More than a century after Beatrix Potter sent her brave little bunny out into the world in his first adventure, the iconic children’s character hops into cinemas March 16th to bring his chaotic escapades to a whole new generation.
Here’s why it’s a must-see family film this Easter…
Mischievous hero. Fearless adventurer. Healthy eater... As a character, Peter Rabbit has it all.
And, here, the beloved children’s book icon has been updated to be a bit cooler (see his stylish denim-look jacket), a touch rebellious (he’s more anarchic than his 1902 counterpart), yet just as warm-hearted as Potter’s original creation.
“He’s a rascal. He thinks he has power and ability beyond what’s in him, as all young people do,” says James Corden, who provides the voice for the titular role.
“Peter gets away with his mischief because of his sweet and adorable nature. You just can’t help but smile when you see him.” In addition, he gets at least five portions of fruit and veg a day, so really he’s a vegan role model to boot.
“The cast of the film is an embarrassment of riches,” says director Will Gluck, and we’d have to agree. Peter certainly isn’t the only rabbit with an A-List voice actor beneath his CGI fur.
Younger sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail are voiced by Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki and Daisy Ridley, respectively, while Colin Moody plays their cousin Benjamin and Australian singer Sia lends her vocal chords to series favourite Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle the hedgehog.
Their live-action counterparts include Sam Neill as “vermin”-hating Old Mr McGregor and Domhnall Gleeson as his rabbit-resenting nephew Thomas, who takes over the property from his uncle and must try and hide his bunny hatred from the object of his affections, animal-loving artist Bea (Rose Byrne).
A fast-paced mix of Bugs Bunny caper and Tom And Jerry slapstick, with a healthy dose of Chipmunk-esque cheek thrown in for good measure, the animal antics are strong, with hilariously choreographed chase and fight scenes between live-action and CGI characters really stealing the show.
But when they stop to catch their breath long enough, some sharp one-liners fire out of both the human and leporine mouths, which will have older children and adults thumping their feet.
A lot of the bunny banter comes from comedian Corden himself, whose charismatic cheer is perfect for Peter reloaded.
“We’re all familiar with the beautiful watercolour paintings – if they were to come to life in the real world, we hope this is what they would look like,” says Gluck, who worked with production designer Roger Ford (Babe, the Narnia films) to make the Potter-verse (not that one) a reality.
Much of the movie was filmed in the Lake District, where Beatrix Potter lived, wrote her stories and painted her pictures.
“We tried to create a world that looked exactly like it did in all her books, we were inspired to take every little moment, everything she ever wrote or painted, and construct our world around that.” The result is a magical, yet photo-real environment ideal for Peter’s 21st-century big-screen adventure.
Even at their most anarchic and dangerous, there’s no denying that rabbits are cute (Watership Down aside), and these bunnies, and their other animal and human counterparts, certainly pull on the heartstrings.
Yes, there’s twerking, pop culture references and a Top 40-style soundtrack, but the film is possibly most faithful to Potter’s original story in its warmth and kindness.
The rabbits are orphaned and must learn to make their way in the world and discover the importance of family and responsibility, of love and loss. And their eyes. They’re just so big and cute!