Movies: Hop ***
(12A, GENERAL RELEASE)
So far as I remember, there was very little talk of the Easter Bunny when I was a nipper: eggs arrived via the usual channels, they were eaten, nothing else was said.
The idea of a mediating rabbit was brought to America by southern Germans, and has radiated through the English-speaking world from there. And that idea is at the heart of this breezy children's film that mixes live action and animation with a certain amount of success.
James Marsden plays Fred O'Hare, a rather aimless young man who has never been able to get anyone to believe that he saw the Easter Bunny making deliveries when he was a kid.
He did, and 20 years on that Easter Bunny (voiced by Hugh Laurie) is about to retire from active life and pass his time-honoured role on to his son. But EB (colourfully and obtrusively voiced by Russell Brand) has other ideas. He has always dreamed of being a rock drummer, and, when his father puts his foot down, EB responds by running away from Easter Island (which is where the bunnies live) and going to Hollywood to find fame and fortune. Instead he finds Fred, who, after adjusting to the idea of a talking rabbit, becomes EB's reluctant companion.
There are several star turns in Hop, including cameos from David Hasselhoff and Chelsea Handler, and the voice cast perform with commendable energy, though I have a suspicion that the character of EB would have worked better voiced by someone less obnoxiously cocky than Mr Brand.
Still, the animation is pretty good, especially the sequences in the bunnies' underground egg factory, which is run by legions of harried chickens who should really think about forming a union.
Refreshingly, Hop is not in 3D, and I have a feeling that under-sevens are going to love it.
Day & Night