Socorro movie review: Hop
Directed by: Tim Hill
Starring: Russell Brand (voice of E. B.), James Marsden, Kaley Cuoco
Showing nightly at the Loma Theater at 7:00 through May 6th
Just in time for Easter, Director Tim Hill delivers a film which could have easily been called "The Boy Who Saved Easter." Mixing live action actors, with computer graphic critters onscreen, I'm reminded of another film featuring animated characters, with live action actors: "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." And though it is not nearly as entertaining as "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," it does provide a light hearted jaunt clearly geared towards children, but with a few nods to the adults in the crowd. That's not to say it is without its weak point.
Tim Hill is a veteran director out of cable channel Nickelodeon, with his experience primarily in animation, which fits the bill perfectly for this movie. And it shows: the integration of the animated characters with the live action actors is very well done. The bunnies and chicks are great fun to watch, and are super cute, reminding me that this is first and foremost a kid's film. What I liked best in the film was the chemistry between under-achieving slacker brother Fred O'Hare (Marsden,) and his successful, well-grounded sister Sam (Cuoco.) Her soft spot for her lovable loser brother, trying to give him a dose of tough love, I found very entertaining. But, the one problem with this film lies clearly in its star voice of teenage bunny E. B.: Russell Brand. I can easily identify with E.B., who rebels against his fate: when it's apparent he is about to inherit Easterly duties, he disappears to the wilds of Hollywood to find fame and fortune. But, no one told Brand that just because he is a moderately successful standup comic does not mean he's a good voice actor. I found his spoken lines to be rote. I could almost see him with his script in front of him in the studio, reading the lines with a quizzical look in his eyes, wondering if he is breathing any sort of life into his character at all. To compare another recently reviewed film, Johnny Depp's voice work in "Rango" really breathed life into the CG title character, without overdoing it. You could tell he really grew into the character, and owned it. Brand did nothing of the sort with E.B. But with a strong cast and cute story supporting him, this is forgivable: the film is still enjoyable.
This really is a children's movie, but is entertaining enough to keep the adults happy. Even Brand's sub-par voice characterization can't derail the fun. This movie has good date potential, since it's light hearted and easy to enjoy.