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August 22, 2011
Hop Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
7/4/20113/8/2011UniversalTim Hill
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
VC-1DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1GJames Marsden

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Hop is a kids movie starring the Easter Bunny!

When you think about it, unlike Christmas and the numerous Santa Claus movies, there haven't really been many films about Easter and the Easter Bunny. At least, I can't recall any so that gives Hop a freshness to it. Blending live action and CG characters, much like Alvin and Chipmunks, this movie was released to cinemas in time for Easter, and has just been released on DVD and Blu-Ray, the latter of which we have taken a look at.

Hop tells the comic tale of Fred (James Marsden), an out-of-work slacker who accidentally injures the Easter Bunny, known as E.B. (and voiced by Russell Brand), and must take him in as he recovers. As Fred struggles with the world's worst house guest, both will learn what it takes to finally grow up.

Directed by Tim Hill whose previous credits include Alvin and the Chipmunks and Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (both of which combine CG characters with live-action footage), this movie is very much in the same mould as his previous efforts. With a runtime of only 95 minutes this movie runs at a fairly brisk pace and as an adult most of the enjoyment comes from the voice work of Russell Brand who is very entertaining. Other voice actors in Hop include Hank Azaria and Hugh Laurie. James Marsden doesn't do anything too exceptional as the main human character, and Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) is certainly under utilised.

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Kaley Cuoco as Sam O'Hare in Hop.

Of course as an adult you need to suspend belief to enjoy this film. Don't worry about how the rabbits get to Easter Island, how they transport a human there, how a rabbit can talk, perform on-stage and so on. But that's a lot of the fun with kids movies - they take you to an imaginary place. That's where the mind of a child is often just so much more fun.

So Hop isn't for everyone. If you don't like live action blended with CG characters like the director's previous efforts then you are unlikely to enjoy this. Still this is bright, colourful, and light hearted which youngsters will love.

It should come as little surprise to hear that this VC-1 encoded video is nigh on pristine. Taken directly from a digital source there are no dirt artifacts, and compression issues are kept to an absolute minimum with plenty of fine detail at all times which is aided by the 1920 x 1080p Blu-Ray resolution.

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James Marsden stars in Hop.
By far the most impressive scenes are those which take place in the factory on Easter Island. These scenes have more colour then I've seen in a film for much time (probably since Cloud with a Chance of Meatballs). Everything just pops off the screen and looks so magical - exactly what one would expect from a film such as Hop.

Listening to this track is also as delightful as the video as the lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24-bit/48Khz) provides a crystal clear, lively experience which utilizes the surround sound channels on a regular basis. Dialogue is crystal clear, and the soundtrack with songs from Good Charlotte, Poison, Hole, Yolanda Be Cool & DCup, and Cody Simpson.

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It's not all about the rabbits in Hop.
Other languages include German, Turkish, Portuguese, Dutch, Icelandic, Vlaams all encoded with DTS 5.1 at 768kbps while an English Descriptive Video Service is also included encoded in Stereo at 192kbps. Subtitles are available in all those languages as well and from sampling the English subtitles we're sure these will meet any needs as required.

Sadly, despite moderate success at the box office, and being such a recent release, the number of extras is pretty sparse and very lightweight in quality.

The World of Hop (9:07/HD): Initially looking at the list of sections here I expected something pretty meaty, but when each section only lasts a minute or two this is very lightweight. The segments featured included "A Look at the Candy Factory" (1:34), "A look at E.B." (2:02), "A look at Fred" (1:19), "A Look at the Easter Bunny" (1:10), "A Look at Carlos and Phil" (1:45), and "A Look at Sam" (1:17).

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Yes, here are three ninja rabbits!
All Access with Cody Simpson (2:28/HD): Cody Simpson, who sings the movies theme song, talks briefly about recording the song. Perhaps the most interesting thing for me was the Cody is from the Gold Coast where I live so good on him.

Emotion in Motion: The Dance of Ken Daurio (2:34/HD): Another very brief video clip which offers little to the value of the extras.

U-Control (HD): Universal's somewhat awkward U- Control is available in this film which sees some tweets from the characters appear on-screen during the film (admittedly some of these are pretty amusing, GPS tracking, storyboards and more. I struggle with this myself so not sure youngsters will get to grips with it too easily.

There's a target audience for Hop and a male in his mid-30's (that would be me) is certainly not it. Still there are some amusing moments, Russell Brand is pretty good as the voiceover for E.B. and adults may have fun with youngsters watching this.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Universal. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.