't all that bad and there's a decent amount of support.
And most importantly, it's fun and funny. The entertainment factor, a crucial thing with so many kids' films vying for the limelight these days, is very high, and the inclusion of some great music throughout makes it even more so. The animation used when E.B. plays the drums is very impressive indeed, and the character's impulsive nature is one of the catalysts for many of the scrapes and awkward moments that the two of them find themselves in.
There's also enough innocence injected into the film to maintain a form of belief for the kids watching. There's no huge put down of the Easter bunny, nor does the film waffle about what it signifies or symbolises. It's just presented that the bunny exists and adults generally don't believe it does. Then it gets on with it. The fact that it does it in a funny way means that kids probably aren't going to provide you with too many questions afterwards, and ultimately it feels more like a funny film than something to provoke discussion. The focus is definitely on the entertainment. It reminded me a little of the Alvin and the Chipmunk films with its combination of animation and real life, and the comedy was pitched at a similar level as well, although there was probably a bit more of the over the top element.
Brand was a good choice for the voice, especially as he's flying high in America at the moment. He also has a little cameo as a technician at some point during the film, which is quite amusing, but the focus is very much on his role as E.B. and on Marsden as Fred, and the two carry the film off very well. There isn't really anything I would say is unsuitable for kids, and there aren't even that many jokes thrown in for the older audience to catch the meaning of. There are a couple of moments, but nothing dwelled upon, and it almost seems like an afterthought.
Either way, we found this highly entertaining. I'm not about to say that it's a fantastic kids film, but it's certainly one I highly recommend if you're looking for a recent film for your kids. I'm not sure if it's out on DVd yet, but if you thinking about getting it, then it's likely to keep them entertained not just the first time they watch, but it's also the sort of film you could watch a few times and still be entertained. Recommended.
Hop the Movie (2011)
Despite being an adult in my early forties, I still love watching children's films and when I saw the trailer for Hop the Movie on TV, I knew I wanted to go and see it. However, my boyfriend didn't fancy it much and now all my children are quite grown up, it seemed I would be missing out. However, our thirteen-year-old niece came to stay for the weekend and she really wanted to see it too, so the three of us hopped over (!) to our local cinema to see if it was any good.
Hop is the big family film for Easter 2011 and is a combination of animation and live action. The story is set initially on Easter Island, the home of the Easter Bunny and the wonderfully colourful and exciting Easter Factory which makes all the chocolates and sweets for the Easter baskets and delivers them to children around the world.
We then skip a few years into the future where the senior Easter Bunny informs his son E.B. that he will soon take over. However, E.B. has aspirations of a different kind. He wants to be a drummer and escapes to Hollywood to seek his fortune.
Meanwhile in Hollywood (and live action rather than animation), we follow the fortunes of Fred O'Hare, whose parents are fed up of supporting him and want him to leave home and get a job. Fred's sister tries to help by letting him house-sit for her boss and as he drives over to the house, he narrowly misses running over E.B. - and so their adventures together begin...
The animated sequences of Hop are stunning! The Easter Factory is breathtakingly beautiful, the rabbits and chicks are also well realised and I loved being able to see their fur moving. The combination of the animation with the live action is well done too and it is easy to get into the story and be carried along by the special effects.
As you would expect, it is a very cute movie and one that is family friendly and suitable for all ages. There is a lot of humour and many laugh-out-loud bits, so parents will find it as entertaining as the children will.
Hugh Laurie voices the Easter Bunny, with Russell Brand voicing E.B. (and making a brief cameo appearance too, so look out for that!). The live action cast stars the rather pretty James Marsden as Fred O'Hare, Kaley Cuoco as his sister with Gary Cole and Elizabeth Perkins playing his parents. The cast all do their parts well enough, but only Marsden gets much chance to shine and he comes across well with charm and charisma.
But the film belongs to the animated creatures and especially E.B. who is just mischievous and rebellious enough to attract the children, while still retaining that cute innocence to allow the adults to forgive his impulsiveness. There are also the Pink Berets - a trio of ninja bunnies - who deserve a mention and Carlos the chick who is trying to overthrow the bunny regime.
The film stays on the right side of sickly sweet too, so you will enjoy it, not endure it. It is a very positive film, fun and uplifting and you will come out of the cinema smiling, no matter how young or old you are. There are also some very catchy songs in it, so expect them to stick around in your head for a few days too.
My boyfriend, our niece and I all really enjoyed this film and talked about it a lot afterwards, showing it is memorable too. It has a few moral messages in it (like not running away) but never becomes preachy and though there are a few toilet humour jokes, these are sweet and funny, not vulgar. (You may never look at jellybeans in quite the same way again though!) It's only a short film, around an hour and a half, so it should be easy enough to hold the attention of primary age children (along with a big thing of popcorn or something similar!). Older teenagers may feel they are too old for this, but I bet you'll catch them watching the DVD when no-one's looking!
It is out in cinemas now and no doubt the DVD release will be just a few months away, along with a plethora of cute fluffy bunnies and Easter chicks. Probably in time for Christmas. Oh well.
Hop the Movie is lots of fun and I highly recommend it.
You can watch the trailer and play various games and things on the official film website - http://www.iwantcandy.com/