Presented in the Miniminci section of the 67th edition of the Valladolid Seminci, which has made a strong comeback after two years of the pandemic; it was logical to think that ‘Hopper, the chicken hare’, the new film from the Belgian factory nWave Pictures, had a much greater background than one might think of European-style commercial animated productions. And, of course, this is the case of the film directed by Ben Stassen and Benjamin Mousquet, which becomes the studio’s roundest production since ‘The Magic House’which has become one of the most successful titles in the European animation industry.
Slowly, nWave Pictures has managed to carve out a niche for itself as an animation studio, being one of the main names recognized in Europe and achieving commercial success internationally., even in the US market, as happened with ‘Robinson. A tropical adventure’. Of course, this has translated into more ambitious projects. After the setback that was ‘Corgi: The Queen’s Pets’, although it was fun to see the recently deceased Elizabeth II of England turned into an endearing animation grandmother; the producer put the batteries.
And that could be seen with the sequel to ‘The Son of Bigfoot’, ‘The Bigfoot Family’, which managed to live up to its predecessor and be a remarkable animation proposal. Now, the factory adapts the graphic novel by Chris Grine, a classic adventure story whose greatest virtue is precisely its characters. Its protagonist is a strange being that is a hybrid between a hare and a rooster, hence its nickname. This singularity turns him into a ‘weirdo’, which provokes in him an accumulation of prejudices and insecurities that David Collard’s script knows how to portray with care and respect, always putting a didactic look.
Animation for all audiences
It is that didactic look that gives a greater background to this animated adventure, which has two other protagonists who are authentic ‘outsiders’, a turtle without a shell and a skunk that everyone avoids because of its smell. His message of accepting oneself as such and showing oneself with pride just as one is comes to fruition and makes ‘Hopper, el polloliebre’ a good didactic material to educate in cinema. To this is added an adventurous tone that evokes that of the ‘Tadeo Jones’ trilogy, plus the childish touch of the recent ‘Los Buscamundos’.
A family proposal that once again reminds us that the European industry also has quality animation, along the lines of ‘Fireheart’ or ‘Los Olchis’. Definitely, nWave Pictures has become one of the references in the European animation industry and it is to be applauded that they have managed to carry out projects that are constantly on the rise, which suggests that sooner rather than later that title will come that will put the factory on a par with Les Armateurs or Cartoon Saloon.
The best: His adventurous tone and his message in favor of accepting oneself as one is.
Worst: Actually, it does not tell anything new and what it narrates is very conventional.