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Peter Rabbit 2

Peter Malone MSC  |  06 April 2021

PETER RABBIT 2, Australia/UK, 2021. Animated tale. Starring Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, David Oyelowo. Voices of: James Corden, Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, Lennie James, Ewen Leslie, Damon Herriman, Rupert Degas, Colin Moody. Directed by Will Gluck.  93 minutes. Rated G (Very mild themes and violence).

A couple of years ago, one of Beatrix Potter’s most beloved characters, Peter Rabbit, appeared on our screens, along with his cousin, Benjamin Bunny, his sisters Mopsy, Flopsy and Cottontail (who this time discovers jellybeans and the effects of a sugar high). The rabbits and various friends live on a farm which is now owned by Thomas and Bea McGregor (Gleeson and Byrne). Bea has written a book, Peter Rabbit, which is a commercial success and is preparing sequels.

So, this is a combination of animated characters in a live action film. And, they blend well indeed.

Peter can be somewhat mischievous, and Thomas has his suspicions, even misinterpreting Peter’s kind deeds to save Thomas’ tomatoes. However, when Bea discusses the sequels with her smarmy publisher, Nigel Basil Jones, played smoothly by David Oyelowo, they decide to see Peter as something of a villain. Actually, Peter is rather exhilarated by seeing the huge posters for the book, and is tempted to act the villain.

By and large, everything is going well at the farm – an entertaining array of animals from a foppish Fox who was persuaded not to chase the others but to go jogging to a rather slowly enunciating deer. And, there is a fine array of actors voicing the animals, James Corden repeating his role as Peter Rabbit, but including the Australian voices (the film was made in New South Wales) of Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, Ewen Leslie and Damon Herriman.

The live action focuses on Bea and her books. There are visits to the publisher, who uses his insinuating charm to get his own way and ideas, with plans to have Peter and the animals dressed in jeans, go to the beach, go into space… But, to our relief, these stories do not eventuate.

But, there is a lot of improbable action as the animals combine to use their skills to ward off their enemies.

The animated action focuses on Peter being beguiled by a sinister rabbit, Barnabas (voiced by Lennie James) claiming to be his father’s friend, but scrounging on the city streets, grooming Peter to participate in a market heist, the robbery of all the contents of the stand for dried fruits. Peter succumbs to temptation, persuading the farm animals to participate, which leads to pandemonium at the market. Of course, there is no honour among thieves.

Peter has to face himself and be humble about it, even talking to Thomas and Bea, so that there is peace back on the farm and reconciliation all round.

A pleasant, light entertainment.

Released 25 March 2021
Peter Malone MSC is an associate Jesuit Media


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