Tuesday, April 12, 2011

TGD Movie Review: Hop

Pixar has spoiled us parents. The quality of their movies has kept us entertained right alongside our kids ever since Toy Story. In fact, I saw the original Toy Story before I had kids, so what does that tell you?

But the true effect of Pixar's exquisite animated film production is felt when you look at the competition. Other studios have been forced to step up their game. If they wish to stay in the race for the money you are going to spend at the theater in order to try and buy your children's affection then they, too, need to provide higher quality entertainment. This has spawned movies like the Shrek series and Despicable Me. They're no Up, but they definitely keep me from wanting to tear my hair out while sitting and watching with my kids.

This drive to produce amazing animated movies aimed at both kids and adults has dominated the market. Thus, it's sort of refreshing when a movie comes along and decides to ignore this model, getting back to the old Hollywood kids' movie format of the eighties and early nineties. Such movies seek to entertain only your children, stuffing in each and every pop culture reference possible like Poochie did so many years ago on Itchy & Scratchy. These films are not seeking critical acclaim, only dollars. They want to get your children to hound you for every piece of annoying merchandise that goes along with it the movie: stuffed animals, candy, sheet sets.

Of course, when I say this is refreshing, I mean only if you aren't sitting in a theater watching said film with your kids. Then it's not refreshing at all. Instead, you then find yourself looking at your watch and wondering how the train of respectable children's films came completely off the rails and why this piece of garbage didn't go straight to DVD.

Now, completely unrelated to that rant (or maybe not, you be the judge), I will review Hop.

I think Russell Brand is hilarious. Of course, he's not hilarious in this movie, but he is hilarious in the other movies I've seen him in and his stand-up really gets me. Had he done the CGI for this movie, I would credit him on how adorable the rabbit in the lead role, E.B., looked. Had he written the script, I would want to choke him to death. Seeing as he merely got paid a boatload of money to voice the main character, I will simply congratulate him on his millions, forgive him and hope he sticks to adult targeted vulgar comedies from this point on.

The best thing about Hop is that you will look over at your kids and take joy from their entertainment. You might chuckle occasionally, like when E.B. drops a load of jelly beans from his bum on the hood of James Marsden's car, or when...um...I'm sorry, I just can't think of any other times.

You definitely will not laugh during the forced musical number as Marsden and Brand (as E.B.) break into song and belt out I Want Candy. That part sucks. You also won't enjoy Marsden doing his best imitation of Tom Cruise's obligatory freak-out scenes from every movie he's in. I suppose the thought behind this is, "Here's a handsome actor. Won't it be entertaining if he seems completely caught off guard and spazzes out on screen?" The problem is, while Cruise does one scene per movie like this, Marsden plays that character through this entire film.

While I looked over to my kids and smiled at some points of the movie, reminding myself that if they enjoy it, that's all that counts, for the majority of the rest of it, I glanced over at my wife and hoped that she would find some way to end my pain. I even mouthed the words, "Kill me," but I don't think she picked up on it in the darkened theater.

Anyway, I could spend my entire day telling you how terrible this movie is. Seriously, I could literally spend twenty-four hours telling you how absolutely terrible this movie was. However, that would make twenty-five and a half hours that I wasted on it, and I'd rather reduce that number significantly.

I'll sum it up this way: If you don't mind watching terrible movies that have zero to offer in terms of any kind of message as long as they make your kids laugh, then you might be able to sit through Hop without being driven insane.

TGD Rating: 0/5 stars; kids will like it (don't they pretty much like anything?), you won't

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