Starring: James Corden, Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson
Director: Will Gluck
Running Time: 95 mins
Peter Rabbit is an American film about the story of a countryside rabbit and his friends, as they do battle with a miserly newcomer to the neighbourhood while trying to prevent him from winning the affections of their favourite resident.
Neither an expressly poor nor laugh-a-minute family adventure, Peter Rabbit is a middling mix of giggles and fairly generic storytelling. While it impresses with strong CGI and jokes here and there, the film lacks a unique identity, proving frustratingly formulaic and at times dull.
As a kids’ movie, however, there’s not much to complain about. Peter Rabbit isn’t a masterpiece, but there are far worse kids’ movies out there, with far more shrill, ridiculous and boring antics than this.
It’s a bright, energetic watch throughout, and with enough on-screen talent to entertain viewers of all ages. Its comedy is certainly simpler than the best family movies of all time, and it’s squarely aimed at kids, who will definitely have a great time.
The problems come when the film tries to be something a little more modern and memorable. As a generic kids’ movie, it’s far from inspiring, but it’s safe and easy to watch. However, it occasionally tries to push the boat out a little further, with Lego Movie-esque fourth wall breaks and self-aware humour that doesn’t quite land as it hopes to.
Rather than perhaps playing a little safer with a quaint atmosphere that plays into the legacy of Beatrix Potter’s original storybooks, Peter Rabbit too often tries to mimic current Hollywood trends, and falls flat on its face in that vein.
From its pop and hip hop-heavy soundtrack to unnecessarily modern sensibilities and jokes, the film is a frustrating attempt to play into modern trends, leaving its own unique identity by the wayside in the process.
It’s a real shame, because there are good laughs here and there, and with such bright energy, the film could have been a perfect blend of pleasant English quaintness and funny jokes, but it instead gets caught up in a frustrating tangle of modern kids’ movie tropes.
On the whole, though, Peter Rabbit is a fairly enjoyable watch. It’s not perfect, and often proves frustratingly formulaic, but it does have good laughs here and there, as well as bright-eyed energy and fun throughout. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.2.