Peter Rabbit: Movie Review
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Peter Rabbit is not your grandparents' Peter Rabbit. It's a modernized, live action comedy that updates the beloved Tales of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter with lots of slapstick comedy.
The movie opens with four flying birds signing about following your dreams, like something out of Snow White. They get knocked to the ground, and a female narrator says, "This is not that kind of story."
Cut to Peter Rabbit, his three sisters and their cousin, Benjamin Bunny. Peter Rabbit tells the others he's going to sneak into Farmer McGregor's garden to steal some food, even though McGregor is nearby mowing his lawn. Benjamin warns Peter not to go, but Peter goes anyway, and Benjamin follows because that is his character flaw, as Peter tells everyone.
Farmer McGregor, however, hears Peter and tries to go after him with a rake. Peter escapes, but he goes back again, and this time McGregor catches him. Peter struggles, but McGregor takes him by the ears and starts toward his house to make a rabbit pie. Just then, Farmer McGregor suffers a heart attack and dies. With no one to stop them, the rabbits and all the local wildlife invade McGregor's house and have a party eating the farmer's food.
Switch to London. Farmer McGregor's nephew, Thomas, who works in Harrods toy department, learns he's inherited his uncle's farm, but he hates the country. Thomas also learns he's been passed over for a job promotion because the boss can give the job to his own nephew. Thomas goes berserk in the store and gets fired, but he decides he will go the country, sell his uncle's farm and open his own toy store right next to Harrods.
When Thomas shows up at the farm, Peter thinks Thomas will be nicer than his uncle. However, Thomas turns out to be just as fastidious and mean as his uncle.
However, Thomas is immediately smitten with his next-door neighbor, a pretty young woman named Bea who loves and cares for Peter and his sisters, who've lost their parents. Peter decides Thomas has got to go.
The Peter Rabbit movie has a wonderful, wry sense of humor that's laugh-out-loud infectious. The slapstick comedy works well without becoming overbearing. Peter Rabbit also has a strong story structure that hits all the plot points it should and that leads to nice climax. Finally, there are some heartwarming emotional moments that provide uplifting messages where love, repentance, and forgiveness are extolled. The title character, Peter Rabbit, eventually learns to do the right thing instead of always causing trouble.
Movieguide.org advises a light caution for younger children due to the slapstick comedy and for very brief language. There's also a brief comical reference mocking evolution and some chaste Romantic elements, and the movie has a couple jokes mocking political correctness. The good news is that Peter Rabbit emphasizes blessings and has a redemptive ending that will leave families with lots of positive feelings as they exit the theater.
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