Peter Rabbit

I’m not a Peter Rabbit purist and I don’t much care that the movie deviates conclusively from Beatrix Potter’s beloved children’s series. I do care, however, that this movie was 90% montage, more the sort of Youtube video my 6 year old nephew might put together than an actual movie made by an actual studio. The soundtrack must be in the neighbourhood of an astounding 37 discs, although who would buy them is a bit of a mystery. Most songs featured are older than the audience will be, lots even born in the previous century. And I realize that Galaxy of the Guardians banks on exactly this formula, and we can sit here and debate just how much the 80s deserve to be revered, but I’m nearly 110% certain that no one will be on the “pro” side of the same debate in honour of Len’s Steal My Sunshine, which cannot be forgotten soon enough and certainly didn’t need a Peter Rabbit remix.

Peter Rabbit and his friends are delightfully rendered in CGI, very sweet and cute looking, with just enough clothing to anthropomorphize but never enough to be very confident something rude’s not going on. But don’t let their looks deceive you: these bunnies are homicidal. They’re ruthless and entitled and they’re pretty shitty MV5BZjg0Mjk0NTUtYWU3NS00ZmVmLTk3ZmUtODEyN2FhMTA4ZmZmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTc5OTMwOTQ@._V1_neighbours, to be honest. I mean, they have a whole forest they could forage for food, but instead they repeatedly pillage a garden lovingly tended by an old man mourning the death of his beloved wife. And they don’t just want to steal his cucumbers, they want him dead (although where would the garden be without a gardener, huh, bunnies, did you even stop to think of that?). No, the bunnies, who are obviously thoughtless millennials in this incarnation, only think of themselves, and their stealing is somehow justified.

And not to shock you, but they actually do succeed in killing old man McGregor – only to find that his nephew, who inherits the place, is much worse. So they set about murdering him too. Sure, they mistakenly bring a tomato to a dynamite fight once, but the rest of the time they aim to kill. Sean was pretty shocked when they knowingly choke the guy with food he’s known to be deathly allergic to. Too far, he thought, and yet this was only one small battle in a very long war savagely fought. These are no innocent rabbits. Of course, sweet Bea next door is appalled that anyone should deny her fluffy-tailed friends all the produce they can eat and waste, but not so appalled, I noticed, that she would bother to plant a garden herself. But of course, the rabbits aren’t stealing out of hunger, they’re doing it out of spite, and though it’s played incessantly for laughs, I just don’t know why we need these kinds of stakes in a kids’ movie.

To me, the children’s books were warm and gentle and sweet and the movie seems to strive to be the complete opposite: rude and obnoxious and totally devoid of charm.

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21 thoughts on “Peter Rabbit

  1. J.

    Yeah, I’ve heard some bad stuff about this… really negative from the allergy perspective, too. I know these things can get blown out of proportion, but it seems they got the tone of this one all wrong.

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    1. Jay Post author

      He was!
      Bea was such an apologist, always making excuses for them, but Peter thinks it’s okay to really, really hurt someone if he wants their stuff.

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  2. allthingsthriller

    Okay…This has gone too far. Where’s the common decency? Our shared sense of values? Steal My Sunshine is a good song!
    Seriously, this is a terrible idea. Is this supposed to be for children?

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    1. Jay Post author

      Haha, I know, I’m acting like I don’t turn it up every time it comes on the radio and STILL remember all the words.

      And yes, it is supposed to be for children. I guess they think kids have changed a lot since Potter’s day.

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  3. Christopher

    I am a Peter Rabbit purist and a big fan of Beatrix Potter’s books which celebrated troublemakers and gently satirized social conventions, bucking traditional narrative structure in favor of a more naturalistic style, and I just couldn’t watch this.
    Peter is spoiled little brat whose mother keeps giving him nice clothes even though he keeps losing the, and who gets sent to bed without supper but has a stomach full of Mr. MacGregor’s vegetables, but he’s never malicious. He’s certainly never murderous.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Well none of that happens in the movie, aside from the names remaining the same, so they’ve really given him a moral makeover I guess.

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  4. Tom

    Wait, really? I was expecting a big JUST KIDDING at the end there. But they really turned Peter Rabbit into a killer? That’s messed up man!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yeah, I mean he plays it like he’s just a rascal, and the movie keeps things jokey, but the fight is clearly to the death – on both sides, actually.

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  5. Widdershins

    I was putting off this because It didn’t look at all like it ought, even given these modern times we live in, but I’m glad I no longer have to debate the issue. 😉 … thank you once again for taking one for the team. 😀

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    1. Jay Post author

      I didn’t even know I was doing it! I clearly didn’t pay enough attention but I was shocked by this – it has such a jovial tone that the whole gladiator, fight to the death theme is all the more off-putting.

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  6. Liz A.

    I heard about the playing an allergy for “laughs”, but I didn’t realize the movie when this far. Ick. Not something you want your kiddos seeing, that’s for sure.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yes, it’s pretty surprising, it feels like it should be a water-coloured nostalgia affair but poor Potter really gets the Ritalin treatment.

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  7. Nikki

    I saw this movie and this review is right on point. The rabbits are horrible! This movie is full of bad teachings for kids.

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