Nerd Caliber
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TV/Movies & Music

February 9, 2018

Peter Rabbit Jumps All the Sharks

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Written by: Byron D. Zero
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When it comes to adaptations of beloved children’s stories, there’s only a handful of ways it can go; the “respectful of its source material” route or the tried and true “Sony Animation” route. I will give you one guess which route Peter Rabbit took — here’s a hint, they pointed out that he doesn’t wear pants.

Peter Rabbit is about the titular character’s feud with Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson), which escalates to greater heights than ever before as they rival for the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover who lives next door (Rose Byrne). James Corden voices the character of Peter with playful spirit and wild charm, with Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley performing the voice roles of the triplets, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.

I didn’t have any fun with this one, just gotta be honest about that fact. I found myself asking “why” about the writing so many times.

Peter Rabbit has little to no idea who it is geared at, and you see that even before you actually start the movie. Sony spent so much money marketing this for kids, just like they did with those god-awful Smurfs movies. Most of the jokes are forced innuendos that have the subtlety of an 18-wheeler.

And when it is not resorting to potty humor it’s being mean-spirited — one of the running gags was that Peter’s pig friend loved to over eat and that’s funny cuz he’s a pig!

Which leads me to my next gripe, too many times the movie explains the jokes as if the audience is too stupid to get it. I’m not kidding either, at least twice Peter literally exposits the punchline, and he even looks at the camera during one of those moments!

The soundtrack panders to millennial parents who’s screaming brats coerced them into seeing this, unless dated ’90s songs like 1-hit wonder Len’s “Sunshine” is all the rage in elementary schools right now.

Moira McTaggart and the latest X-Men ... err, Rose Byrne and a gang of rabbit delinquents.

Moira McTaggart and the latest X-Men … err, Rose Byrne and a gang of rabbit delinquents.

Same old “live plus CG” story
And I have avoided going into too much detail about the story for one simple reason, if you have seen a “live-action plus CG” Smurfs or Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, it’s pretty much the same formula. They even have rapping animals in a remix (that nobody asked for) of Fort Minor’s “Remember The Name,” and if you remember that you probably have as much grey hair as I do.

The animation was decent, I loved the use of the hand drawn Beatrix Potter-style cut scenes and they used a bunch of my favorite British actors. Honestly Daisy Ridley and Margot Robbie’s (OK, Australian, I know) voice acting was top notch for such a garbage script. Everyone else was just here for a paycheck.

I get that I am not Sony’s intended audience for these types of movies, but this lack of effort is inexcusable. Peter Rabbit isn’t some brand new IP that the kids are just clamoring to own, at least 3 generations have grown up on these stories. The Paddington Bear movies are how a studio should treat these type of stories. They never took the cheap route to make movies like Peter Rabbit does, they made slight modifications that were necessary to make the story relatable to kids, but never alienated anyone who grew up loving the books or shows. Peter Rabbit is just the worst kind of dumb, and I dread hearing about how awesome it is from all the kids that will watch it.

I give Peter Rabbit (Sony Pictures Animation, PG, 1h 33min) a 1.5 out of 5.

About the Author

Byron D. Zero



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