‘Peter Rabbit’ will charm kids, not their elders

click to enlarge This file image released by Columbia Pictures shows characters Benjamin, voiced by Colin Moody (left) and Peter Rabbit, voiced by James Corden in a scene from "Peter Rabbit." - COLUMBIA PICTURES/SONY VIA AP, FILR
Columbia Pictures/Sony via AP, Filr
This file image released by Columbia Pictures shows characters Benjamin, voiced by Colin Moody (left) and Peter Rabbit, voiced by James Corden in a scene from "Peter Rabbit."

Film review

Kaylee Brewster

“Peter Rabbit” is not a movie for people who are purists of the Beatrix Potter books, as the film uses the story as a mere starting point and not a rule book. There are a few moments adults might enjoy, but it’s not a film for them. It’s a movie for kids who want a cute and funny bunny to steal their hearts as easily as he steals carrots from Mr. McGregor’s garden.

In the movie — a mix of live-action and animation — Peter Rabbit (voiced by James Corden) is facing off against a young Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson). Peter steals from McGregor’s garden with the help of his sisters, Flopsy (voiced by Margot Robbie), Mopsy (voiced by Elizabeth Debicki) and Cotton-Tail (voiced by Daisy Ridley), and their cousin Benjamin (voiced by Colin Moody).

The story further diverges from the original as the rabbits find a human ally in McGregor’s next door neighbor, Bea (Rose Byrne). McGregor and Bea begin to grow close, leaving Peter even more determined to get rid of him. So begins a series of escalating pranks as McGregor and Peter attempt to remove each other from the garden and Bea’s life.

The plot additions help stretch a brief children’s story into a full-length movie. Other contemporary twists in the script to pad it out include some modern song-and-dance routines by the garden’s critters.

Overall, the plot is predictable and dull. Jokes are repetitious and stretch out the punch line too long. Some dialogue consists of jokes forced into the story rather than actual conversation. While a few of those attempts at humor land well, most fly over kids’ heads.

Even though the jokes in the dialogue are lost on kids, the use of a plenty of slapstick humor appeals to the younger set. Children in the audience were busting up and giggling as McGregor got hit with rakes, electrocuted, punched, kicked and had vegetables thrown at him.

Another cause for hilarity are the characters’ facial expressions. Domhnall emphasizes and exaggerates every hit with a funny face. Peter and the other critters’ expressions also comically convey their emotions.

The film’s animation is an excellent mix of live-action with life-like computer-generated images. The animals are cute and cuddly — you’ll want to reach in and pet them. The animators depict realistic rabbit movement, but then occasionally go for something a little more spectacular for show.

Nostalgic parents and grandparents, this is probably not the film you hoped for. But you can dose yourselves with camomile tea and hopefully enjoy the enthusiasm of your kiddos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ittn4f0Em4

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