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Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway film review


Directed by: #WillGluck

Film review by: Brian Penn

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (2021)

The Peter Rabbit stories so lovingly created by Beatrix Potter are as English as tea, scones and cricket played on a village green. So it’s reassuring that director Will Gluck does a sterling job in the follow up to his first outing with the character in 2018. The principal stars have returned for this thoroughly enjoyable sequel that takes the title character on an exciting ride in the city.

Peter (James Corden) is enjoying celebrity status as a character featured in books sold by Bea (Rose Byrne) in her country gift shop. Bea has since married Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson), and adopted Peter and his family as their own. But Thomas is suspicious of Peter’s mischievous ways; unlike his cute and lovable relations cousin Benjamin (Colin Moody), and sisters Mopsy, Flopsy and Cottontail voiced by Elizabeth Debicki, Margot Robbie and Aimee Horn.

Smarmy publisher Nigel Basil Jones (David Oyelowo) promises Bea untold wealth if she broadens her books with more Hollywood potential. Nigel gives the rabbits a new persona with Peter dubbed as the ‘the bad seed’. Distraught and misunderstood he wanders off into the city. He encounters the dubious Barnabas (Lennie James) who claims to have known his father. He quickly leads Peter into a life of crime and puts his family in danger. But will Peter work out all the angles before it’s too late?

The mix of live action with CGI is often a curious trade-off; and the old adage of never working with [children or] animals still holds even when they’re computer generated. The voicing actors are undoubtedly the stars even though the humans on screen are perfectly fine. There are some great gags delivered with real panache, plus a gleeful dig at the film industry’s current obsession with franchising. Will Gluck wears his influences on a barely disguised sleeve. There are distinct nods to James Bond and the classic heist movie genre. Barnabas is a spin on Fagin and the finest Dickensian legend; and certain scenes are hugely reminiscent of Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. All of which adds to the film’s natural charm and lustre. A great popcorn movie that made me smile and made me laugh; please can I have some more?


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