Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hop [2011]

MPAA (G) CNS/USCCB (A-II) Michael Phillips (2 stars) Fr Dennis (1/2 star)

IMDb listing -
CNS/USCCB review -
Michael Phillips review -,0,1693439.story

Hop (directed by Tim Hill, screenplay written by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio) is a movie that gushes with sweetness and is impeccable from a technical point of view (mashing live actors with animation). But its messaging is rather "problematic" on all kinds of levels.

On the most obvious level, Hop is aggressively secular promoting for Easter what the Santa myth does to Christmas. The Easter Bunny becomes like Santa, the famous Easter Island out in the South Pacific becomes the Easter Bunny’s "North Pole," little chicks become the Easter Bunny’s "elves"/"raindeer." And the Easter Bunny travels around the world in a contraption which even looks like Santa’s sleigh, driven in this case by a flock of those little chicks, in order to deliver Easter baskets and hide Easter eggs for little boys and girls around the world.

On a stranger level, Hop has the bunnies speaking in English accents and the chick workers in Hispanic ones. The Hispanic accents sort of make sense as Easter Island is nominally under the jurisdiction of Chile in South America. But then a good part of the plot in Hop is an attempt by Carlos (voice by Hank Azaria) the foreman of the Easter bunny’s "worker chicks" seeking to overthrow the Easter bunny and "take over the Easter operations" for the chicks themselves. The reigning Easter bunny (voice by Hugh Laurie) actually functions like something of a King as there apparently could be only "one true Easter bunny" at a time. Thwarting the coup, the older regally accented Easter bunny then dubs his more "prol" accented son, E.B. (voice by Russell Brand) and his new found _American_ human friend Fred (James Mardsen) as the "co-leaders of Easter" thus to save Easter and presumably to continue to "keep the uppity Hispanic chicks down."

Now if you happen to be a Hispanic parent or grandparent, where Easter bunnies, etc were _never_ much part of your tradition anyway, and you just wanted to take your kids or grandkids to a nice kids' movie, you could wonder "What the heck is this?" And it’s a fair question.

To reiterate, self-evidently secular as it is, from a technical and even storytelling point of view, Hop is impeccable (reminds me of an Easter version of Elf). But it’s messaging is very, very strange and I’m not sure if I were a Hispanic parent (or child) what I would do with it.

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