Easter Special 2012: Reviews of “Hop” and “Hank and Mike” (both BD)

After not having found any time to write about more Christmas movies (next time, promise) I thought it would be nice to have a small round of reviews about the real Easterbunny-movies. Both Hop and Hank and Mike share the same premise, that Easterbunnies really exist in a working environment, only to different modes of presentation and outcome, the one being rated 0+ (only again the FSK think again in some scenes and maybe make up their minds if such a rating isn’t in itself illogical) and the other having a 16+ sticker on it.

Hop
(USA 2011, director: Tim Hill)

Animation is hoppening
Since Who Framed Roger Rabbit? there haven’t been that many good comedies around involving human and cartoon characters. Even though technology is more advanced these days, there are still some scenes which won’t dispense the belief that actors are actually talking to and with their animated counterparts. But this is a minor issue here, the same with some rather silly slapstick music.

Story, hop along
E.B., a wannabe drummer whose father wants him to take over his job as the boss of the whole Easter eggs and sweets manufacturing (they’re both bunnies), and Fred, a 20-something with no real purpose in life, but easy-going just the same (no bunny), make up for some interesting pairings, so do E.B.’s father Sam and his second-hand-in-command Carlos (someone of the revolutionary type). There are some other minor characters and the relationship between Fred and his family is done in a humorous way as well, even though it gets into sentimental overdrive in the last scene, which is a bit unnecessary.
There are some incongruencies at certain points in the story when E.B. is regarded normal as a talking bunny in the real world, but when he isn’t and has to be hidden by Fred, it makes for some pretty funny scenes. The whole manufacturing process of the Easter eggs and many other ideas are well realized as well and show more ingenuity than Despicable Me, which was done by the same producers and which I personally didn’t find that intriguing.

Hoppily funny
First I was a bit afraid (maybe even petrified) that this so-called family comedy (a big sticker on it said “recommended by [Family magazine XYZ]”) would turn out like that Michael-Jordan flick Space Jam which wasn’t really bad, but wasn’t good either due to its over-sentimentality and in-your-face-laugh-now-or-later attempt.
The humor is not of an intelligent sort most of the time, but in contrast to other comedies having more jokes in one minute which are more miss than hit, the ideas are all in all well-executed. Even as an adult you find scenes which make you laugh while probably the younger ones are just scratching their heads (Easterbunny at the Playboy Mansion, anyone?).Oh, and there’s The Hoff in it. I won’t say anything more about it, it is integrated a bit randomly, but like most of the jokes and scenes it’s surprising and funny.

A hopping experience
The idea of having a Bunny rocking out could have been developed one step further (like playing in a real Bunny band), but then again the running time is just perfect for having fun with the rest of the plot. What’s also nice is that no predictable love story is included (not for the bunny or his protegé).It’s weird though that this movie received such a low rating on imdb and being critized for being shallow. Maybe I should start checking out those Alvin & The Chipmunks movies as well as they were bashed the same way.
In summary all I can say is that Hop is a surprisingly fun animated movie to spend Easter with, kids or no kids present.

Rating: 8/10
imdb

Buy the BD on
Amazon Germany
Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Buy the DVD on
Amazon Germany
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

Hank and Mike
(USA 2008, director: Matthiew Klinck)

Easterbunnies Go Home!
Enough of that childish easteregg nonsense, this is more or less what Bad Santa did for Christmas, even though it’s more about the gross-out humor, and the social criticism lies elsewhere, probably retching in an alley nearby. This is not for the easily offended: Two men in bunny suits or rather what Frank in Donnie Darko implied why to wear a stupid man mask… Those are real hard-working easterbunnies, one with a self-esteem-problem (Mike) and the other (Hank) with more than just an attitude (drinking, beating up his fellow workers etc.). But it’s downsize time for the company which brings eastereggs and sweets to every household and kid (Hank BTW more than once stresses his inclination towards hating children and chocolate). So both bunnies are laid off and have to find a new job which fits their abilities of which there aren’t many.

Surreal hoppingness
There’s just something surreal about those smoking, cursing men in bunny suits without the usual cute disguise and make-up you’d associate with the kid-friendly season and one can argue that the characters are just there to offend everything and everyone, that there’s not much behind the story, except a smack against the corporate companies’ eggheads. This is true to a certain degree. Just like Bad Santa one is waiting for the next awkward situation the characters find themselves in, be it their different jobs or how they deal with their depression and alcohol problems.

High Class in the…
The social criticism falls a bit flat, and Chris Klein (fame from American Pie) sings better than he can act the tough money-grubbing executive who wants to take over Easter (even though the idea of advertising suicide as a way to make money is ingenously done). There’s also a love story which doesn’t really work which makes the runtime of just a little over 80 minutes at some points dragged out.
But even if not all jokes hit their mark and the drama suffers in some scenes because it’s overshadowed by gross-out humor, this is the next best thing you can do if you want to spend an alternative Easter, or to show the kids or your parents what it’s all about…or not.

Rating: 7/10
imdb

Buy the BD on
Amazon Germany
Amazon UK
Buy the DVD on
Amazon Germany
Amazon UK
Amazon USA

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About nufafitc

Being an avid gamer, cinemaniac, and bookworm in addition to other things the internet and new media present, I'm also very much into DIY music, rock and pop in particular. Writing short or longer pieces about anything that interests me has always made me happy. As both an editor for German website "Adventure-Treff" and UK website "Future Sack", I like to write reviews and news about recent developments in the movies, games and book industry.
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