Is the Rabbit Man’s Cinematic Best Friend?

The writers of Horton Hears a Who and Despicable Me and the writer of the Shrek spin-off, Puss in Boots, have been hard at work for the past seven months on a new cartoon character in I Hop. Led by Tim Hill, the director of Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Garfield reboot, here comes another hybrid vehicle of CGI and live action about a conscious-heavy slacker (James Marsden) who hits the Easter Bunny (Russell Brand) with his (non-hybrid) car, and his resulting moral dilemma. Unoriginal or telling?

An animated Easter bunny is the least of our worries. Russell Brand has proven time and time again that he can deliver laughs. But James Marsden? Nothing against him, but apart from singing and dancing or being a one-eyed mutant, he hasn’t been in a decent film lately (27 Dresses, Sex Drive, The Box). Is his rabbit fever an aftereffect of having just worked with Richard Kelly, the director of the cult-classic Donnie Darko?

Although Richard Kelly has no involvement in this project, the degrees of thematic separation here is rather interesting. Kelly’s rabbit, Frank, which tip-toed around the original rabbit-buddy, Harvey, touched on themes of time travel, vindication, and the now-typical outcast of an anti-hero. This idea of isolation and imagination is also common to all three projects, with the rabbits being inexplicably drawn toward the outcast lead, serving the role of friend/shrink/crutch, or even representing a part of his character. Is the rabbit the man’s new best friend, replacing the other age-old, dog-eared companion?

But will this latest film be kiddie fare? Or will it be the kind of animation that provides adequate support for Marsden’s character development? Will Apple swoop in and try to trademark the movie? Will Russell Brand echo past bunnymen or will he create something that’s new? Call it wishful thinking, but we’re holding out for the latter as long as he isn’t Roger Rabbit with a British accent and the movie’s female counterpart isn’t just a sultry cartoon character.

What relevant questions are burning on the griddle of your minds? Below, arguably the best scene from Donnie Darko and then two great examples of humans and rabbits living together in imperfect harmony.

Donnie and Frank: Talking Turkey

Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit