The Sinister Philosophical Underpinnings of ‘HOP’-yes, the kids movie about the Easter Bunny
As the designated companion for non-adult movies, I was not unhappy to go to ‘Hop’. Russell Brand, short duration and discounted tickets – how bad could it get? Not bad at all as it happens. An amiable, if not particularly witty romp ( no Shrekking here – yes, that should be a verb now), but as it was winding down it struck me that there was more going on than a mere attempt to enslave children to the more commercial and sugar-coated aspects of a festival that had long since lost its connection to a Christian moment of martyrdom triumphant.
This was no less than an attempt to reinforce the ethnic, racial and societal status quo. A quick plot synopsis will illuminate. The plot revolves around EB, who doesn’t want to fulfil his father’s expectations of becoming the Easter Bunny one day – he would rather be – what else? – a rock drummer. So far so good, standard parent-child conflict to be resolved expediently in Act 3. Enter the chick – assistant to the Bunny in the candy factory, long nurturing hopes of taking over from him one day. But he is laughed off by the Head Bunny. Of course you can’t, he chuckles. You’re not a bunny. The next in line is my son. Reaffirming at one stroke the time-honored values of species-ism and nepotism. But what’s insidious is that because of the vacuous charm of the story, you find yourself agreeing – this is the way things always were, this is the way eggs should always be delivered. But why? By that logic, workers should not have a say in the allocation of capital. The son of a farmer cannot aspire to be a lawyer. And tradition once again squelches ambition, aspiration and logic. A bunny to deliver eggs? Really?
Obviously I’m over-thinking a little multiplex souffle, but then again, these and other such offerings from the studios are an important vehicle for values dissemination. so what are we telling our children? Don’t rock the boat and don’t ask for more than what you’re given?