Peter Rabbit (James Corden), his cousin Benjamin Bunny (Colin Moody) and his sisters Cottontail (Daisy Ridley), Flopsy (Margot Robbie) and Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki) spend their days tormenting farmer Joe McGregor (Sam Neill), the man who killed their parents. Creeping into his garden to steal vegetables, the rabbits are almost caught and Peter is forced to leave his jacket behind. When he goes back to retrieve it, Peter is captured by McGregor but the farmer has a heart attack and drops dead allowing him to get his jacket and escape. Painter Bea (Rose Byrne) who lives next door to McGregor, tries to become friendly with McGregor’s nephew Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) who inherits the property but his hatred of animals drives a wedge between them, and the rabbits wage war against him.
It’s always difficult when you bring a beloved property to the big screen, especially one with the history and huge fanbase that Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit has. When the first trailer for the film was released, fans were up in arms and quick to denounce the film as a flop. That couldn’t be any further from the truth as the film went on to make over $350 million at the global box office and there’s a sequel now in the works. Critics were also much kinder to it than anyone was expecting.
As someone who grew up on Peter Rabbit, I was a little hesitant about the film. I was worried they film-makers may have stripped away too much of the essence of Potter’s characters. Thankfully that isn’t the case at all and Peter Rabbit is actually an enjoyable romp that the whole family can watch together. The cheekiness of Peter is perfectly captured by James Corden who voices the character, and the star power that provides the voices of the various animals does a stellar job, especially Margot Robbie as Peter’s sister Flopsy.
The central premise means you’re treated to plenty of mischief and mayhem. Following the death of McGregor, Peter and all of his friends move into the temporarily empty house and wreak havoc. Bea is completely oblivious to how badly behaved the animals are, which adds to the fun, especially once Thomas turns up.
The animation looks wonderful and you really can lose yourself in the world that director Will Gluck has created. Rose Byrne and Domhnall Gleeson give strong performances as the two humans in the centre of the animal madness. Byrne is always worth watching and she brings her pitch perfect comedy timing to the film. Gleeson revels in playing a wide-eyed highly strung villain of sorts and he has a brilliant chemistry with Byrne.
Special features on the Blu-ray release include a Shake Your Cottontail Dance Along to the song I Promise You, a behind-the-scenes look at the film titled Peter Rabbit: Mischief in the Making and the mini-movie Flopsy Turvy focusing on Peter’s triplet sisters. They add a little extra value and kids especially will love the Dance Along.
Peter Rabbit is a much better film than I was expecting it to be. It’s a hugely enjoyable film for the whole family and it’s one that demands repeat viewings. The team behind the film have crafted 95 minutes of pure escapism that pays loving homage to Potter’s iconic characters and breathes new life into them for a new audience. What more can you ask for?
Cast: James Corden, Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, Sam Neill, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, Margot Robbie, Colin Moody Director: Will Gluck Writers: Rob Lieber, Will Gluck Certificate: PG Duration: 95 mins Released by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Release date: 23rd July 2018