For as long as there have been films, there have been cutesy animal films. Will this one stand out or will it fade into obscurity like the rest?
Synopsis: Peter Rabbit, the mischievous and adventurous hero who has captivated generations of readers, now takes on the starring role of his own irreverent, contemporary comedy with attitude. In the film, Peter’s feud with Mr. McGregor escalates to greater heights than ever before as they rival for the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover who lives next door. (Sony Pictures)
Starring: James Corden, Rose Byrne, and Domhnall Gleeson
Writers: Rob Lieber and Will Gluck
Director: Will Gluck
Rating: PG (Canada/United States)
Running Time: 93mins
For showtimes and more, check out Peter Rabbit on movietimes.com.
Children’s films have been a stale genre. They don’t necessarily have to be good in order for them to succeed because you can always count on children to force their parents to take them to theatres. They always seem to rely on the same checklist without ever straying from it which means that many films are more or less the same and simply dressed differently. This was the case here as this new film is pretty much the same as other children’s films in every way but instead features a bunny at the forefront. While it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s not a great one either.
This film glosses over Peter Rabbit’s (Corden) surprisingly dark backstory in favor of his rivalry with multiple generations of the McGregor family, the older Tommy (Sam Neil) and his great nephew Thomas (Gleeson). His motivations in pursuing this rivalry are questionable at best due to the lack of character development and make him mostly unlikable as a character. Both he and Thomas are interested in Bea (Byrne), a woman who lived next door to the McGregor house. Of course she liked animals and he didn’t which was the crux to everything.
Unsurprisingly, the film isn’t as funny or hip as it thinks it is with its mediocre dialog and the lame gag after lame gag it throws at us. None of it was new or original whatsoever and other than maybe one or two moments, the humor missed the target. Also, you’ve seen most of it in the trailers anyway. It’s obviously still going to score points on its cuteness factor but it felt like it relied on this a little too much. The bunnies and various other animals were definitely cute and the detailed animation that brought them to life was the best part of the film.
The acting was decent all around but suffered from the mediocre script and dialog, leading to some painful moments from the human actors. Byrne was okay as Bea despite her character being nothing more than a cliche that could have been played by anyone else. Most of the painful moments came from Gleeson as Thomas whenever he to deliver mediocre dialog, which he got most of, or was a part of the film’s lame gags. Other than those, he was fine. Corden was compelling enough as Peter Rabbit, however, he suffered from the mediocre writing just like everyone else.
Overall, this was a mediocre children’s film that doesn’t offer anything new whatsoever, not straying from the same formula used in other films. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it fails to execute this formula at the same level as other better films such as this year’s Paddington 2. It will still score points with younger audiences with its humor and cuteness, however, others won’t appreciate its treatment of the source material. Either way, it will surely be forgotten once the next cutesy character comes along.