Cast: Domnhall Gleeson, Rose Byrne, Sam Neill, James Cordon, Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley
Director: Will Gluck
A colleague said after the Peter Rabbit media preview that Beatrix Potter must be spinning in her grave.
Her original Tale of Peter Rabbit has been transformed into a sharp, mean-spirited escapade, using live action and computer generated animation for maximum effect. It works extremely well and the battle between the family of hungry rabbits and the farmer and his vegetable patch is vividly depicted.
The movie is set in England’s Lake District where Peter (voiced by James Cordon), his cousin Benjamin (Colin Moody), and his triplet sisters, Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki) and Cottontail (Daisy Ridley) spend most of their days picking on Mr. McGregor (Sam Neill) and stealing vegetables from his garden. They are friends with a local woman named Bea (Rose Byrne) who spends her time painting pictures of the rabbits as well as the surrounding nature.
Bea takes on a mother-like relationship with the rabbits because they are orphans. One day Peter accidentally leaves his jacket in McGregor’s garden and goes back to retrieve it. McGregor catches him, but suddenly dies of a heart attack. Enthralled, Peter invites all of the woodland critters, and then takes over McGregor’s old house.
Back in London, McGregor’s nephew Thomas ( Domnhall Gleeson) works at Harrods department store where he waits for a promotion. He coldly accepts the news about his uncle’s death, but is infuriated over not getting the promotion and is fired. When he learns that his uncle’s house is valuable, he decides to refurbish it so he can sell it and start his own toy store to rival Harrods. He kicks out Peter and his friends and begins to secretly wall up the garden, despite Bea’s objections. So begins a renewed war between Thomas and Peter’s family, with Bea stuck right in the middle of the feud.
Director Will Gluck may have forsaken the gentle world of Potter’s original Peter Rabbit for a more action-driven production, he nevertheless succeeds in capturing some delightfully funny elements. The interaction between the humans and the digitally generated animals is superbly executed.
It’s naughty – but fun.