Newest Review: ... 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 ... more
Member Name: Mephit
Date: 14/08/11, updated on 14/08/11 (59 review reads)
Advantages: amusing, seamless cgi & live-action mix, cute bunnies
Disadvantages: didn't hold the children's attention the whole way through
*** 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"
Summary: OK children's film