Jungle
Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit

Movie
Director(s): 
In Theatres: 
Feb 09, 2018
Grade:
B-
Running Time: 
93 minutes

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and the same mantra applies to films. Trailers, both good ones and bad ones, can often be misleading about the final film. Case in point; Peter Rabbit. I will be the first to admit that the trailers for Peter Rabbit are pretty grating, and I was worried that any charm the character might have would wear off within a few minutes. And while the film is far from perfect, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the film’s dark sense of humor and antics, despite how over-the-top they may be at times.

 

The ongoing battle over garden property between Peter Rabbit (James Corden) and Mr. McGregor (Sam Neill) comes to an abrupt end when Mr. McGregor dies of a heart attack while trying to catch Peter. In a brief moment of victory, Peter and the rest of the woodland critters enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet of vegetables before Mr. McGregor’s distant nephew Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) moves in from the city to fix up the property before he sells it. As it turns out, he’s much meaner and faster than his uncle, and even worse he’s fallen for his neighbor Bea (Rose Byrne) who absolutely adores Peter. She believes that Peter and Thomas could be friends, but it only causes things to escalate further in the ongoing war between them.

 

If you’re familiar with any of Beatrix Potter’s novels then you’ll know that despite being children’s stories they can get pretty dark at times with rabbits being baked into pies or squirrels losing their tails to owls. The film has its own comparable dark sense of humor. Thomas loses his job as the manager of a toy store after a breakdown because his inept coworker got a promotion over himself. His whole reasoning for moving from London to the countryside to sell the house is so that he can buy his own toy store right next to his old job and watch them go out of business.

 

I have to give major props to Domhnall Gleeson for absolutely committing to the role as he carries the majority of the film. Anything less and his performance would have come off as awkward and humorless. There are a few instances where the humor does go overboard and becomes repetitive, however. Seeing Gleeson get zapped across the room can be funny the first time but by the fourth it’s just redundant. A few ongoing gags is nothing compared to the mismatched music, though.

 

The worst aspect of Peter Rabbit is its strange choice of soundtrack. It’s this weird combination of both current and dated pop music, some of which has had the songs changed to better fit the film. Hearing Fort Minor’s “Remember the Name” with swapped out lyrics is one of the most cringe-inducing moments of the film. The music is just odd and never quite works with any of the film.

 

In the end, while I grew to tolerate the crazy antics of Peter Rabbit it was Thomas McGregor that I enjoyed the most. I will be the first to say that the trailers do not do the film justice. Of course, I’d take a bad trailer any day over a bad film. Thankfully Peter Rabbit ends up being fun for both kids and adults alike.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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