Hop Blu-ray Review
Before HOP, I’m not sure anyone took the time to actually think about the preparation that goes into the confectionary side of Easter. According to the opening sequence of the movie, it makes perfect sense that the entire organization is run a lot like Santa’s workshop. Of course, the elves are replaced by fuzzy yellow chicks, the North Pole is actually Easter Island and instead of making toys, the facility could easily be mistaken for Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. My blood sugar raised several levels just watching the gum drops, stuffed baskets, cream eggs and gummy bears whiz by on conveyer belts. Why our main character E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand) would want to leave a magnificent place like this is beyond me.
But E.B. has bigger dreams than following in his father’s footsteps to becoming the next Easter Bunny. He wants to be a rock-n-roll drummer and the only way to prove to his dad that he can make it as a musician is to run away from home and find sanctuary in Hollywood. That sanctuary comes in the form of slacker Fred O’Hare (James Marsden) when he accidentally hits the little bunny with his car coming home from another failed job interview. E.B.’s charm and general whimsy (he IS a talking bunny after all) help endear him to Fred as the pair bond over their shared issues that include desperate attempts to win the approval of their fathers. Together they share wacky adventures that help them realize they can achieve their dreams and make their parents proud at the same time.
I have to admit that James Marsden is extremely handsome and it didn’t hurt that he was the lead in this movie. At all. In fact, it helped me get through the 90 minutes of general boredom. Due to the fact that most of his scenes were on green screen with a stuffed bunny that would later be digitally inserted, I was impressed by his incredibly expressive face. Plus he’s pretty. But the fact that he was supposed to be a dead beat 20-something just didn’t translate on screen. He looked more like the lovable uncle to Sam (played by Kaley Cuoco) instead of her brother.
Russell Brand’s voice is distinctive, sure, but I couldn’t help but think that it was a confusing casting choice as well. It was hard for me to forget his abrasive stand-up or inappropriate film characters (FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL) as I watched an adorable little bunny hop across the screen. E.B. flirting with Cuoco’s character was borderline creepy. And the fact that he pooped jelly beans was totally lost on me. Adorable? More like DISGUSTING.
One bit of solid comic relief is Carlos (voiced by Hank Azaria). As the Easter Bunny’s right hand Peep, he secretly stages a coup to bring down the bunny and raise up the soon-to-be household Easter Chicken. Since its debut in THE BIRDCAGE, Azaria’s Hispanic accent will never get old in my opinion.
Animated animals infiltrating the lives of humans will always be hard to pull off in the world of film. Although HOP tries to distract the audience with an entire factory of sugary sweets, the actual movie is about as hollow as one of those chocolate bunnies in the bargain bin after Easter.
Video: The detail that went into E.B. and the chickens was extremely impressive in high definition. Every little feather and every little piece of fur was masterfully drawn. The candy factory was delightful too.
Audio: I noticed the audio the most with the soundtrack. The opening scene features the song “I Want Candy” as the factory is being showcased. It was so fun and the perfect accompaniment to what was on screen.
Phil’s Dance Party (3:16): Phil is Carlo’s sidekick who loves to dance. He and Carlos dance different styles for three minutes on a blank white screen. It’s pretty cute. Again, Azaria (who voices BOTH characters) is amazing.
The World of Hop (8:36): The director talks about all of the different characters and what they bring to HOP. The most interesting were Hugh Laurie’s distinctive voice as the Easter Bunny and how Hank Azaria voices both Phil and Carlos.
All Access with Cody Simpson (2:22): Cody Simpson is the artist who sings “I Want Candy” and is apparently a tween heart throb. At least, that’s what the bonus feature wants you to believe. We follow him through his recording phase and then later on the green/grassy carpet at the premiere. I’m no tweeny bopper, but this was very boring.
Russell Brand: Being the Bunny (1:12): Russell Brand in severe improv mode, explaining all the ways he prepared to be E.B. It was fanatic, crazy and a bit irritable. Just like you’d expect Russell Brand to be.
Russell Brand: Kid Crack-Ups (2:51): Russell Brand interviews children. It was a lot like the old show that Bill Cosby used to host called KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS. It was pretty funny. Every one of them brought up the fact that E.B. pooped jelly beans.
Carlos on Carlos: The Premiere According to Carlos (3:24): Carlos interviews members of the cast asking ridiculous questions. Ironically, it was pretty funny and showcased each of the actors’ ability to be spontaneous and improv with their answers.
Emotion in Motion: The Dance of Ken Daurio (2:32): This bonus feature was a bit of a stretch. Phil the Chicken dances in most of his scenes and Ken Daurio is a live man who is billed as Phil’s choreographer. The entire clip consisted of him stretching and talking about how hard it is to choreograph for a cartoon character. It was pretty dumb.
Post Commentary: Carlos and Phil Tell All (2:58): The bonus people must have been really struggling to find material for HOP because this feature was unnecessary. Carlos and Phil tell the entire story (in three minutes) from their perspective. It wasn’t funny or creative in any way. Skip it.