Entertainment » Movies

Peter Rabbit

by David Foucher
EDGE Publisher
Friday Feb 9, 2018
'Peter Rabbit'
'Peter Rabbit'  

Ah, CGI animated children's book adaptations in the modern age. There are plenty of them, and the pitter patter of critics' responses generally goes like this: the filmmakers ruined the original books for generations to come. No doubt hundreds of movie critics who hastily re-read Beatrix Potter's original Peter Rabbit books prior to screening the film in dark, empty theatres at 2 o'clock in the afternoon are whittling their pencils (rather, word processors) in gleeful preparation of taking Will Gluck's cinematic version of Peter right to the fur cleaners.

They probably didn't watch the film with kids, though.

I took my 5-year-old daughter and her best friend; not surprisingly, they adored this hilarious take on fuzzy bunnies squaring off against curmudgeonly farmers bent on keeping animals away from their tasty gardens. And, sitting next to a youngster wearing floppy ears she got at the snack stand, I lost track of my sarcasm and laughed and clapped along with her. Maybe that makes me closer in spirit to a little girl than a middle-aged film reviewer. Good. The world could use some fun right about now.

That might never have worked had the filmmakers and cast not brought their A-game to the flick. This irreverent comedy gets most of its zing from James Cordon, who voices Peter Rabbit with all the guts and irreverence for which he's famous. Joined by Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley as Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, this warren is stuffed full of hilarious characters who emote as powerfully as they send audiences into side-splitting laughter. Fortunately, live actors Domhnall Gleeson (trading his First Order hat for goofball fish-out-of-water city boy turned farmer) and Rose Byrne (the beautiful, bunny-loving next door neighbor for whose favor Peter and Gleeson's farmer square off) are also up to the task of sparring with CGI animals. They're both whimsical, funny and endearing (which, for Gleeson, is quite a change of pace, and hysterically ironic if you consider one of the bunnies he's trying to extinguish is voiced by Ridley, who plays the First Order's biggest thorn Rey).

The CGI never lets you down, and the comedy never lets up. Both aspects work admirably in Gluck's hands, and he's able (despite his Yank origins) to deliver quite a lot of quirky British humor along the way. The soundtrack might feel like it's been pulled out of the wrong hat (sorry) given its contemporary flair and from a morality point of view we're barely peeling away the outermost part of the carrot (see what I did there?), but this Rabbit is far from a bad egg (oops). In fact, it's totally worth hopping out to see.

OK, I'm done now.

Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit and his three sisters -- Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail -- enjoy spending their days in Mr. McGregor's vegetable garden. When one of McGregor's relatives suddenly moves in, he's less than thrilled to discover a family of rabbits in his new home. A battle of wills soon breaks out as the new owner hatches scheme after scheme to get rid of Peter -- a resourceful rabbit who proves to be a worthy and wily opponent.

Info

Runtime :: 95 mins
Release Date :: Feb 09, 2018
Language :: Silent
Country :: United Kingdom

Cast

Voice of Peter Rabbit :: James Corden
Voice of Mr. Tod :: Fayssal Bazzi
Mr. Jeremy Fisher/Mr. Thomas McGregor :: Domhnall Gleeson
Voice of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle :: Sia
Voice of Benjamin Bunny :: Colin Moody
Old Mr. McGregor/Tommy Brock :: Sam Neill
Voice of Flopsy/The Narrator :: Margot Robbie
Voice of Mopsy :: Elizabeth Debicki
Voice of Cotton-Tail :: Daisy Ridley
Bea/Jemima Puddle-Duck :: Rose Byrne
Voice of Pigling Bland :: Ewen Leslie
Harrods Worker -- Janelle :: Natalie Dew
Harrods Worker -- Siobhan :: Terenia Edwards
General Manager :: Marianne Baptiste
Bannerman :: Gareth Davies
Harrods Security :: Vauxhall Jermaine
Harrods Security :: Tom Greaves
Voice of London Street Rat :: Alexandra Gluck
Voice of London Street Rat :: Taryn Gluck
Postman :: Sam Haft
Taxi Driver -- Betty :: Sacha Horler
Voice of JW Rooster II :: Will Reichelt

Crew

Director :: Will Gluck
Screenwriter :: Rob Lieber
Screenwriter :: Will Gluck
Producer :: Will Gluck
Producer :: Zareh Nalbandian
Executive Producer :: Doug Belgrad
Executive Producer :: Jodi Hildebrand
Executive Producer :: Catherine Bishop
Executive Producer :: Susan Bolsover
Executive Producer :: Emma Topping
Executive Producer :: Rob Lieber
Executive Producer :: Jason Lust
Executive Producer :: Jonathan Hludzinski
Cinematographer :: Peter Menzies
Film Editor :: Christian Gazal
Film Editor :: Jonathan Tappin
Original Music :: Dominic Lewis
Production Design :: Roger Ford
Supervising Art Direction :: Ian Gracie
Art Director :: Damien Drew
Set Decoration :: Lisa Thompson
Costume Designer :: Lizzy Gardiner
Casting :: Nikki Barrett


David Foucher is the CEO of the EDGE Media Network and Pride Labs LLC, is a member of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalist Association, and is accredited with the Online Society of Film Critics. David lives with his daughter in Dedham MA.


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