Synopsis: Blending state of the art animation with live action, Hop is a comedy about E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand), the teenage son of the Easter Bunny. On the eve of taking over the family business, E.B. leaves for Hollywood in pursuit of his dream of becoming a drummer. He encounters Fred (James Marsden), an out-of-work slacker with his own lofty goals, who accidentally hits E.B. with his car. Feigning injury, E.B. manipulates Fred into providing him shelter, and Fred finds himself with the world’s worst houseguest.
Release Date: April 1, 2011 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Comedy, Children and Family
E.B. wants nothing more than to be a drummer in a band. Born on Easter Island he is the son and heir to the Easter Factory. A magical place where every candy in your dreams is manufactured; waiting to be delivered to eager children by the The Easter Bunny for the annual Easter Egg hunt every spring. E.B.’s father, The Easter Bunny himself, sees E.B.’s dreams of rock stardom as a hobby, and in a mere two weeks time E.B. is expected to be crowned the new Easter Bunny as his father retires. This common disagreement leads to another common occurrence when E.B. runs away from home to seek out his dreams of becoming a rock n’ roll star in Hollywood. It is in Hollywood that he meets Fred O’Hare (James Marsden), a man down on his luck and struggling with his own father-son conflict. Quickly E.B. and Fred befriend each other; mostly after Fred comes to terms with a talking bunny by his side, and both set off to try and make careers for themselves while back at the Easter Factory a coup is being planned by head Chic Carlos–and if I may point out Carlos has a very strong latino accent that makes an adult frown at the blatant stereotyping of the second-in-charge of the factory. So much for a non-ethnic and racially charged undertone to the film.
As for E.B. himself, he is adorable to look at as the animators have created quite a cute lovable looking bunny but his attitude leaves much to be desired. E.B. is a tad dramatic, and very sarcastic. The cuteness is completely lost when he opens his mouth to speak on most occasions and there is not enough of the good, the adorable, or the empathetic to make E.B. easily liked. The term “spoiled brat” nearly sums it up. But he is not really that much of a brat, just never given a real personality outside of the realm of being an unwelcome, somewhat disrespectful houseguest, who just wants to play the drums. This leads to the other main problem with Hop, there is no clear story development. Sure, E.B. is on a quest to play the drums but when he gets his big break it is all too simple. David Hasselhoff is the one who offers him a shot at stardom and it is funny how the script maneuvers around “The Hoff” being shocked by a drum playing bunny but regardless, nothing substantial every happens in the film. It aims to entertain merely from the visual aspect of a talking bunny, a very fancy Easter Factory, and the comedic ability of James Marsden. The film does try to make up for being pointless near the end when Fred and E.B. face the challenge of deciding their future and finding a common ground between what is expected and what is possible. Even still, something just does not sit right with Hop from start to finish.
On A More Personal Observant Note:
It is always difficult to review a film made for children when you are in fact an adult. Many animated and live-action/animation hybrid movies try their best to appeal to both children and adults and many of them succeed. I for one very much enjoyed Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Sueakquel. There are those that fail, and when they fail they fail miserably. Hop is part of the latter as well as the former because judging by the boy of about seven or eight who was sitting next to me, he was more interested in his shoes than the movie. Worse still was how he did not laugh one single time throughout the entire film–and I was listening. As for the rest of the audience, they did not fare much better. If someone with children asked me if they should go see Hop I would only say yes if they wanted their children to take a nap. Then again, there were quite a few children who made their parent’s leave about halfway through the film–I guess even when bored a kid doesn’t always fall asleep.
E.B., The Easter Bunny, Chic Carlos, and Chic Phil all look great. But what about all the other bunnies and chics that are running around the factory and island? It is clear the grand majority of time went in to making these more major characters look great on screen while ignoring how the background ones would appear. The difference is striking and surely noticeable to anyone who is paying attention. The integration of animated E.B. into the real world with Fred is done very well and he is lifelike in all respects. It was especially nice to see so much movement without blurring or the disruption of planes when E.B. was on screen with a real person. The real greatness in animation would have to be with The Easter Factory. The cascading waterfalls of candy, the chocolate being poured to create beautifully crafted delicacies are exciting. The bright colors that fill the entire space as the gummy gun blasts out gummy treats in the shapes of holiday themed items. Ever wonder how the cream gets inside those sinful cream filled chocolate eggs? Time to find out. Or how much marsh and mallow are needed to make the perfect marshmallow bunny treat? Question answered. One could spend hours reveling at the sight of The Easter Factory and all of the magical charm it possesses.
The tag line of the film is, “Candy, Chicks and Rock N’ Roll.” There was candy, there were plenty of chics, but the Rock N’ Roll not so much. E.B. wants to be a drummer in a band, and he does take a spin at playing a few times but there is never a true musical performance. As a viewer you expect some musical numbers to start up. Something to make you dance and sing along with E.B.. Nope, doesn’t happen. You may count two numbers as existing, one with a band of blind blues musicians, and the other with a group of children in a school play singing “I Want Candy” but neither are rousing enough to peak interest. It was very disappointing to not have the musical aspect realized in the film and it definitely aided in the poor response by the children. Also alienating the children were the song choices for the soundtrack. A band such as Poison is not going to have much impact on a small child who has no memory of the song “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”, and the additional blues, rock, metal, and rap music is also dated or unfamiliar. Had E.B. actually sung the songs they would have evolved out of their respective audience to embrace a new one but as purely background music they come across too far out of place.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Tim Hill
- Producer(s): Cinco PaulKen DaurioBrian Lynch
- Screenwriter(s): Kaley Cuoco (Samantha O’Hare)Russell Brand (voice of Easter Bunny)James Marsden (Fred)
- Story: Hugh Laurie (Hop’s Father)
- Cast: Chelsea Handler (Mrs. Beck)David Hasselhoff (Himself) Peter S. ElliottPeter Lyons CollisterRichard Holland
- Cinematographer: Christopher Lennertz
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score:
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA