Saturday 27 August 2011

Today's Review: Hop

I was starting to think that maybe I should get off my Pixar loving high horse. CG animated movies have started to not be awful, and I thought newcomer Illumination was onto something when they made Despicable Me and it was actually, you know, quite good. But thankfully they have followed it up with Hop and confirmed my previous opinion.

Hop follows the misadventures of E.B. (guess what those initials stand for), voiced by Russell Brand. He is the son of the Easter Bunny (oh, just gave away the answer), and is therefore the next in line to take up the role. Problem is, he doesn't want to be the Easter Bunny, because he likes drumming instead. To be fair, he's actually a pretty talented musician, seeing as he often plays along to a song perfectly despite not hitting the right drums at the right time. Anyway, E.B. decides to escape from his home on Easter Island (that's as original as it gets, folks) and make his way to Hollywood to follow his dreams.

Of course, it turns out the real world has real humans in it, and E.B. quickly runs into Fred O'Hare (wait a minute, that sounds bunny related!), played by James Marsden. Fred is a bit of a slacker, and his parents want him to get a job or they'll be really ashamed of him, just like E.B.'s dad is slightly ashamed of E.B. Turns out the best plot point to put into a movie is how much you disappoint your parents sometimes. Fred is coincidentally housesitting for his sister's boss in a Beverly Hills mansion, and E.B. decides to crash there and generally make mischief and mess up everything Fred is trying to achieve, i.e. getting a job. Also there are some rabbits in pink berets trying to capture E.B. and take him home, and the head chick for the candy production plant on Easter Island is planning a coup to take over as the Easter Bunny. I don't know, it's all unnecessarily complex.

As you can tell by my trailing off in the last paragraph, the plot leaves a lot to be desired. It seems like someone had an idea to make a movie about the Easter Bunny, but then couldn't think of much else so he added in several song and dance routines, silly slapstick humour and a stupid ending. Everything that made Despicable Me so endearing is pretty much nowhere to be found in Hop, it's like they were made by different companies entirely. The characters aren't very likeable, and there's just nothing massively entertaining about the whole thing.

It does look nice though, I'll give it that. The blend of live action and CG, which I don't particularly like, is seamless. It's like a new age Who Framed Roger Rabbit, except without the whole being a good movie thing. The animation itself is very nice to look at, and I only wish as much effort went in to rounding out the plot as it did making the characters.

In short, Hop is not great. It'll probably keep the kids entertained, but there's so much better out there, and I'm pretty disappointed that Illumination, having shown so much potential with their debut, have managed to mess it up a bit with this outing.

My rating: 1/5

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