March 22, 2012

Perfect timing! Easter’s just around the corner, so here comes a candy-colored movie about the Easter Bunny.

EB is a young rabbit and the latest in a line of Easter Bunnies. Dad (Hugh Laurie) is grooming him for his role, but as EB (Russell Brand) hits his adolescence, he decides he wants to be a rock drummer. Brand’s got just the right quality of whining and determination and unsure bravado to play a teenage runaway, as well as the overacting he’s asked to do when EB is being particularly dramatic.

Their world is full of molten chocolate, candy eggs, and marshmallow and jellied shapes in a fantastic candy factory staffed by fluffy yellow chicks. It’s reminiscent of those seen in Willy Wonka and Toys, only much more so, since there’s no physical limitation on the size or grandeur of all the many delicious treats. It looks beautiful on Blu-ray, color everywhere you look.

The candy factory as shown on the Hop movie poster

The candy factory as shown on the Hop movie poster

The gorgeous James Marsden is Fred, a California slacker who hasn’t found his purpose in life. (Unfortunately, he reads as a little too old for this part of the role, but I’m sure his experience working with special effects was a big help in talking to things that aren’t there.) His down-to-earth sister Sam is Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory), while his parents are Gary Cole and Elizabeth Perkins. Fred and EB meet when both are running away from home. Fred hits EB with his car, and after some slapstick shenanigans due to Fred’s surprise that the bunny talks, they become roommates at a convenient mansion in which Fred is house-sitting.

When EB hops off and we see giant stone heads, I said, “oh, of course they live on Easter Island, duh”. His dad sends the Pink Berets (a rabbit ninja commando squad) out to find him, while Carlos, the chick second-in-command (voiced by the marvelous Hank Azaria), aims to take over the job.

Carlos wants to be the Easter Bunny

Carlos wants to be the Easter Bunny

Unfortunately, the ending of the movie is spoiled by a prologue that sets up Fred’s fate. It would have been a better, more surprising film without that knowledge ahead of time. I also, after seeing the rabbit poop jellybeans, am glad I never particularly liked that kind of candy.

The animation was glorious, imaginative, and full of detail to gather on rewatching, while the live-action provided a welcome contrast. They blend remarkably well together. It seemed real, that these fanciful creatures could be running around our world. The movie moves quickly, too, at a sprightly hour and 35 minutes.

James Marsden and EB in Hop

James Marsden and EB in Hop

I found it amusing for light holiday entertainment. It can’t quite decide whether to be charming or cynical, so sometimes the tone varies, but it sure put me in the mood for a good Easter basket and chocolate bunny.

Special Features

The Blu-ray Combo Pack comes with a DVD copy and UltraViolet digital copy code. There are a bunch of extras, but they’re all only 1-3 minutes each, good for short attention spans. (The movie is also available on DVD or, for $5 more, DVD with digital copy. The DVD version from the Combo Pack includes all the same special features as the Blu-ray.)

The new mini-movie promised is “Phil’s Dance Party”, three minutes of chicks Phil and Carlos dancing against a plain white background. (In this clip, the voices are by David Mallow and Jim Cummings, respectively, not Hank Azaria.) They’re set up to be breakout characters, like the minions from Despicable Me, but for me, they don’t have the same charm. They’re more impressively animated, though, with all that yellow fluff. It’s a shame that their chunky round bodies make dance animation less than detailed. Here’s a sample:

There are six short looks, one for each of the major actors — Russell Brand, James Marsden, Hugh Laurie, Hank Azaria, and Kaley Cuoco — plus writers Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul, and Brian Lynch. They’re all very complimentary, suitable for promotional purposes. Writer Ken Daurio gets another (stupid) piece as “Phil’s choreographer”.

There’s the requisite tie-in two-and-a-half minutes with young singer Cody Simpson talking about recording a remake of “I Want Candy” as the movie’s theme song. Two more promo pieces showcase Russell Brand, whom I wasn’t too thrilled to see in person; I liked him better as the bunny. One makes rabbit references while another puts him interviewing live kids.

Beyond three games, the final two special features showcase Carlos. One sends him to the movie premiere (three-and-a-half minutes) while another, the “Post-Coup Commentary”, has Carlos narrating his version of a summary of the movie (three minutes). (The studio provided a review copy.)

One Response  
Anthony writes:  

I never thought about seeing this movie, since the trailers alone turned me off (namely, the “pooping jelly beans” bits… and I like jelly beans…). Though nice to hear it might not be as bad as suspected.


»  Substance: WordPress   »  Style: Ahren Ahimsa
Copyright 2009-2015 Johanna Draper Carlson