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Peter Rabbit


Stars: Rose Byrne, Domnhall Gleeson, Sam Neill, Marianne-Jean Baptiste. Voices: James Corden, Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, Sia, Colin Moody, Rachel Ward, Bryan Brown, David Wenham

Director: Will Gluck

Rather a long way from the feel of the Beatrix Potter original, and closer to a Warner Brothers or MGM short cartoon, this animatronic/live action adventure from Australia portrays Peter (voiced by Corden with squeaky enthusiasm) as a rogue rabbit waging outright war with local market farmer McGregor (Neill) for the copious produce of his garden (carrots, of course, are high on the agenda).

McGregor finally captures the belligerent bunny and is preparing rabbit pie when he drops dead from a heart attack, leaving his nephew (Gleeson), just fired from his job in Harrods, to renew battle with the rabbits and their animal co-conspirators.

Meanwhile, Peter & Co are befriended by neighbouring artist Bea (Byrne), who is beginning to paint animals instead of abstracts, but does not know that her animal friends can talk.

Subsequent action develops along Tom and Jerry lines, with the resourceful rabbits, like the mouse, coming out on top. Their personalities, however, are not especially sympathetically drawn, leaving us half on the side of the hapless McGregor Junior, as he tries to rid himself of the pesky beasties, using everything from electric fences to sticks of dynamite in true cartoon style, of which Wile E Coyote would have undoubtedly been proud.

But the real Miss Potter (who is obviously the artist) would surely not have approved of such guerilla warfare.

Acting, from animals and humans alike, is on the sketchy side despite a distinguished cast, leaving it hard to discern just to whom the film might appeal: perhaps younger children who haven't read the books.

David Quinlan

Australia/UK/USA 2018. UK Distributor: Sony (Columbia). Colour (unspecified).
92 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 12 Mar 2018