Peter Rabbit 2
After seven months of gloom, UK cinemas reopen this week. And parents can’t wait to watch a wacky movie with the kids by their side (or, perhaps, two seats away depending on the venue). The major new release, Peter Rabbit 2, exemplifies the family time demanded. It discards the original’s somewhat environmentalist message to pinpoint what a father figure embodies. Despite its heavy-handed structure and shortage of effective comedy, the film conducts viewers to an unexpectedly poignant place.
Peter Rabbit (voiced by James Corden), friends and family attend Bea (Rose Byrne) and Thomas’s (Domhnall Gleeson) wedding. It seems like Peter and Thomas have found a way to “share” Bea’s heart, but the mischievous rabbit struggles with Bea’s suggestion that Thomas should act as his father figure. Peter then meets street rabbit Barnabas (voiced by Lennie James) and his mates, who make him embrace his impish nature. It’s all fun and games for a while, but Peter realises he has to choose a family and a role model.
Despite Peter’s significant dilemma, the viewer loses track of him as screenwriters favour a plot line surrounding Thomas and conflict leading to his development as a father figure. However, this narrative manoeuvre consumes so much time that it deprives Peter of the solid protagonist’s role. Towards the end, the structural incoherence is saved by a surprisingly emotional scene where Thomas loses his “children”. This moment amalgamates skilful directing, acting and editing, and while it isn’t so upsetting that the younger audience will be traumatised, their parents might shed a tear.
Since the film’s comedic elements are unsatisfactory (mainly demonstrating repetitious goofiness that wears out after the second crack), the viewer leaves the theatre confused. Having imagined a few chuckles with the adorable CG animals, one experiences instead a pleasant sensitivity that speaks both to adults and their little ones.
Peter Rabbit 2 is released nationwide on 17th May 2021.
Watch the trailer for Peter Rabbit 2 here: