Peter Rabbit – Film Review
Director: Will Gluck
Writers: Rob Lieber (screen story by), Will Gluck (screen story by)
Stars: James Corden, Fayssal Bazzi, Domhnall Gleeson
When Old Mr. McGregor (Sam Neill) is chasing Peter through his vegetable garden one day his heart gives out and he falls to the ground dead! Peter Rabbit (James Corden), his cousin Benjamin (Colin Moody), and his triplet sisters Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki) and Cottontail (Daisy Ridley) are not sure what to do. After an initial period of reservation, the animals from the locality descend on the house and start to have the party to end all parties. But their hilarity is to be short lived, as there is a new owner of the McGregor residence. Old Mr. McGregor left his entire estate to his nephew Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson), a city slicker who spends his days trying to achieve perfection in a London retail store of some repute. When he fails to get the promotion he so desperately wants, he has a minor breakdown. That combined with the news of his uncle’s demise means it’s the perfect time to spend some time in the peace and tranquility of the country. What could possibly go wrong?
This is a new update of the much loved Enid Blyton classic. In truth, other than the character names, the film owes little to the original story and is a modern take on the tale. This will be enough to annoy some viewers who want something closer to the stories they remember from their childhood, but it is unlikely the old stories would entertain the preteen market this film is searching for.
There is also the fascinating backlash the film is receiving for its (alleged) “allergy bullying”. If you’re not even sure what this term means, it’s due to a scene in the film where Peter attacks a man with blackberries, in full knowledge that he’s allergic to them. Australian group Global Anaphylaxis Awareness and Inclusivity (Globalaai) has set up an online campaign looking for an apology. Far be it for us to poke fun at this serious matter, but it does make you question what people will take offense at next!
Despite the troubles mentioned above the film works relatively well and is filled with well-constructed gags. The unusual thing about the humour is that much of it is aimed at an older audience and may be missed entirely by the younger section of the crowd! The interaction between the live-action humans and the computer-animated bunnies works very well and the film does look very stylish. Despite the largely lukewarm reaction of the critics, there is a lot to like in this tale of a thoroughly modern bunny. It may lack the simple charms of the original but if you’re looking for those, we suggest you read the book!