In 1902 an aspiring author by the name of Beatrix Potter hoped to make a name for herself with the release of her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The rest, as they say, is history. She went on to become an extremely accomplished author, while The Tale of Peter Rabbit has gone on to become one of the best-selling books of all time. Retold many times in various formats, this well-known story is about to receive yet another rebirth. Will Gluck directs the animated Peter Rabbit, with strong aspirations that the timeless tale can capture the imaginations of an entirely new generation.
Peter (voiced by James Corden) has always been at odds with Old Mr. McGregor (Sam Neill). Upon the old man’s death, Peter and his furry friends find the briefest of peace UNTIL an even more formidable foe moves in for the kill. Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson), a man obsessed with tidiness and a vermin-free environment apparently, moves into the recently vacated home. Almost immediately he and Peter have an altercation which carries on and escalates to a boiling point. To complicate matters even further, the two characters end up competing for the attention of Bea (Rose Byrne), lover of animals and quite the catch for any guy with half a brain. By the time all is said and done, both sides will find out just how immature they’ve been acting and that there’s a better solution to be had.
Peter Rabbit finds itself in a precarious position. This is a story that is intended for children of a young age but those types of movies have a difficult time finding success. Will Gluck’s version of the Beatrix Potter classic toes a line that is going to most likely have some parents slightly hesitant to expose their youngest ones to this type of subject matter. Just few things that parents may want to consider are that there is death and some of the jokes walk on the more mature side of the streets. There’s nothing egregious, it’s just that children’s movies in today’s time tend to avoid this type of subject matter.
The voice acting is well represented with the likes of James Corden, Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley and Sia. On the “human” side of things we have both Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne bringing balance to this story. Gleeson is very entertaining in a silly kind of way, very unlike his most recent works (Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and Star Wars: The Last Jed (2017)). His physicality is what sells his character. Corden is also decent but again, some of his antics may not play well to younger audiences.
Peter Rabbit is an average movie with a decent soundtrack and some good laughs. Children should enjoy this for the most part, as will the parents. There’s a little something for everyone so it shouldn’t feel like a chore and you’ve just thrown away 90 minutes of your life. The soundtrack brings a modern feel that feeds into the fun you’re seeing on screen. The animation is well done and the colors are so vivid they just want to pop off of the screen. This classic tale of a rebellious rabbit should provide some family fun in the theaters for kids from 3 to 93. Check it out today.