MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
Last spring, Russell Brand stumbled into greatness on the Hollywood scene. Not only was his film “Arthur” a minor hit at the box office, but he voiced the lead character in the film “Hop.” I don’t necessarily think Americans were going crazy over Brand. He was just in the right place at the right time.
“Hop” will have more endurance in people’s mind, partly because it’s a children’s film, but also because it’s one of only a few Easter-themed movies for a secular audience. With enough Christmas-themed movies available at the end of the year, there are relatively fewer Easter ones. And most of those Easter movies have some obvious and relevant religious overtones to them, such as “The Passion of the Christ,” “King of Kings” and even “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
But Easter Bunny films are hard to find. Even harder if you take television specials out of the mix.
So “Hop” is going to endure just as your short list of Thanksgiving-themed movies will always rise to the top around that time of year. Fortunately, “Hop” is cute enough and can appeal to both children and grown-ups.
The story follows the would-be Easter Bunny who is not interested in going into the family business. He decides to leave Easter Island behind (get it?) and travel to Hollywood to follow his dreams of becoming a drummer in a rock band. Yup, perfect for the voice of Russell Brand, huh?
Using a mix of CGI (for the bunny) and live-action (with James Marsden leading the show and again playing second fiddle to a less entertaining character), “Hop” is your basic, harmless kiddie flick. It’s not high art, but it’s got a cute and cuddly rabbit and runs only 90 minutes long. You can do worse.
The plot is uneven and forced at times, giving a mix of “The Santa Clause” and the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” films. The story is really all over the place, but it’s your only choice for an Easter Bunny movie for miles around, so expect to see this one cycled around again each spring.
The Blu-ray of “Hop” includes a DVD as well for portable viewing, plus access to BD-Live and the pocketBLU app. Special features include a bonus mini movie, “The World of HOP,” a behind-the-scenes look with Cody Simpson, “Emotion in Motion: The Dance of Ken Daurio,” “Russell Brand: Kid Crack Ups,” games and a look at the “Hop” premiere with Carlos.