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Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit: Where Did All the Laughs Go?

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  • Domhnall GleesonFayssal Bazzi...
  • Action & AdventureAnimation
  • Will Gluck
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Cairo 360
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Peter Rabbit: Where Did All the Laughs Go?

Mischievous rabbits running around, James Corden, and an animated classic children’s tale. The stage should be set for a lovable feature with popcorn-spitting laughter. Unfortunately, Peter Rabbit was only able to muster up a couple of giggles.

The film is based on a story by author Beatrix Potter; it did, however, stray from its original source. Peter Rabbit is about a rivalry between a family of rabbits and old man McGregor (Sam Neill); the family of rabbits is always trying to steal from McGregor’s garden. The protagonist of the story and the head of the rabbit family is Peter (James Corden): an entitled reckless rabbit who leads his three sisters and cousin/sidekick into a war against McGregor. After McGregor passes away, the rivalry continues between them and McGregor’s great nephew Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson). Indeed, the rivalry between Peter and Thomas escalates, and starts to involve their lack of willingness to share the love for their sweet neighbour Bea (Rose Byrne); this leads the adversaries to extreme and unflattering measures. Theoretically the film should work, but in reality, it is mediocre at best.

Firstly, while the animation depicts the rabbits as extremely cute, the rabbit characters’ faces should have been much more distinct and personalised, so as to help audiences establish a more genuine connection. Second is Peter’s major character flaw – his selfishness- was taken a bit too far; this made Peter fall somewhere between lovable and narcissistic, without actually being the embodiment of either. Peter Rabbit also copied scenes and sequences from Alvin and the Chipmunks

What works well, however, is the film’s non-animated characters; Domhnall Gleeson nailed his role as a neurotic man, who is not all bad on the inside. Gleeson is funny, likable and relatable. Rose Byrne’s portrayal of Bea was also extremely charming, and incredibly endearing; she truly is the personification of a sweet neighbour. 

James Corden, on the other hand, did not measure up to audience’s expectations because he was not given enough room to show his personality, and even when he did, it did not really seem to fit Peter’s character. The other rabbit characters were not too bad, but they did not have the opportunity to shine. 

Thanks to Gleeson, Byrne, and the cuteness of the rabbits, the film was not a major flop. Is it the next Alvin and the Chipmunks? Definitely not, even though it tries.


Like This? Try

Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007), Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel  (2009), Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011) , Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip (2015), Ice Age (2002), Happy Feet (2006). 

360 Tip

Walt Disney in the 1930s initially considered doing an adaption of Peter Rabbit after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), but Beatrix Potter turned down the offer.

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