Directed By: Will Gluck
Starring: James Corden, Domhnall Gleeson, Rose Byrne, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, Daisy Ridley, Sam Neill, Sia, Colin Moody
Peter Rabbit is a modern-day telling of the stories of Beatrix Potter. In the movie, Peter and his family live in a wooded area just outside the small British town of Windermere, where they spend their days sneaking into the vegetable garden of Old Mr. McGregor, or spending time with their human friend Bea. After Old Mr. McGregor dies and his nephew, Thomas, inherits the property, they face a new challenge in that Bea appears to be developing feelings for the young Mr. McGregor, which incites a rivalry between Peter and Thomas.
On the whole, this movie is enjoyable. It’s definitely more geared toward children, and they’ll probably enjoy it more than adults will, at least for the first 3/4 of the movie. The voice actors, James Corden (Peter), Margot Robbie (Flopsy), Elizabeth Debicki (Mopsy), Daisy Ridley (Cotton-Tail), Colin Moody (Benjamin), and Sia (Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle), all play computer-generated forest creatures who interact with Domhnall Gleeson, Rose Byrne, and Sam Neill’s live-action human characters, and Robbie’s Flopsy also serves as the film’s narrator.
As stated before, adults might have a hard time getting into the movie. There were times I found myself not rooting for the rabbits, and questioning some of the logistics of the plot, like why Bea, who’s so insistent that the rabbits and other forest creatures be able to wander wherever they please and raid the local gardens, doesn’t seem to have a garden of her own to provide for them. Toward the end, however, once Peter and Thomas have set aside their differences, the movie becomes more enjoyable and emotionally rewarding. Most of the animals who speak don’t seem to do it in front of humans, and much of the movie implies that the animal language isn’t even understandable to human ears, aside from a brief scene near the end in which one of the characters begins to question their sanity after hearing Peter talk. Children will love this movie, and while the parents will only have a handful of entertaining bits until the end, it’s ultimately worth the watch, just for the adorable ending.
Live action/CG mix is a difficult thing to get right, but animation studios have made great advances since the concept was first introduced. While the animals don’t look terribly realistic, they look real enough to not be an eyesore while watching. Aside from said animals and a series of explosions toward the end, there aren’t any obvious special effects, though I’m sure there were some used.
Ultimately, I would recommend seeing this movie. Your kids will most likely enjoy it, and there are a few enjoyable niblets for adults to tide them over until the end.
Peter Rabbit isn’t available to stream anywhere, but it can be rented from Redbox or Netflix home delivery service.