U – 95mins – Animation/Comedy/Family – 1st April 2011
What with Easter fast approaching, there was bound to be a movie that tried to exploit this market just as there is every Christmas with the swathe of below average Santa Claus movies. Hop gave me some hope that it might rise above the average though as it was made by the same people that brought us Despicable Me (but then again they also gave us Alvin and the Chipmunks, twice and soon to be thrice!)
This movie has obviously set it’s target market at the kids and so there is no shortage of lovable furry characters and simple smirks to be had at their bumbling about. This means the movie isn’t going to make you think all that hard. It follows two main characters- a rabbit E.B. (damn that’s original although I’m embarrassed to say it took me longer than it should to make that connection) voiced by Russell Brand and Fred O’Hare, James Marsden, (spot the next connection), a human, in both the animated and real worlds. Both have overbearing fathers who want something for them that they themselves do not.
Deciding that being the Easter bunny is not the life for him E.B. makes for the big lights of Hollywood to try and show off his skills as a drummer and prove his father wrong. There he runs into Fred and their relationship gets off to a slow start. E.B. is very much the protagonist causing problems all over the shop that Fred has to keep resolving which is where I think most of the laughs are expected to come from. Add to the mix the pink berets (a crack squad of ninja bunnies) and a couple of token celebrity experiences from the Hoff and Hefner and there is enough to keep the plot moving forward.
The animation holds up quite well and there are only a few times in the movie where you can sense that the animators just didn’t quite make it work. I’m still not totally convinced by movies that put animated characters in the real world when the movie is not an action adventure or sci-fi but they are getting better at it with Paul being a good example of the tide starting to turn.
It was slightly disappointed that Hop leaned so heavily on the template that made Despicable Me a relative success. Despicable Me has the excitable yellow minions and Hop has just added feathers and in some cases another eye to give us the chick minions lead by Carlos (Hank Azaria). Although they provide some of the better comic moments they don’t really have that same impact as the critters from Despicable Me.
Now don’t get me wrong this isn’t a bad movie, it’s just that anything aimed so one dimensionally at children with no real overlay for adult jokes or anything other than ‘aww look at the cute fluffy bunny’ is not really going to get me going. If you’ve got young kids then this will be an ideal way to spend an hour and a half otherwise wait for it to hit the TV screens.
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