Theatre & Reviews

Peter Rabbit, the review

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.

 

 

 

About the author

Peter Feldman

Peter has been a journalist and arts critic for almost 50 years and served on The Star in various capacities for 35 years, ending up as a specialist writer on films, music and theatre. During that time he travelled extensively on assignments and interviewed many international film and pop stars, both in South Africa and overseas. He also covered some of South Africa's biggest film and musical events. He was one of only two South African journalists to be invited by Steven Spielberg to the Hook film junket in LA in 1991 where he interviewed the famous director as well as Dustin Hoffman and the late Robin Williams. He attended the gala James Bond premiere in London in 1981 and did an iconic interview in a Rolls Royce with Roger Moore who played Bond. He spent a week touring England with Queen prior to their Sun City visit in 1983, interviewed a host of international stars on films sets in Hollywood and London and was the first local journalist to nail an interview with The Rolling Stones prior to their SA visit in 1995.
He is active in the freelance field and his work has appeared in a variety of South African newspapers and magazines. He has also worked on TV and radio (ChaiFM 101.9) in his specialist capacity. Over the years Feldman has been the recipient of several awards for his contribution to music journalism and the SA record industry. He is a recent recipient of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz award in recognition for his long standing journalistic support for the arts. He wrote lyrics for some top artists, including Sipho Mabuse, and had a hit disco single, "Video Games," which was released in 1988. He coined the phrase "Local is Lekker" which he used in his columns in The Star Tonight and broadcast in the 70s on David Gresham's popular afternoon show on Springbok Radio.

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