The beloved children’s stories of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter have gotten their major big screen debut. Starring James Corden as the voice of the rambunctious Peter, Rose Byrne as Bea a painter who looks after and puts Peter’s family in her work, and Domnhall Gleeson as the young Mr. McGregor who inherits the house after the old man McGregor from the books dies. Much like the previous, this McGregor also hates the wildlife in his garden and goes to battle with Peter and his family seeing the extreme measures he will go to to keep the rabbits out of the garden along with deceiving Bea.
We are introduced to Peter, a daring little rabbit in a blue jacket who looks after his little sisters after the death of their parents along with their cousin Benjamin. The caring neighbor to their burrow, Bea looks after the rabbits like an adoptive mom to them and also paints them as we see the drawings from the books in her studio… along with some of her more experimental art. When the old man McGregor (Sam Neil) die, the animals go wild having a party in his house and garden, seeing many of our other favorite characters from the series such as Jemima Puddle-Duck. The party ends when his great nephew arrives, a former Harrods employee known for his strictness and cleanliness. Now Peter has a new nemesis who is keeping him out of the garden but it angers him even more as Bea is falling for him and he hides his attacks and distaste for wildlife from her, a strong believer of sharing the land with the wildlife.
Combined with a lot of modern humor and physical comedy the film is enjoyable but at moments it had it’s cringes where it fell into the trap most children’s films do of stupid humor to entertain. The young McGregor invests in electric fences to keep the animals out, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle the hedgehog funnily tries it out and sprays everyone with her spines but it continues multiple times turning it against McGregor, electrocuting him far too many times where it’s not funny. As well with the jokes about his allergy to blackberries, just wasn’t funny making funny of something very serious for him. Overall though I did find it to be an enjoyable modern rendition, though many have not found it so for not keeping with the gentle Edwardian feel but I think the amp up of a funny rabbit who is growing up and the lessons they learn was a good story over all.
The film also stars Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki as Peter’s little sisters, Sia as the sassy middle aged Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and a brief appearance of Johnny Town-Mouse voiced by David Wenham.