What happens when the Beatrix Potter’s classic carrot crunchers get transformed into state-of-the-art animation with live action? A cute, funny long distance cousin of PADDINGTON is born.
This adaptation by Will Gluck jointly written with Rob Lieber (HORRIBLE NO GOO, Very Bad Day) with all its acceptable slapstick routines and not acceptable violent turns like electrocutions, beatings with garden rakes, mini bombings (fire crackers) manages to please the kid in the audience.
The popular bedtime reading material for kids first published in 1902 still has its relevance. Peter, the mischievous but adorable rascal who believes he has the right over his favorite vegetables from the garden nearest his den. While the owner of the garden Mr. McGregor, is of the opinion that any intruder into his garden even if it’s a cute and generally harmless rabbit then it is his right to eliminate him. Where you stand it’s your choice as the cool and dapper Peter in those blue jacket and brown slippers comes to life on screen in this present-day England.
The nasty neighbor Mr McGregor (Sam Neill) has died, Bunny (voiced by James Corden) is at top of the world. Nobody can stop him and he is having a gala time in Mr McGregor cottage with his friends. But the fun for Peter aka Bunny is short lived as Mr McGregor’s mean nephew Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) has inherited his late uncle’s cottage and the same hatred for any intrusion in his garden.
The original short story gets some extra meat in the big screen adaptation where we see the now-orphaned Peter is accompanied by his triplet sisters, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail (voice by Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki and Daisy Ridley) and cousin Benjamin (Colin Moody). Of course the sweetness of Bea (Rose Byrne) in this English cake is added with delight. Bea feels for the rabbits and loves to paint them. Peter adores Bea while Bea and Peter try to be friends. Thomas hides his hatred towards Rabbits with Bea and a déjà vu of HOME ALONE is felt when Peter and his gang are against Thomas. Here the use of electric security devices and explosives as weapons comes as a warning for the kids belonging to the tender age.
Coming from the same stable (Sony Pictures) PETER RABBIT is no BABE or say STUART LITTLE but shares certain warmth with PADDINGTON. Charmingly mounted with state of the art special effects and animation, PETER RABBIT in spite of its flaws has its moments it doesn’t matter how routinely slapstick or the cliché slo-mo group gangster stroll from RESERVOIR DOGS it can be. As far as the songbirds that rap, tomatoes are launched as hand grenades and a quirky rooster is perturbed by his routine and demands a break, PETER RABBIT delivers the desired fun and plays to please the child in you.