Despite the early negative press, Peter Rabbit actually happens to be a great family film. Will Gluck has cleverly managed to modernise the storyline without really impinging on the integrity of the original classic tales.
In this movie, Peter and his band of merry rabbits including Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-Tail and Benjamin Bunny are in the midst of their usual battles with the dislikeable farmer Mr McGregor, with tensions flaring up on both sides. McGregor is continually seething that these ‘rodents’ keep decimating his pride and joy – his vegetable garden – while Peter and his pals think they are completely entitled to dipping in and out of this vegetable utopia despite their dad coming a cropper and ending up in one of Mr McGregor’s pies.
But the familiar tale soon comes to an end when Mr McGregor pops his clogs, and is ultimately replaced by McGregor’s nephew – an obsessive compulsive townie from London who plans to put the place up for sale immediately. Only problem being that the animals have moved in and trashed the place, while there’s also a particularly attractive neighbour named Bea, who just so happens to love the wildlife. Inevitably young McGregor and Peter face off and the rivalry escalates to unprecedented levels and with some hilarious results.
While maintaining the charm of the original stories, Will Gluck has managed to appeal to modern audiences with a fresh and contemporary take. He is aided by some quite wonderful animation, and a great cast. James Corden appears to be a bit like marmite to most audiences, but from someone who is fairly indifferent to the jocular Cockney, his Peter is for the most part fun if a little cocksure.
The rest of the cast give fine support in the form of Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley, Sam Neill and Rose Byrne, but the real star of the show comes in the form of Domhnall Gleeson who seems able to turn his hand to anything: from love interest (Brooklyn), to geek (Ex Machina), to evil overlord (Star Wars) to rabbit killer in the blink of an eye, and displays a wonderful sense of comic timing.
While this doesn’t hit the heights of say a Paddington, and let’s be honest how many films will?, Peter Rabbit is still an absolute delight and will be a firm family favourite.
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Cast: James Corden, Domhnall Gleeson, Rose Byrne, Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley Director: Will Gluck Writer: Rob Lieber, Will Gluck, Beatrix Potter (characters) Released By: Sony Certificate: PG Duration: 95 mins Release Date: 16th March 2018