Intended or not, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway is exactly what Bea doesn’t want, i.e., the Hollywoodization of the rabbits. She resists her agent’s “recommendations” to take them out of the garden and put in a more modern setting. So, what does Peter Rabbit 2 do? You get kidnappings (or is that rabbitnappings), jumps from airplanes, and James Bond-type chases. Of course, after Peter Rabbit garnered $351 million on a $50 million budget, you get more James Corden as his voice, conceited, mischievous and, a bit confused. Is he “the bad seed” or merely misunderstood. Whatever the case, although much of the humor is still for adults, the children in the audience were quite smitten.
Overall, Peter Rabbit 2 is better than its predecessor. It still has its challenges, as many of the scenes are for gags, and disrupt the flow of the film. Although Peter gets hoodwinked, the family connection gets prominent focus, as well it should. While Peter struggles for awhile to find his place, ultimately he finds his way. The live-action/computer animation looks good, and Gloucester (actually Centennial Park, Australia) makes a fine setting. Off to a good start, Peter Rabbit 2 has already made over $70 million on a $45 million budget. Dare you say Peter Rabbit 3? I give the film 3.5 Gavels and it receives a 67% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Early Audience scores range from 92% on Rotten Tomatoes to 6.2/10 on IMDb.
Bea and Thomas marry, with Thomas and Peter in a sort-of peaceful coexistence. As long as Peter stays away from Thomas’ tomatoes, Peter and family get the rest of the garden. But, a trip to Gloucester to meet the publisher changes the dynamic. No longer is Peter the face of the franchise, he’s now the bad-baddie. Leaving his family behind, Peter runs into Barnabas, an old friend of his father. Barnabas convinces Peter that his skill set is better for a city life of crime than a country life of unappreciation. The plans to hit the farmers market hit a snag, a big snag.
Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne (Thomas and Bea), both fine actors, still suffer from a lack of chemistry, but maybe that’s because she likes the animals better than she likes him. David Oyelowo (The Midnight Sky) plays Nigel Basil-Jones, the slightly slimy agent. Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Hayley Atwell are just a few of the voices.
Peter Rabbit 2 is another movie released over one year later than intended. The posters say “In Theaters. Finally.”
“It’s no Paddington 2, but Peter Rabbit 2 works well thanks to a mocking sense of self and a strong second half. Once again, Beatrix Potter, it is not.” Empire Magazine
“This instalment of Peter Rabbit is filtered through the kind of sly self-awareness that suggests the film-makers took on board the criticisms of the previous film and decided to run with them.” Observer (UK)
Decidedly mixed in its reviews, it’s better for you and the kids than sitting in the 90 degree hot sun. Even more so the Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, Peter Rabbit 2 should give the studios an idea whether Americans are ready to go back to the theaters. If this one scores big, the floodgates of finished films should open into the cinemas.