Peter Rabbit Parent Guide
Despite all the silly shenanigans, the script manages to maintain a sense of warm-heartedness.
Parent Movie Review
I grew up reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and many of Beatrix Potter’s other children’s books. I was enchanted by the beautiful watercolor illustrations, not as much by her curious stories. Although those memories don’t make me an expert, there is one thing I feel pretty sure about – the author would never have imagined her work being turned into this computer-animated/live-action movie. Taking artistic license in leaps and bounds, this adaption of her bunny book brings the character to a whole new level of mischievousness.
Despite the dangers of scavenging for food in Mr. McGregor’s garden, Peter (voice of James Corden) delights in tormenting the farmer (played by Sam Neill) while stealing his vegetables. Ignoring the warning of his own father’s demise at McGregor’s hands, the rascally rebel leads regular raids with his partners in crime: sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottentail (voices of Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki and Daisy Ridley), and cousin Benjamin (voice of Colin Moody).
One day, after Peter has a particularly perilous encounter with the old man, McGregor succumbs to a heart attack (we see his collapsed body). The rabbit quickly claims victory over his nemesis and offers to share his spoils. Pigs, badgers, squirrels, ducks, hedgehogs and a fox (as well as just about everything else you can think of) happily move into the deceased farmer’s yard and house.
But this moment of triumph doesn’t last long because the deed to the property is soon handed over to his great nephew, Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson). The city-slicker has no interest in living in the country manor, but thanks to a recent job loss, and subsequent emotional breakdown, the younger McGregor has plenty of time and reasons to take a trip to the quaint English village and look over his inheritance. Finding the place infested with critters, he is quick to evict the trespassers.
That is when his neighbor gets involved. Bea (Rose Bryne) is an artist, nature enthusiast and special friend to Peter. Introducing herself, she invites Thomas to be more affectionate with the local wildlife than was his great uncle. Although she doesn’t succeed in convincing him to love the flora and fauna as she does, Thomas certainly notices this girl next door. And that presents a second reason for Peter to want to be rid of the interloper.
Most of the movie’s runtime is filled with the silly shenanigans and slapstick violence that ensue from this rivalry. While the antics are played for humor, they are occasionally mean-spirited. Little ones may find the physical comedy a bit frightening, especially when characters are repeatedly electrocuted, bombarded with vegetables, caught in traps, and threatened with explosives. A scene where a character experiences a severe allergic reaction may be upsetting too.
Yet for all this frivolity, the script manages to maintain a sense of warm-heartedness. The characters grow and evolve in positive ways. And Peter and Thomas eventually learn to be honest with others and themselves.
Put these good messages with fun music and extraordinary animation, and you end up with a film that is likely to charm families. It may even warrant the approval of Beatrix Potter.Directed by Will Gluck. Starring James Corden, Domhnall Gleeson, Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, Rose Byrne. Running time: 95 minutes. Theatrical release February 9, 2018. Updated February 8, 2018
Rating & Content Info
Why is Peter Rabbit rated PG? Peter Rabbit is rated PG by the MPAA for some rude humor and action.
Violence: Humans and animals pit their wits against one another, as they war over rights to a garden, home and affection. Many slapstick antics occur. Some of the actions are mean-spirited. A fox growls, bares his teeth and claws, and looks like he’s ready to pounce on a rabbit. Characters are reminded of the dangers of stealing vegetables from a farmer: a father rabbit is caught (shown) and killed (implied), then baked into a pie. Despite these warning, animals continue to vandalize his property and take his produce—moments of peril ensue. Animals and people are threatened with garden tools, traps, electric fences and explosives. Property damage and destruction occurs. Characters wreck a house and play pranks on others during an evening of reckless partying. Characters are pelted with objects, one is hit in the groin A character suffers a heart attack and later dies. Another has a serious allergic reaction. An angry character has a mental breakdown and starts wrecking things. Although many of the situations depicted would be dangerous in real life (allergic reactions, electrocutions, explosions), most are played for laughs in this movie. Small children may find some of these depictions frightening.
Sexual Content: Comments are made about the animal characters wearing jackets and aprons, but not pants. A character attempts to drink water out of toilet. Mild potty humor is included. A character’s partially exposed backside is seen. Another character’s pants are pulled down exposing his boxer shorts. Characters infrequently embrace and kiss.
Profanity: Infrequent profanity and mild name-calling occur.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A character smokes a pipe. Drinking alcohol is briefly shown. Medication is injected in an emergency situation.
Page last updated February 8, 2018
More parents' guide for Peter Rabbit after the break...
Peter Rabbit Parents' Guide
Are you a fan of Beatrix Potter’s tales? If so, how many of her characters from other stories did you notice in the menagerie presented here? I spotted Pigling Bland, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Mr. Tod (the fox), Tommy Brock (the badger), Mr. Jeremy Fisher (the frog), City Mouse and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle (the hedgehog). Which of these characters are your favorite? If you aren’t familiar with her work, it might be time for a trip to your local library.
Peter quotes his father as saying: “You can’t out clever a fox, but you can use his cleverness against him.” What does he mean? Who is he trying to outsmart? Does he succeed? What important things does he overlook in his competitor? How does recognizing his own motives change the way he feels about their feud?
The movie tells us, “You are only as big as your dreams.” Which characters have big dreams? Do you think most people do? What things might hold us back from pursuing such goals?
News About "Peter Rabbit"
This film version of the classic story, Peter Rabbit, is a mix of commuter generated graphics and live action. James Corden provides the voice of the rascally rabbit, and Domhnall Gleeson plays the frustrated farmer Mr. McGregor. Peter's pals, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail, are voiced by Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki and Daisy Ridley. The script is loosely based on the classic children's book by Beatrix Potter. Although she visualized the bunny as mischievous, it is doubtful the proper English woman envisioned the sort of antics that the movie depicts in her cautionary story about the importance of obeying rules.