What To Make of This New 'Peter Rabbit'

Kristy Puchko | Film | January 24, 2018

In the wake of Paddington’s two brilliant movie adaptations, another beloved British children’s book character is coming to the big screen with Peter Rabbit. Beatrix Potter’s adorable, blue-jacketed little bunny has been re-imagined in hopes of grabbing the attention of a new generation. And by re-imagined, I mean they’ve made him a manic, motor-mouthed, party animal.

Also he’s voiced by James Corden.

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This trailer seems to be aiming for frolicking fun, but lands more in cringe-inducingly obnoxious. But it’s got an incredible cast that includes Domhnall Gleeson as the intruded upon and screaming Mr. McGregor, and the voices of Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, Sam Neill, and Sia!

But then there’s the utterly bizarre posters that Sony’s popping out on Twitter.

I just don’t get what this movie marketing is even going for. “You loved the dark, gritty superhero tale of Logan? Well, we’ve got rabbits and carrots!” And is the first poster a knowing sex joke? Or is Sony just oblivious?

Then to make things even more uncomfortable, Rose Byrne is maybe playing Beatrix Potter? Her character name is currently listed as “Bea,” and here she is painting Peter and his friends in the second trailer.

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So it’s a rom-com where Peter is cock-blocking Farmer McGregor? Am I understanding this, right? And also, why have they dyed Gleeson’s hair that color? Is is just distracting to me? Why can’t McGregor just be a redhead? In the books he was an old man with a long white beard, and Neill’s got that role. (Check him out below.) So what are we even doing here?

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Look. I’ll admit that even as a child the Peter Rabbit stuff bored me. So I wasn’t opposed to the idea of giving him a bit of modern sensibility. But all this? It feels like they’ve mainlined the mischievous rabbit with pixie-sticks and angel dust.

I have one lingering source of hope for Peter Rabbit, and that’s its director, Will Gluck. He’s the helmer of the underrated cheerleader comedy Fired Up!, the Emma Stone gem Easy A, the deliciously sharp and sexy rom-com Friends With Benefits, and also Annie. Okay. The new Annie was atrocious, a garish attempt to take an old children’s classic and turn it into something freshly commercial, without paying any attention to what people loved about the original. Oh. Oh dammit.

Kristy Puchko has already volunteered to review this movie. Somewhere TK is cackling.

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