Making it’s debut last weekend on HBO was last year’s animated feature, “Hop”, featuring the voice work of Russell Brand, Hugh Laurie and Hank Azaria and starring James Marsden, Kaley Cuoco, Elizabeth Perkins, Gary Cole, and David Hasselhoff.
It’s a live action/animated blend Easter themed children’s movie, brought to you by Illumination Entertainment, the same folks who did “Despicable Me”. It’s the story of a bunny who doesnt wish to inherit the title and responsibilities of Easter Bunny from his father, so he runs away to the world of humans.
Hi sojourn into the land of people triggers a chain of events that may just lead to the first human serving as Easter Bunny.
“Hop” opens at the Easter Bunny’s version of the North Pole, the Easter Factory… located on Easter Island. The current Easter Bunny (Hugh Laurie) is taking his son, EB (Russell Brand) on a tour, in preparation for the fact that one day, he’ll inherit the mantle. Flash forward twenty years, and a petulant EB is insisting he doesn’t want to become the next Easter Bunny, he wants to play drums. In light of the fact his father is unresponsive to his pleas, EB runs away to the world of humans.
There, he encounters Fred O’Hare (get it?), a young man having difficulties finding his way in life. Fred’s (James Marsden) family stages an intervention for him at the beginning of the movie, on account of the fact he has no ambition whatsoever and is still living at home. Luckily for EB, Fred saw the Easter Bunny out his window when he was young, and is inclined to believe in talking bunnies. When Fred hits EB with his car, an uneasy partnership ensues. Fred lets EB stay at the mansion he’s house-sitting, and helps EB get to a variety show (“Hoff Knows Talent”, featuring none other than David Hasslehoff), and EB sabotages everything in Fred’s life.
In the meantime, EB’s father, the Easter Bunny, is dealing with an ambitious chick at the Easter Factory (Hank Azaria) who is scheming to take over as Easter Bunny. While the chicks plot to take over the factory, The Easter Bunny sends a cadre of elite bunny special forces – Pink Berets – out to track down EB. So while EB is busy trying to find a way to become a drummer and ruin Fred’s life, he also has to dodge a trio of his father’s best soldiers, trying to capture him and bring him home.
Good thing EB can poop jellybeans.
“Hop” is one of the most vapid, insipid, annoying kids movies I think I’ve ever seen. Children deserve plot and characters in their films, too. Just because kids arent the most discerning audience doesn’t mean you should foist garbage on them. “Hop” is about as shallow and simplistic as it comes. I understand the temptation to make things easy for children to understand, but hundreds of movies do that without becoming stupid. I’m not even complaining about the silliness of the high concept, I can accept a lot of things that are goofy as kid movie premises. I’m talking about the fact that we’re barely given any story or any character work before we’re thrown into the slapstick. There are other notable deficiencies, as well. Although there’s an occasional, mildly humorous moment, for the most part this is a dull and unfunny movie. It’s also devoid of memorable action sequences, and I think modern audiences have come to expect those in contemporary animated films.
But on the plus side, you get to listen to Russell Brand’s annoying voice for an entire feature length presentation.
If you have young kids – and I do mean young kids, ’cause anyone over seven is going to rebel against this one – this might be acceptable. Otherwise, stay far, far away. This has absolutely nothing to offer adults.