REVIEW

Peter Rabbit

OR (We No Heist Without Pop Song)

Author

Kelvin Kantharaj Vincent




WORDICT

Meh!






ELITE METER
0
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BYTE THE BULLET

It's Peter Rabbit, but in a Fast & Furious universe with a killer soundtrack & a body count.

PLOT

It's Peter v Thomas: Dawn of Bea. Literally. Peter and Thomas go head to head against each other for Bea's affection.

“Rabbits are generous, honest, pure, graceful creatures,” observes one of Peter Rabbit’s primary characters—Bea, a quasi-fictionalized representation of its source’s author Beatrix Potter—and if I remember spending my formative years reading Potter’s source correctly, she’s not wrong. Except, this is Will Gluck’s movie. And the Peter we see here is—uh… he’s something alright. Ten minutes into the film and we’re thrown bang in the middle of a vegetable patch, where a heist (yes, a heist) masterminded by the titular rabbit himself is taking place, set to We No Speak Americano. The Peter here’s a troubling, borderline-psychopathic ruffian a la Bugs Bunny. He’s not kind to birds, scatters lettuce leaves like dollar-bills, and hosts a frat party in the house of someone who eventually ends up dead. If you thought this went from 1 to 100 real quick, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

The least we can say about [Rose Byrne] here is that she's... there.
The least we can say about [Rose Byrne] here is that she's... there.

Thomas—and the makers want him to look like the antagonist here—and his anger toward Peter really makes sense, if you break it down; if the first impression a “lovable” rabbit makes is to electrocute you and throw you across the room, you’d want to bring down the roof and break all hell loose. Now Gluck’s adaptation comes hot on the heels of the critical and commercial success of Paul King’s Paddington series—which is obvious, because who wouldn’t want to emulate the love audiences the world over have given the movies? But when an adaptation of a 19th-century children’s tale that desperately calls for childlike whimsy and heartwarming sincerity instead ends up having a body-count set to tunes by the top 40 alumni, you know there’s something not right with it.

I hop, skip, and bug.

James Corden stars in Peter Rabbit, a Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation release.

Of course, there’s the plodding pace and predictability; you know how the film is going to end—and you’re only halfway through. But if there’s any reason viewers might want to see Peter Rabbit through, it would be for Domhnall Gleeson. He has a fascinating tightrope of a role—waltzing between antagonist and protagonist, he’s got a lot to carry on his shoulders—and he’s fantastic. But what about Rose Byrne? Isn’t she great too? Well, the least we can say about Byrne is that she’s… there. To further the character arcs of the two man-children she’s with—quite the irony, considering she’s the fictionalized representation of the source’s author, taking a backseat in her world.

This dubious honor is also extended to the female rabbits— Peter’s sisters, Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki), and Cotton-Tail (Daisy Ridley) are reduced to bit parts—which presses us to wonder if the writers even bothered to do more in the process of adapting it. Don’t get me wrong; distancing yourself from your source material isn’t a crazy idea—and choosing James Corden’s reckless cockiness for Peter Rabbit is fine too—but all of that can’t make up for just how tiresome it gets (apart from the odd laugh here and there) when you’re in the thick of watching it.


VERDICT

Just—uh… rea- uh, read the book, maybe?

ABOUT
THE AUTHOR

About the Author

Kelvin Kantharaj Vincent

Facebook

Voracious reader. Passionate writer. Certified crazy. Relentless foodie.

About the Author

Kelvin Kantharaj Vincent

Facebook

Voracious reader. Passionate writer. Certified crazy. Relentless foodie.

About the Author

Kelvin Kantharaj Vincent

Facebook

Voracious reader. Passionate writer. Certified crazy. Relentless foodie.