Blu-ray Review: HOP Is Sweet Family Fun!

HOP arrived on BLu-ray Combo Pack and DVD this week from Universal Home Entertainment. Tim Hill (Alvin & the Chipmunks) directed the this mix of live-action and animation from producer Chris Meledandri's Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me). James Marsden, Russell Brand, Hugh Laurie, Hank Azaria, Kaley Cuoco, Gary Cole, Elizabeth Perkins, David Hasselhoff, and Chelsea Handler star. 

The story follows Fred (Marsden), an out-of-work slacker who accidentally injures the Easter Bunny (Brand) and must take him in as he recovers. As Fred struggles with the world's worst house guest, both will learn what it takes to finally grow up. Families will enjoy this movie, but it is not on the same level of other animated classics. 

The movie begins with a pretty cool Easter Bunny origin story, which I wish would have followed throughout the film. Unfortunately, it soon transitions into following around E.B. (Brand), as he travels into the real world. This would not be too bad if Brand was not my least favorite actor. Brand always plays the same exact character, and I get sick of seeing it. We already have enough Adam Sandler's on the big screen as it is. 
The animation on it's own was very solid, but when it was mixed with live-action sequences seemed quite lacking. The Easter Island factory was simply amazing. It made me want to dive into the chocolate river and grab some of the candy through my TV screen. I loved the Pink Beret's, and wish that they had been in the film more. Brand's voice for some reason seemed off, but that could just be my impression. The best voices were that of Hank Azaria and Hugh Laurie. Azaria is so good with voices, that I would love to see him lead a feature film. 
Marsden and Cuoco likely signed on to star in this just because of the paycheck. I like to think that they chose the roles to do a movie for that families would love. I would much rather watch either of them in other roles. I can understand that Cuoco has limited options, and only can pick films that shoot during her off time from The Big Bang Theory. Marsden on the other hand should be able to choose better roles. 

As with many Universal discs of late, HOP has a bunch of extras. The better part of the features is the mini-movie that we shared earlier. I think that the two interactive bits of the "U-Control" experience are pretty gimmicky. The first feature is bothersome, E.B. sends you on-screen messages throughout the movie. Secondly audiences can track the underused Pink Beret rabbits that hunt E.B. There are also 18 minutes of featurettes that are pretty run-of-the-mill. Hank Azaria's and Hugh Laurie's sections were the best of the bunch.
Last year had so many wonderful animated films, but unfortunately HOP is not one of them. It is however, much better than the other live-action/animation film The Smurfs.  this is not one of them. Kids will love watching this over and over again, thus driving their parents insane. It is a shame that HOP is one of the only Easter films out there. 


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