The new releases are starting to hit the big screen and if you’re eager to get the kids out of the house this is the one. ESP’s film critic giving Miller checks out Peter Rabbit 2…
First and foremost it’s great to see an iconic British storybook character igniting the box-office on cinema’s return – but there’s actually very little to see here that wasn’t done better in the first film.
The story, script and humour is all ‘a shade below’ the 2018 original, but it just about does enough to make a passable family cinematic outing – if very little more due to its ‘safe’ formula.
In fact, if you substituted the beloved Beatrix Potter-created Peter Rabbit – still superbly voiced by James Corden – for a less famous character, then this would have potentially struggled.
But set to the backdrop of some famous British country town/city locales this is still arguably just what ‘the doctor ordered’ in half-term week.
With Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) and Bea (Rose Byrne) now newly-married and having opened their own Beatrix Potter-themed toy/book store in the small Lake District town of Windermere – Bea gets a proposal from David Oyelowo’s ‘shady’ book and franchise-making entrepreneur Nigel Basil-Jones.
This takes the couple to Gloucester, along with Peter and his rabbit family – Benjamin (Colin Moody), Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki) and Cottontail (Aimee Horne) – to finalise the deal to take her book ‘global’.
But when Peter is tagged as a ‘bad seed’ with Basil-Jones’ company looking to grow and capitalise on Bea’s homely creation (to literally space and beyond), the mischievous bunny – feeling a bit of an outcast – gets embroiled in some underground criminal antics after bumping into an old friend of his Dad’s, Lennie James’ (The Walking Dead) veteran rabbit Barnabas.
But all is not as it seems with both Peter and Bea’s ‘plot paths’ in this part-computer animated adventure – and individually they must eventually put family first to save the day.
And that’s about it. Enjoyably British, but the story lacks any real invention.
But at the end of the day my son loved it – and if the target audience is satisfied then that’s the main box ‘checked off’.
Even though in that laid half the problem with it. With the trailer for the movie being shown for well over a year-and-a-half since way before Covid, my seven-year-old couldn’t work out if he’d seen this before – as the trailer for Peter Rabbit 2 was meshed with memories of Peter Rabbit 1.
So even though this is a perfectly serviceable carrot-chomping movie experience – you’ve probably already seen all the best bits in the trailer.
And it’s also just a little bit criminal that Disney’s Raya and The Last Dragon is a far superior film – but won’t get even a tenth of the audience.
But if you’re a fan of Peter – with James Corden’s voice yet again being far and away the winning ‘ingredient’ – then hop to it.
ESP Rating: 3/5
Showcase Cinema De Lux, Peterborough
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Rose Byrne, David Oyelowo & The Voices Of James Corden, Elizabeth Debicki, Margot Robbie, Aimee Horne, Ewen Leslie, Colin Moody, Sia, Lennie James, Hayley Atwell & Sam Neill
Running Time: 1 Hr 33 Mins
Director: Will Gluck