Film Review – Peter Rabbit 2

Peter Rabbit 2 (G)

Directed by: Will Gluck

Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rose Byrne, James Corden

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

Beatrix Potter’s mischievous Peter Rabbit is back for more big screen mayhem, just in time to get youngsters back in to Australian cinemas.

Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) and Bea (Rose Byrne) are now happily married and living in their picturesque cottage in the English countryside, sharing the land and an elaborate veggie patch with Peter Rabbit (James Corden), his cousins and a variety of woodland creatures.

Bea’s adorably illustrated self-published book about her animal friends gains traction and the attention of big city publisher with the most British of names Nigel Basil-Jones (David Oyelowo), who sees room to expand the appeal of the characters by sending them to space and branding Peter Rabbit as the Bad Seed.

When Peter overhears this and believes this is how he is seen by others, he begins to act like it and falls in with the wrong crowd – a dodgy street group led by older rabbit Barnabus (Lennie James) who are planning an Ocean’s 11 style Farmer’s Market heist.

Peter Rabbit 2 dives deep into the theme of identity: how we are seen by others versus who we really are and, cleverly, whether or not modernising classics for younger audiences betrays its essence. Is it still the Peter Rabbit we all know and love if he is involved in an action packed car chase through the city?

Domhnall and Byrne are still a delightful duo (Byrne can do no wrong) with Oyelowo a terrific addition and director Will Gluck has a firm grasp on tone, with a zippy pace, heart comfortably on its sleeve and a touch of sass with a few winks and nods to the audience (several references are made to Peter’s irritating voice), catered for both children and adults.

I found myself chuckling consistently at the hijinks the characters, both animated and living, got themselves into during the film.

Often delayed due to Coronavirus, Peter Rabbit 2 possibly benefits from a bit more distance from the first, which in itself was a delightfully breezy Paddington-lite endeavor.

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