Thanks to Sony Pictures Releasing we had the chance to see Will Gluck‘s Peter Rabbit before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the movie, but as usual, no matter what we say, we still recommend you to go and see it at your local cinema because there is no better critic than yourself!
One can’t help but feel that Beatrix Potter would be hopping mad at Hollywood’s attempt to bring her most beloved characters to the big screen.
Peter Rabbit is a sugar-coated family flick, which strays far from its source material and over-relies on musical montages, but still manages to charm through its live-action hybrid animation, and occasional clever sense of humour.
Those familiar with Potter’s books will recognise little of the quaint storytelling that make them such classics – as crochety old Mr McGregor carks it in the opening minutes, leaving pesky Peter to terrorize the uptight nephew who inherits his estate.
The film is packed with relentless slapstick comedy as McGregor Jnr and the animals face off for control of the vege patch. At times it’s quite dark for a children’s film, with characters electrocuted, choked and thrown off roofs, but judging by the reactions of the young audience the comedy finds its mark – with just enough sly laughs thrown in for adults too.
James Corden voices the sassy titular rabbit, exuberantly leading a cast stacked full of big-name talents, only a few who actually appear on screen; Sam Neill plays Mr McGregor, Domhnall Gleeson his nephew Thomas, and Rose Byrne his neighbour ‘Bea’. Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, Matt Lucas and Sia all lend their voices to bring Potter’s characters to life.
The hybrid mix of live-action and digital works surprisingly well, with the photo-realistic and fully anthropomorphised critters produced by Animal Logic (which brought us “Babe” and “Charlotte’s Web”). However, it’s the overly energetic and on-the-nose storyline which, like in so many mediocre family animations, lets this film down.
Alas, when it comes to adaptations of beloved stories, it seems Hollywood just can’t resist the dangling carrot…
Peter Rabbit – In Cinemas March 22