Review by DAVID SOUTHWELL
FILM | PETER RABBIT | PG
Undoubtedly for many parents and grandparents considering holiday movie entertainment/time-out the most important metric is how long a film will keep the kids quiet and in their seats.
Peter Rabbit kept my three-year-old and four-year-old hushed for the first half hour and mostly sitting still until roughly the hour mark.
As an adaptation the film is determinedly modern with lifelike animated rabbits and other creatures interacting with human actors.
There are, however, a few nods towards the beautiful water colour images from Beatrix Potter’s books that are traditionally synonymous with the characters.
The story also starts in familiar fashion with Peter Rabbit (cockily voiced by James Corden) leading vegetable garden raiding parties comprising his sisters Flopsy (Margot Robbie who doubles as film narrator), Mopsy and Cottontail plus cousin Benjamin.
The garden belongs to Mr McGregor, the gruff farmer who killed Peter’s dad. Just as it seems Peter will suffer a similar fate at the hands of Mr McGregor, the old man dies from a heart attack.
The farm is inherited by his nephew Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson), an uptight shop assistant working in the toy section of Harrods Store in London.
Thus the conflict is renewed between Peter Rabbit’s family and the McGregors, with the complication that Thomas begins to fall in love with Bea (Rose Byrne), the kind-hearted next door artist who protects and nurtures the rabbits.
Rated PG, the movie contains a fair bit of cartoon-style violence inflicted on real actors, which made me uncomfortable but was met with squeals of delight from the kids.
Along with slapstick, the film has plenty of knowing nods and jokes for adults, some a bit questionable.
The film’s early frenetic pace was enough to transfix my kids but their interest waned whenever there were more humans and fewer rabbits on screen.
In fairness, most of the older kids in the audience seemed happy enough to keep bounding along with this next-gen Peter Rabbit for the 95-minute duration.
Peter Rabbit was released in cinemas on 22 March.