Every now and then Hollywood takes a perfectly good tale and turns it inside out, giving us a new way to look at legends, and traditions. Sometimes these films miss the mark, but then you have movies like “Your Highness,” and “Hop” that are right on target.
Get ready for a new comedic experience in the ‘damsel in distress’ storyline in “Your Highness.” Throughout history, tales of chivalry have told of handsome knights who rescue fair damsels, slay dragons and conquer evil. But behind many of those heroes is a younger brother just trying to stay completely out of harm’s way. Danny McBride (“Pineapple Express,” “Tropic Thunder”) and James Franco (“127 Hours,” “Pineapple Express”) are back together as two princes on a daring mission to rescue the heir apparent’s fiancée before the Kingdom of Mourne falls into chaos.
Thadeous (McBride) has spent his life in the shadow of his older brother, Fabious (Franco), as the crown prince embarked upon epic journeys to inspire the people of Mourne. But when Fabious’ fiancée, Belladonna played by Zooey Deschanel (“Yes Man”), gets kidnapped by the evil wizard, Leezar, played by Justin Theroux (“Miami Vice,” ” Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle”) in order to fulfill an ancient prophecy, their father gives his deadbeat, hard-drinking son Thadeous an ultimatum: Man up and help rescue her or get cut off.
Begrudgingly (and without much thought) embarking upon his first quest, Thadeous joins Fabious to trek across the perilous outlands in search of his brother’s one true love. Joined by the mysterious Isabel played by Oscar winner Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”), a warrior princess with a dark agenda of her own, the princes must vanquish horrific creatures and traitorous knights before they reach Belladonna and save her from a fate worse than death.
On the other hand, with Easter just around the corner, Universal’s “Hop” is performing in theaters much better than first projected. This creative film blends state-of-the-art CG animation with live action, and is a very funny story that puts the Easter Bunny in a whole new light.
“Hop” is the story of E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand) the teenage son of the Easter Bunny.
Off the coast of South America, on the island of Rapa Nui fondly known as Easter Island, under the giant stone heads resides the most magnificent candy factory. Three hundred and sixty five days a year, the Easter Bunny reigns over a team of bunnies and chicks who prepare the candy-filled baskets that are delivered to children around the world on Easter morning.
On the eve of being ordained as his father’s successor, E.B. takes off for Hollywood in pursuit of his dream of becoming a drummer.
Once there, he encounters Fred, played by James Marsden (“Death of a Funeral”), a slacker, who is a disappointment to his father but is determined to pull his life together. After being lovingly kicked out of his parents’ home, he accidentally runs into E.B.
Feigning injury and shocking Fred with his ability to talk, E.B. manipulates Fred into providing him shelter.
Meanwhile back on Easter Island, the Easter Bunny’s second in command, an oversized chick named Carlos, seizes E.B.’s disappearance as an opportunity to plot a coup, and begins trying to change the holiday.
Ultimately, Fred and E.B. are Easter’s only hope for salvation, and they find themselves returning to Easter Island, locked in an epic battle to save the beloved holiday.
Marsden and Brand are joined by an all-star comedic cast that includes Kaley Cuoco (“The Big Bang Theory”), Hugh Laurie (“House”), Hank Azaria (“The Simpsons”), Gay Cole (“Talladega Nights”), Elizabeth Perkins (“Weeds”) and Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Lately).
Two great movies, with a hilarious twist; “Hop” is in theaters now. And “Your Highness” arrives Friday.
Gail can be reached at email@example.com.