U.S. Animation
 

Hop

Distributed by: Universal


Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

            I’d seen the previews for Hop and found them funny, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to see the movie.  With the exorbitant ticket prices of late, would I be wasting my money on this animated feature?  Luckily, I had a friend who also wanted to see the movie…and that friend came with a gift card.  That way, if we didn’t like the movie, we really weren’t spending our hard earned cash on a flop.  However, being that the movie was made by the creators of the highly popular Despicable Me, I doubted we’d be hopping mad by the end of the film…sorry, just couldn’t help it.

            Everyone knows about the Easter Bunny.  He’s the rabbit that hides all the eggs and gives you all those cool baskets filled with your favorite candy treats each year.  But do we really know the whole story behind the Easter Bunny and is it possible that a human could ever hold the position?  According to Hop, that’s a very high possibility. 

            As the movie opens, we meet E.B. (Russell Brand), a very special rabbit.  E.B. is slated to take over the position of Easter Bunny this year from his dad (Hugh Laurie).  Unfortunately, E.B. knows just what a huge responsibility this position is and he’s not sure that he can be the perfect Easter Bunny his father believes he can be.  In fact, he has no real interest in the job.  He’d rather be a drummer in a band.  Like many a rebellious son faced with the possibility of being stuck with a  responsibility he doesn’t believe he is prepared for, E.B. runs away.

            He chases his dream of becoming a star by heading off to Hollywood where he tries his luck at the Playboy Mansion but meets with rejection.  E.B.’s journey almost ends before it has a chance to begin when he is nearly run over by Fred O’Hare (James Marsden), a young man who hasn’t been able to find his occupational niche.  At first, Fred is skeptical about this bunny, but when he learns just who it is that he is in the company of, he begins to perk up.  After all, he was the only kid in his neighborhood to ever have actually seen the Easter Bunny (E.B.’s father) twenty years ago.  Meeting E.B. was a childhood fantasy come true.  However, childhood fantasy’s aside, reality dictates that if Fred doesn’t find a job soon, he may be homeless - as they repeatedly remind him, he can’t live with his parents forever.

            Meanwhile, at home on Easter Island, E.B.’s father is frantic at the idea of E.B. running away from home at such a critical time.  He decides to send out a top notch team to find him - The Pink Berets.  But not everyone is unhappy at the disappearance of E.B.  In fact, you might say that Carlos (Hank Azaria), the foreman of the Easter Island operations, is ecstatic.  This is the opportunity he has been waiting for - a chance to take over the long-coveted position of beloved Easter animal.  Who says the Easter candy and eggs must be delivered by a bunny?  What about an oversized Easter chick?

            Will E.B. realize his dreams of becoming a star drummer for a major band?  Will Carlos finally attain greatness as the Easter Chick?  Will Fred ever find an occupation that peaks his interest?  Just where do jellybeans come from anyway?  All of these questions and more are answered in Hop.

            I must admit, I was a little worried about seeing this film without a child en tow, especially after noting the look on the ticket salesman’s face when we asked for two adult tickets only.  Even more so when I noted that the theater was filled with expectant children, one even wearing bunny ears (cute kid, by the way).  But the movie WAS rated PG.  Had the movie been completely without scandal, it would have been rated a G, but with a PG rating, there was hope for some adult humor, especially with Russell Brand as the lead voice in the film.

            I’m hoppy…er…happy to say I was right.  Hop is a film that is as entertaining for adults as it is for kids.  Most of the jokes are geared towards children, but there are quite a few that only the adults will understand.  Plus, the main idea of the film - the pressure of responsibility that becomes an issue as soon as we reach adulthood - is something that only the adult (or nearly adult) members of the audience will understand and be able to relate to.

            Some of the funniest scenes were tailor made for adults, such as the one where E.B. pretends to be a stuffed animal when Fred’s sister encounters him.  As she picks him up and snuggles with E.B., he gestures to Fred, clearly hitting on his sister.  And there are scenes that are funny for adults and kids alike, like E.B. revealing where jellybeans come from.  I also cracked up every time they showed the Pink Berets in action and the smallest one had to take a puff on her inhaler.

            The animation in this film is incredibly seamless.  The live actors in the film interact with the animated characters as if they were actually there.  You tend to forget that there is no such thing as a talking bunny who plays the drums and has a love for rock and roll.  The color palate of this film is off the charts.  After all, this is a film about the Easter Bunny - how could it not be colorful?  Everything you see is rich and captivating both in color and blend.

            The musical score of this film is off the charts with songs like I Want Candy by Cody Simpson, The Anthem by Good Charlotte, Dynamite by Taio Cruz and Celebrity Skin by Hole.  The diversity of the songs selected combined with the musical score created by Christopher Lennertz creates a terrific blend.  I found myself tapping my feet and happily raising my eyebrows at the song selection.

            The only negatives I found with the film were certain cast members.  I never did like Gary Cole who plays Fred’s father or David Hasselhoff, who plays himself in this film.  While I could stomach Cole as the disappointed father, I was quite annoyed at The Hoff’s appearance in this film.  Anyone could have been selected as the seeker of talent who E.B. auditions for in hopes of becoming a star.  Did it have to be this guy?  Fortunately, I was able to move past that error and enjoy the rest of the film.

            Hop is, most definitely, a film that any child will enjoy, judging from the reaction of the kids in the audience and the claps it received from them at the rolling of the end credits.  It was also a movie adults could enjoy, and this is judging by my own experience as well as my observations of the various chuckles heard uttered by adults throughout the film.  A terrific experience as a family movie and a whole lot of fun, Hop was well worth its ticket price!  I can’t wait to own it on DVD!

 

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