Two very different animated films top this week's DVD selections.
"Hop," Grade B-: A slacker (James Marsden) helps the Easter Bunny recover.
The film -- a blend of animation and live action -- has enough silliness to entertain young viewers. It's when the film tries to entertain adults that it goes down the wrong rabbit hole.
Part of the problem is the script by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio. It repeats a lot of elements from their "Despicable Me" screenplay: troubled father-child relationships, a crazed character's efforts to be in charge and a hoard of lovable yellow minions. A little more originality would have been nice.
"Hop" is like getting a chocolate bunny on Easter only to discover it's sugar free. It's OK -- but it could have been better.
The DVD is available March 23.
"Lion of Judah," Grade D+: If films were judged solely on good intentions, "The Lion of Judah" would be a success. The animated film is an effort by AMG Films to release a family-friendly film with a solid religious message. Good intentions aren't enough.
Except for a terrific soundtrack from Greg Sims, the film's a mess. The writing is a jumble of Bible stories held loosely together by a group of animals so annoying you'll wish Noah had left them off the ark.
The script by Brent Dawes is so thin it barely has enough moments to qualify as a feature film. When he's not mixing up Bible stories, he's padding scenes with long critter walks and annoying ramblings. If you boiled this movie down to its important elements, it would be shorter than a 30-minute TV show.
"I, Claudius," Grade A: A 35th anniversary edition of the magnificent series starring Derek Jacobi in his career-defining role is being released. It is one of the most popular and acclaimed dramas ever to air on "Masterpiece Theatre" for good reason.
The 12-episode series is based on the novels by Robert Graves. Jacobi plays a stuttering scholar who learns early to play the fool and stay alive during the lust and corruption at the height of the Roman Empire.
The DVD five-disc set includes a bonus disc with two feature-length documentaries, extended original versions of the first episodes and a new Jacobi interview. Siân Phillips, John Hurt, Patrick Stewart, George Baker, Margaret Tyzack and James Faulkner also star.
Also new on DVD March 27
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.