A serious mixed message
If you treat Hop as mindless kids' entertainment, it's pretty bland. The gimmick of replacing Santa Claus with the Easter Bunny as an annual "magic dude travels the world with presents for the kids" schtick, complete with sleigh, elves, and a secret factory, is cute, but the plot devolves into incoherence from there. E.B. wants to drum, but his dad doesn't understand. Fred (O'Hare, ha ha) wants to be a slacker, but his dad doesn't understand. The two pair up, have some wacky hijinks, then Fred decides he wants to be the Easter Bunny. Ironically, on Easter Island, Carlos, the Hispanic-accented foreman of the chick workers, aspires to be the Easter Bunny as well, but is told he can't because... he's a chick. David Hasselhoff fails to rescue his career by Adam Westing, then we have a showdown in the factory. In the end, E.B. decides he wants to be the Easter Bunny after all, Fred (whose sole useful contribution to the plot is eating through a licorice rope) gets to be co-Bunny, and Carlos is humiliated and has to help fly the sleigh. What makes this so terrible is the underlying message. "Don't try to rise above your station through hard work and loyalty, instead, be a dreamer and do a favor for an aristocrat." The villain is a Hispanic labor foreman/union boss who wants to rise above his station. Yeah.
Hop was a fun movie. No matter how you try to rationalize it away, it was hard not to smile. At its core, this film was about the tried and true 'finding one's place in life' theme, but played in a decidedly tongue-in-cheek manner. But then, any movie about a boy unable to nail down a job until he becomes the Easter Bunny, and the Easter Bunny himself becoming a musician is bound to be so. Very little deal is made of the many talking rabbits, with exception of the human protagonist. This gives it a somewhat surreal sense of humor that is the basis for a number of jokes. While it's certainly not new or revolutionary, it's a fun, enjoyable family film that manages to appeal to a wide demographic. The jokes range from crude but funny, to surprisingly clever or profound, and the characters are endearing through their flaws. If you're not sick of talking animal films, give this one a look. Also, the Pink Berets' theme was catchy as all hell.
A thoughtless kids film.
Hop wasn't anything I'd go out of my way to see but when I was dragged along with my familiy to see this film I was looking for a harmless kids film at worst and a film which gave a secular Easter mythos. I had my hopes up through the opening with the explanation of the Easter Bunny legacy, even the introduction of our human lead as the "first human Easter Bunny" wasn't enough to make me give up. The opening is the highlight of the film with a brief silent look into EB's and Fred's character. But then the Time Skip comes and it turns into mediocrity. Fred turns out to be a slacker who the film expects us to sympathsize with because he "has dreams" (no specifics just "dreams"). EB is a drummer who started as much more interesting, more of a concrete character with specific ambitions and goals (he wants to escape the legacy he was born into to become a drummer) but sadly he's shoved into the background for Fred to take the stage, and the interaction between the two brings out the worst of him. My big problem with this movie is that it gives Fred no traits we can sympathize with, trying instead for an Everyman. But the fact that the film's plot requires him to be the Outsider leads for huge Unfortunate Implications. Chick Carlos is given a motive to be the Easter Bunny, but he's wrong because he's a chick not a rabbit. But when EB let's Fred share power, there is little issue. The fact is that Fred is an American trying to integrate with two British Rabbits and that's fine, but god forbid the rabbits share power with a Hispanic Chick! Speaking of chicks, the film shows little respect for females. Fred's older sister Sam is little more than a plot device but after lecturing Sam about his irresponsibility she obeys the orders she knew Sam was following goes up and messes with her bosses CUTE (apparently) STUFFED ANIMAL. His younger sister, Alex is treated as an obnoxious brat for being proud of herself, and Fred's family is a jerk for calling him out when he insults and upstages her. The Pink Berets are a pathetic Faux Action Girl plot device, too stupid to tell a rabbit from a roast turkey an with no lines or character development. The film wasn't trying to offend, but overall it's a thoughtless kid's film which in its attempt to reach everyone, leaves a lot of people out and appeals to the Lowest Common Denominator.