The cinemas finally reopened this week and what better way to celebrate than with Peter Rabbit 2? You’ll probably be thinking that there are plenty of better ways to celebrate than with Peter Rabbit 2, particularly if you saw the first Peter Rabbit, which was a travesty (I think. I slept through most of it). However, while this sequel has none of the smarts of, say, Toy Story or Paddington, the franchise is getting there. It’s certainly an improvement on the original (I stayed awake, mostly) and who knows, by Peter Rabbit 798, which seems inevitable, it may have actually nailed it.
The film is directed by Will Gluck, who co-wrote the screenplay with Patrick Burleigh. Gluck was also at the helm for the first film, which was heavily criticised for a general charmlessness and failing to capture the spirit of the Beatrix Potter books. Here’s what I wrote in my notes at the time, prior to nodding off: ‘Why is this Peter such a tool?’ Still, it did good box office, and children have loved it, which is all that counts. Alas. (There have been 23 Pokemon films to date, and that’s also not been driven by critical acclaim.)
Many elements are reprised here. Rose Byrne and Domhnall Gleeson return as Bea and Thomas, while James Corden reprises the voice of Peter. Other celebrity voices include Margot Robbie (Flopsy), Elizabeth Debicki (Mopsy) and Lennie James as a criminal bunny, Barnabas. I have always been baffled by these big-money voice hires as children don’t care and I’ve never heard an adult say: ‘I must see Peter Rabbit. It has Margot Robbie’s voice in it and I’m such a fan of Margot Robbie’s voice.’ But there you are.
This time out Bea and Thomas are married and have created a makeshift family with the rabbits.