Saturday, April 02, 2011

Don't get your Hops up

I expected a lot more from 'Hop', coming from the same studio that gave us 'Despicable Me'. Maybe it's because Easter lacks the commercial mythos that Christmas has embodied so richly that there's little there to connect us with the characters in Hop. Neither the traditions nor the rituals associated with the Easter Bunny are familiar to us, so we don't really care if we don't get our Easter baskets this year. We never did, anyway.

What's left of the movie is the familiar theme of slacker sons disappointing their fathers. EB runs away from his *groan* Easter Island home to chase his rockstar dreams -- the heck with inheriting the mantle of Easter Bunny from his ageing predecessor. In Hollywood, Fred has no idea what he wants to do other than 'something great', but since nothing like that has approached him yet he remains in a perpetual state of employment limbo, which does not amuse his father [hmm... sounds familiar, heh].

When 'toon Bunny meets live-action human, we have an 'Odd Couple' pairing -- and the accompanying gags therein -- while they help sort each other out. But when Fred is mistaken for having killed EB by the no-nonsense Pink Berets, EB has to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his friend. At this point, the Prodigal Son becomes a badly (barely?)-disguised Messiah figure whose 'resurrection' facilitates reconciliation with their respective fathers.

'Hop' is mostly a series of cheap running gags (which isn't so bad in itself) but with little depth of character development. Without a serious antagonist (Carlos, the chick, is at best a distraction), both EB and Fred can only fight their fathers' aspirations for them and their own egos simultaneously, which for an animation is a bit too inward-looking. Mixing animation with live-action limits the potential for out-of-this world situational wackiness, which is what we're looking for in an animation in the first place. Lol moments there were, but they didn't really string together for me.

Too bad. The cartoon magic formula didn't happen here. Hop away, l'il bunny. No carrot for you.

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