review by Bobby Blakey
There are so many iconic children’s characters throughout history and each of them are slowly making their way to the big screen. The latest was the beloved Peter Rabbit that got the live action treatment with an awesome voice cast including James Corden, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, Daisy Ridley, Rose Byrne and Domhnall Gleeson, but does it capture the charm of the popular children’s story or should he have stayed down the rabbit hole?
Peter Rabbit follows Peter's feud with Mr. McGregor that escalates to greater heights than ever before as they rival for the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover who lives next door. To be honest I had little to no interest in seeing this film mostly due to the trailers seeming to just offer up another generic kid’s movie. I decided to keep an open mind and give it a shot and will say that I have way more mixed thoughts than I thought I would have. For those that grew up on the books or experiencing them for the first time this film doesn’t really keep up with that mythology outside of the characters and general idea. While there is the expected feud with Mr. McGregor that is over within 30 minutes of the film to set the tone for a totally different story.
I understand that they were not only looking to update the tale, but also worked better to have a younger person for Peter and the rest of the animals to take on so that it didn’t just feel sad. This aspect worked on some level offering up a lot of over the top gags and silly moments that are entertaining at times, but never do much for the overall story. It felt like the majority of it was literally just setting up for the next way to torment Gleeson’s character in violent ways. I was surprised by the level of real violence here for a kid’s movie. I am not opposed to this myself as it makes it relate more to an adult, but that is clearly not the audience. There is a death, explosions, electrocution, fighting and abuse of a known allergy that might have some parents upset with their kids seeing the film.
That being said if you can look at the zany fun of it all and that no one is actually hurt, outside of the one death, then you can find the laughs. This film was meant to be funny and heart felt and does manage to offer up both way more than I thought it would. The CGI worked really great with you believing that these animals were real outside of the clothes and speaking. This is the part of the movie you have to look past for it to work and if you can it is more entertaining than I was expecting.
If you are a fan of the books and Beatrix Potter’s artwork there is some great animated sequences that are a nod to that and elevated the movie a bit for me. I wish they had gone more traditional with the story, but this is what we got. This will no doubt entertain the kids and in reality that is who it is clearly for anyway.
This release not only includes the film, but a garden full of bonus content including a dance along, mini movie and featurette that takes you behind bringing this classic character to the big screen. Get in on the rivalry and grab your copy of Peter Rabbit available now on Digital and then on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on May 1st from Sony Home Entertainment.