Review: 'Peter Rabbit': A heart-warming animated tale

 07 Apr 2018 - 11:39

Review: 'Peter Rabbit': A heart-warming animated tale

By Troy Ribeiro / IANS

Film: "Peter Rabbit"; Director: Will Gluck; Cast: James Corden, Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, Sam Neill, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, Margot Robbie, Colin Moody; Rating: ***1/2

Director Will Gluck's film "Peter Rabbit" is a live-action, computer-animated film based on the stories of Peter Rabbit, which was created by Beatrix Potter in circa 1901. It is an adorable, charming and heart-warming tale of the eponymous orphan rabbit who is once again calculating how to get into Mr. McGregor's garden.

The film begins with a quartet of singing birds ending up as victims of a hit-and-run case by an out-of-control Peter Rabbit. This overtly pesky slapstick sets the tone of the narrative. It transports you to the scenic Lake District of England where old McGregor the unrecognisable Sam Neill, is still tending his beloved garden and waging a war against all the intruders who, if given a chance, would have their way with his vegetables.

Refusing to take heed of the fate his parents met, Peter and his three sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail and his loyal cousin Benjamin, now living in a burrow within the roots of an old oak, continue to regularly raid the vegetable garden tended by the gruff old Mr. McGregor.

When the old man drops dead of a heart attack during one of Peter's pillages, the boisterous and high-spirited rabbit and his fellow woodland creatures do some serious celebrating. But the festivities prove short-lived with the arrival of the old McGregor's heir, his nephew, Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson), who is an uptight, fastidious former manager at London's famed Harrod's departmental store.

Thomas intends to sell the property in order to finance the opening of his own toy shop. But then complicating matters is the blossoming romance between the young McGregor and Bea (Rose Byrne) -- a kind neighbour who protects the animals at all costs. This ignites a kind of jealousy in Peter that takes the plot to a different level.

The anticipated, prolonged standoff ensures, paving the way for many repeated gags which makes that entire proceedings familiar and relatable. Humour is derived by the quick witted lines which are absolutely intelligent and smart. The tone is at times mean with many scenes that standout as shocking yet funny.

The moral of the film is everyone makes mistakes and we need to find a way to fix them. Thus, changing ones' attitude, getting along with others, telling the truth and being honest are few lessons to be learnt, here.

While Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne make a cute couple, it is the anthropomorphic animals voiced by an ace cast that keeps you fascinated. Leading the list is James Corden, he brings to live the quirky personality of Peter, with natural ease. He is aptly supported by Margot Robbie as Flopsy, Elizabeth Debicki as Mopsy, Daisy Ridley as Cotton-tail and Colin Moody as Benjamin.

On the technical front, the film is astutely mounted. The production certainly looks splendid. The animation is intricate and the canvas bright and colourful. The computer-generated images are impressive and captivating. They mesh seamlessly with the live-action cinematography of Peter Menzies.

Overall, the film keeps everyone hooked with lots of mischief, pranks and shenanigans by Peter Rabbit.

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