“Blue jacket, no pants, you must be Peter Rabbit.”
Based on the books by Beatrix Potter, Peter Rabbit tells the story of a young rabbit and his family who fight off an evil farmer after being locked out of his garden. However, when the young woman who loves and cares for the rabbits becomes romantically involved with the new neighbor, Peter begins to rage war on the new man with a vengeance. The story is simple with a good amount of adult humor. For myself, I am rarely a fan of children’s movies, because they usually have no substance. Peter Rabbit comes in at the middle with its overall narrative.
The character of Peter Rabbit, I believe, evolves throughout the film. Peter, voiced by James Cordon, is a mischievous bunny who often breaks into the farmer’s garden to steal different fruits and vegetables. When the farmer passes away, he leaves his home to a distant nephew, Jeremy Fisher (Domnhall Gleeson) who shares the same ill-will towards rabbits and everything unclean. Just when the rabbits think they’re home free, Jeremy is in disgust at these furry little “vermin.” However, he soon begins to fall in love with Bea (Rose Byrne) who loves the rabbits without questions. As the two become closer and closer, Peter manically causes Jeremy much torment, dissolving Jeremy and Bea’s relationship in the process. There has been some controversy surrounding the movie and it’s bullying of children with food allergies. But before I get into that, let’s talk about the overall movie.
This film is very plain and simple, which is expected from a children’s movie. My biggest pet peeve with this film is what I thought to be Peter’s unnecessary sarcasm and attitude. For a time there, I wanted to root for Gleeson’s character and his effort to lock the wildlife out. I never thought of Peter to be mean, but this movie portrayed him as such, which I can only assume was for comedy’s sake. I guess you could say that Peter’s mean personality is directly tied to the food allergy incident. This crazy scene is not really as much of a big deal as it is being made out to be. When compared to what Peter does throughout the movie, it fits perfectly into his whole rebellious persona. But as for the other rabbits, greatly voiced by a great cast, they just fall in line with what Peter wants to do. I guess you can categorize these fellow rabbits as enablers, which then leads to further destruction.
The human characters are hit and miss, but enjoyable. Gleeson adds an almost slapstick like humor as the different animals constantly terrorize him. I thought his portrayal would incredibly annoy me, seeing that the trailers had him screaming in every scene, but I actually thought his character was quite funny. And of course, Byrne plays that sympathetic and carefree mother-ish type. She’s her same old self, but I did enjoy her addition of funny one-liners and more adult humor. I’m used to Byrne and Gleeson playing a certain type of character in their films, but in the end, they play charming characters.
It’s hard to write an in-depth review on a children’s movie, because I’ve never really enjoyed movies like this. And seeing that the studio’s key demographic are five year olds, it didn’t really appeal to me. All in all, this film is cute and does make fun of some of the weird habits that different woodland creatures have. Peter Rabbit is a decent film to watch with sappy lines and cute little creatures that will make you smile.
Directed by: Will Gluck
Starring: James Corden, Domhnall Gleeson, Rose Byrne, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, and Margot Robbie