THIS REVIEW HAS SPOILERS
First, I don’t tend to review movies, because I’m much more of a book person, and the movies I *would* review I tend not to, because I don’t want to spoil them for people who can’t see them right away.
My kid wanted to see Peter Rabbit, so, given that it’s Family Day here in Canada I took Mr. 5 year old.
If there’d BEEN another kids movie playing that he hadn’t seen, I would’ve taken him to that because I’d heard some really unpleasant things on Twitter about Peter Rabbit.
Hence this review. Twitter, and the people who called it out for the reason they called it out for, were wrong.
So, what *I* heard on Twitter was “Don’t support Peter Rabbit because they make fun of people with life-threatening allergies.”
AND “Peter Rabbit has the bunny characters throwing items of allergy at someone with a deathly allergy for funnsies.”
And because I’d never been steered wrong by the people I heard it from, if my kid hadn’t so desperately wanted to see it, AND it hadn’t been the only kid-appropriate movie playing now, I would’ve avoided it. Based on that I wouldn’t have seen a decent movie.
It wasn’t THE BEST MOVIE EVAR!, it had some major issues, but it WAS good comedy if you like American style slap-stick comedy. (And I so rolled my eyes at how VERY AMERICAN some of the humour was.) My kid really enjoyed it, and there were enough parental jokes to keep me entertained as an adult. Especially the rooster, omg, the rooster was freaking hilarious.
Firstly, to address in no uncertain terms the allergy issue. (Last chance to avoid SPOILERS)
Allergies, especially life-threatening ones, are ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO BE JOKED ABOUT.
But that’s not what the movie did. It didn’t even come CLOSE to that, so I really question where the hell the idea I saw on Twitter originally came from.
I have allergies, my kids have allergies, and though none of ours are life-threatening, they are not a thing to take lightly.
We as the viewer are made aware that one of the main characters, Thomas McGregor/Domhnall Gleeson, has a life-threatening allergy (anaphylactic reaction, his throat closes up/he can’t breath) to blackberries). I recognized him from Star Wars, not Harry Potter, that’s how bad of a fan-by I am for anything Harry Potter. (I really don’t care for HP, don’t sue me, I’m broke.)
The title character Peter overhears that Domhnall’s character/Thomas McGregor (who is the descendant of the nasty McGregor from the Beatrix Potter tales, acted, superbly by Sam Neill) tell the love interest of the story that he’s allergic to blackberries.
This is a very multi-layered story peeps. It’s a romance, on top of, and perhaps MORE THAN anything else. Despite it being a kids movie. (So if you’re ARO/aromantic, maybe avoid this one, it hits all the points of ‘love is everything’.)
Now. Peter RABBIT is much more than a Rabbit. He’s clever, he’s wiley, he’s a freaking asshole.
He’s also coping with the death of both parents and being the eldest brother to his three sisters.
Thomas McGregor is just as broken in his different but similar ways.
So when Old McGregor has a heart attack chasing Peter in the garden (MASSIVE CONTENT WARNING ON DIETARY JUDGEMENT CALLS) the lands, manor home, and gardens (charmingly represented true to form to what I recall of Beatrix’s paintings and stories) it passes to Thomas.
Via the trope of an unexpected inheritance.
Thomas goes to the manor and finds it filled with animals, which you can see in the trailers.
Lolz, he screams so very well. My goodness.
Anyway, the allergy issue comes into play when after many shenanigans, Peter and Thomas get to the point of trying to kill one another for real.
Thomas is ACTUALLY trying to KILL the rabbits, Peter is defending, what he regards at this point, as both his beloved mama (the love interest, Bea. played by Rose Byrne) and his lands (which Thomas McGregor, in the way of humans, owns).
I don’t know about you? But if someone is trying to kill ME AND MY FAMILY, allergies would be fair game as a weapon.
You can feel free to disagree with me on that? But this great big human with a hate-on for wildlife is coming after me, I know he’s allergic to blackberries, I’m going to slingshot them into his mouth at the first bloody opportunity.
It was NOT as it’s been portrayed on Twitter.
There is a graphic reaction to allergies, and Thomas has to scramble for his Epi-pen.
He survives, and (unrealistically) tears ass after Peter again.
Not for funnsies. For self-defense. And honestly? If you’re the abusive type who says I/a character can’t use ANY weapon against someone trying to KILL YOU AND YOUR FAMILY as self-defense, I’m not a person you want to have something to do with.
Now on to the rest of the movie.
This is a romance! I didn’t expect that, and yeah, if the whole ‘love cures all ills’ aspect that allos love to shove down our throats at every opportunity bothers you, don’t see it. I’m grey-aro, but all it does *to me* is make me roll my eyes.
It’s actually a sweet romance with elements of fuck-it-all-up and still redeem it at the end.
Which surprised the hell out of me. The actors really did a superb job with that too. (It’s sweet, so there’s no sex/sexual tension to avoid for my asexual peeps as well.) Content warning on one awkward kiss.
Peter is VERY Americanized for a British childhood story character. BUT, to be clear, the story of the movie takes place after the death of Peter’s mother-bunny. I never really read the Beatrix Potter stories as a kid, (books were such a luxury to us, we were THAT poor) but I think the fresh take helped, it’s a continuation of the tales. (I could be totally wrong, never actually read them.) Rather than a retelling.
The animation for the animal characters was freaking phenomenal and the movie is worth seeing JUST for that.
I’ve been around since before Roger Rabbit (Gods, some of you are so young you’re not going to know what I mean.) So here is some of the style… youtube of the animations of Roger Rabbit.
Compared to many of its predecessors, Peter Rabbit stands out, it’s amazing as per the melding creativity of live action and animation.
There were several lines in the film that made me slightly uncomfortable as a domestic abuse survivor, and I wasn’t happy with how Peter treated his sisters. (Seriously, when are writers going to learn to develop ALL of their characters as well as they do the primary ones?)
Writing wise? This is a damned good film.
Acting wise? Freaking phenomenal, I might be a fan of Domhnall’s now.
Creativity/animation wise? AMAZING.
American humour? Gods could we please find a different way? (I’m American btw, even if I’m expat.)
So. In short (hah! I can’t write short to save my life, and yes I amuse myself) that’s what I thought of Peter Rabbit.
Twitter was wrong, it was a good movie and my kid loved it.