See It at the Movies


Johnston Sun Rise ·


* * *

(Beautiful animation with violence)

Beatrix Potter's tale of Peter Rabbit is told with beautiful drawings, pastel colors and the combination of live action and animation. The kids and adults will love the animal characters, most looking quite realistic.

Peter (voice of James Corden) and his family, Mopsy, Flopsy, Cottontail, Thomas and Benjamin, enjoy sneaking into old Mr. McGregor's garden and stealing vegetables. While chasing them, the old man had a heart attack, filling poor Peter with a lot of guilt. This may take some explanation for the younger ones in the audience.

The house and garden are left to a distant nephew, Thomas (Domnhnall Gleeson), who has just been fired by Harrod's of London and moves into the country estate. His neighbor Bea (Rose Byrne) is an avid animal lover, believing that humans should not interfere with nature. Thomas hates the animals more than his uncle. The animals terrorize Thomas and he fights back with everything he has, hiding his actions from Bea as a budding romance begins.

It's a cute idea, but the writers decide to make the feud between Thomas and Peter and gang very violent. Sure, it's comic violence, and the kids at the Saturday matinee laughed loudly at the groin jokes, electric shocks and bear traps in the rear end, sort of like we used to laugh at The Three Stooges. That makes for a strange combination of beauty and violence, all wrapping up with redemption and a "happy ever after” fairy tale ending.

There is some clever dialogue for the adults and positive messages about family and responsibility. Most of the families had filed out while the credits rolled, missing the postscript and rapping birds. No loss there.

There is a clever running gag involving a rooster that parents will enjoy and may go over the kids’ heads.

"Peter Rabbit" ends up being a fairly good family movie that could have been better with a little less violence. Rated PG for a bit of off-color humor and violence.