“The Reign of the Bunny is Over” aka “A tale of two slackers trying to find themselves”
For me the benchmark of animated characters meets live action is Who Framed Roger Rabbit? These sort of ventures are hit and misses, because for every Roger Rabbit, there’s a Space Jam. So continue in the tradition of his cartoon/live action movies Alvin and the Chipmunks and Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, director Tim Hill brings us Hop. Animated by Illumination, the group that brought us Despicable Me, Hop is a buddy movie teaming up slacker Fred O’Hare (James Marsden) and dodging his familial duties, E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand).
Fred lives with his parents (Gary Cole and Elizabeth Perkins) while he attempts to find himself and figure out what he wants to do with his life. E.B. escapes his hidden retreat on Easter Island where the family business has been to serve as the Easter Bunny. There are a lot of Willy Wonky-esque goings on, but E.B.—not ready to take on the responsibility of being the Easter Bunny—simply wants to pursue his interest in being a drummer. The two meet in L.A. and hijinks ensue.
For some, this is the first salvo in a “War on Easter.” After all, the movie explores the essentially blank slate of the mythology surrounding Easter and the Easter Bunny much in the same way Santa Claus is associated with Christmas. But it’s hard to get too worked up over a movie so innocuous which turns on the machinations of a power mad chick (Hank Azaria) and our protagonist avoiding the a trio of highly trained girl bunnies, aka the “Pink Berets,” retrieval team.
“You have an aura of untapped potential.” –EB
The theme of the movie revolves around the idea of personal destiny. The question of what you want to do with your life can prove daunting. For some it’s a matter of finding your calling, following your passions, and figuring out what you’re called to do. But not everyone is on board with your dreams. As parents are sometimes wont to do, E.B.’s father called his dreams ridiculous. For others, they run from their calling. Like E.B., they may worry “What if I blow it?”, not wanting to let other people’s expectations down or otherwise being afraid to live into who they are.
Sometimes correcting this, or getting unstuck in life, is a matter of getting our identity straight; becoming secure in who we are. We are known by God. We are loved by God. Yet we don’t always believe that and don’t always see how it plays out in our lives. When our faith can’t get traction in our lives, we become stuck. We misplace our identity, things get shifted, then our priorities change. We want comfort, personal happiness, and the right relationship with that special someone rather than being a living billboard for God’s glory and love. We end up not living up to our potential like we should, thus we need to keep being reminded of our true identity: we’re children of God, known for exactly who we are, and loved anyway!
I’m not going to lie: I found Hop mildly irritating in its cloying, saccharine nature, though it had a few clever moments. But I can be a bit of a curmudgeon. My co-reviewer, in this case my youngest son (age 8 – because my oldest, at all of 9, felt too old for Hop), found it mildly amusing, “but not as funny as the person next to us.” Of course, he then burst out in his own rendition of “I Want Candy” from the movie and recreated moments of E.B.’s silliness all the way home.