Hop

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HopI’m hit-and-miss with animated movies. I have friends that love them, and they’ve even talked me into going to the Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation events in La Jolla.

HOP is done by the same writing team that gave us Despicable Me, which is promising; although, it’s from the director that gave us Garfield and Alvin and the Chipmunks.

So I’m happy to report that this movie worked.

It’s not a brilliant comedy, but it’s a solid piece of filmmaking that the whole family will enjoy. It’s not an animated movie like Rango that is written mostly for adults. This is written mostly for kids, but with jokes adults will enjoy.

Everyone will enjoy the visuals. The bunny is real cute (which is odd, considering the creepy looking Russell Brand does his voice), and when they show the candy being made, it’s as stunning as when you first saw Willy Wonka’s factory creating goodies.

There were some things that didn’t work; the side story with the Pink Berets (I know, I know…we have Green Berets, Prince gave us Raspberry Berets, and now this). They are trying to track down the AWOL rabbit E.B. (Russell Brand, who is supposed to take over the family business and become the Easter Bunny).

E.B. would rather play the drums and make music. His dad (Hugh Laurie) is retiring from the job as the Easter Bunny, and complains he didn’t get to do what he wanted in life – which was become a doctor in America (okay, I made that last part up).

Hank Azaria, who does many voices on The Simpsons, is great as the angry chick that wants to be promoted to the position.

I won’t tell you the cameos, because that spoils them when they show up. They’re a lot of fun, although one with a band in the studio could’ve been better (the band they used was perfect).

The way the animators made E.B. hop from side to side instead of just moving forward is cute, as well as the decision to have him sniff things as they’re handed to him.

It would’ve been nice if E.B. had a bit more of Brand’s brand of humor, to at least warrant the PG rating this got (I have no clue why it wasn’t rated G).

It was nice to Elizabeth Perkins, who I haven’t seen in years. The last thing I remember her doing was another animated film – Finding Nemo.

Oh, and I should explain – this isn’t all animated. It’s got live animation, much in the same way the other rabbit movie was done – Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

You also have to give the filmmakers credit for tackling the Easter Bunny. We’ve had a million movies using Santa Claus and Elves that are real. I don’t recall an Easter Bunny movie being done before. I could Google it, but I’m lazy.

One other cast member of note is Gary Cole. He plays an angry father, and you can’t help but smile when he’s on the screen. That’s because you can’t stop thinking about his character in Office Space – one of the best comedies of the last 20 years.

I unfortunately sat next to a woman that had two children (ages 2 and 5), and they wouldn’t stop using the seats in front of them as drums (to play along with E.B.), or talking non-stop. Keep in mind, even movies that are for the entire family, doesn’t mean you should bring babies or kids under three that will be disruptive. And if you have older children, they should still behave. We all understand and give more leeway at a family film, and we understand a child may have one or two moments where they talk loudly. There shouldn’t be non-stop chatter, though. That’s a distraction for everyone.

This movie isn’t great comedy, but it’s a good family film that nobody will be disappointed they saw.

I’m giving it a C+.

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