Peter Rabbit is out now on all home formats, as well as the digital one you can carry about with it, and if there’s one thing I’ve struggled to understand for quite some time, it’s the appeal of James Corden. I’ve gone into the whys and wherefores of that many times before, so I won’t bore you with it again.
So, you’re thinking – “Well, maybe the film just turned up unannounced on your doorstep?”
No. Full disclosure – I *did* ask for this one for review, and I figured that there’s always a chance it might change my mind on him – since Richard Blackwood was one of the best things about Welcome To Curiosity – but I did give the PR company the heads-up that I was not a fan of Corden up to now, and so if they didn’t want to send me a copy of the film, that was quite understandable.
But I won’t do anything untoward with it. Like all review discs I watch once and never look at again, it’ll be melted down into the DeLorean I’m building which will go forward in time ot the day when James Corden makes a decent film. Nah, in a parallel universe, I’ll be watching this over and over, same as the parallel universe where I’m listening over and over to Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits.
But back to reality for now, and P. Rabbit has a big problem: Old Mr. McGregor (Sam Neill, who I didn’t even recognise under his beard and make-up). The rabbit wants in to his grounds so he can steal all his carrots, while McGregor disagrees. Of course, when he was banging on about having a hankering for rabbit pie, I can’t be the only one that was looking forward to this rabbit’s demise?
A situation leads to him exiting stage left, and Harrods manager Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) enters the picture and takes over the farm as the old man’s great nephew, but he’s a chip off the old block in that he shares a similar hatred of rabbits, as well as most animals.
On the plus side, as there’s a few different characters in this, James Corden cannot be the one individual talking ALL the time. There’s also actually quite a decent opening to it where the CGI is very good indeed, particularly when the rabbit is running from a fox, early on. Add in a Platoon-spoof scene and I was expecting to completely hate this, but Mr Corden doesn’t talk ALL the time, and while Rose Byrne is fine, Domhnall Gleeson is absolutely brilliant. There’s also decent voice acting from anyone who doesn’t have Corden in their name.
As an aside or two, there’s slightly reworked lyrics to Len’s Steal My Sunshine, but it is the original band doing them, and I can’t listen to the Americano song without thinking of The Inbetweeners. Plus, the film does outstay its welcome by about 15 minutes, but on the plus side, you can watch this entire disc without having to see James Corden’s face… almost.
However, it’s a bit odd when Corden is the one giving dietary advice, at one point.
So, will we get a sequel? It’s a certainty. Movies generally have to make 2-3 times their budget in order to break even, to account for marketing costs, and while the budget for this was $50m, it took $350m at the box office.
Yes, that will mean more James Corden, but on the plus side, it does mean more Domnhall Gleeson.
The film is presented in the original 2.35:1 widescreen ratio and in 1080p high definition and as you’d expect for a modern movie shot on digital film with a lot of CGI, it looks flawless, here bringing out the scenes of the baking hot LA Scene. I’m watching on a PS4 played through a 50″ Plasma TV.
The DTS 5.1 HD-MA sound is great when it’s mostly music and dialogue, all of which is fine without any issues. There’s occasional split-surround sound effects, but nothing to write home about.
The extras are as follows:
- Shake Your Cotton-Tail Dance Along (2:36): If you’re in need of more of the theme song, it plays out to kids and rabbits dancing along. Thankfully, Corden does not appear in person.
- Peter Rabbit: Mischief in the Making (7:25): Sadly, he does pop up in this piece as he and several cast and crew members recorded interview soundbites to be mixed in with clips from the movie.
- Mini Movie (3:55): It’s the Flopsy Turvy mini movie starring Flopsy Turvy does on the run with Mopsy and Cotton-Tail to recreate find friends who will recreate the opening diner scene from Reservoir Dogs. Well, I’d prefer that.
Then again, the moral of this piece is honestly, “Sometimes it is nice to land on top”. So, a double entendre for the adults, there.
- Trailer (0:31): for… The Star. Not this film. In fact, this section is actually labelled “Previews”… but there’s only one trailer under it. That’s confusing.
- Audio description: does exactly what it says on the tin.
The menu is just a still of Peter Rabbit and friends with a piece of seemingly generic music playing over and over again. At first, I didn’t think it was something from the film, as it sounds like a track so random that not even Shazam can identify it properly as it just picks a number of things instead, but yes, the music does pop up very briefly in the film. I would’ve thought they’d use the theme song over this, but strangely, they didn’t. Still, it saves having to listen to Corden’s attempts at singing.
In addition, there are 16 chapters, which is a decent number for this relatively short film, and subtitles come in four languages: English (including a hard of hearing option), Arabic, Dutch and French.
Note that the film was shown in 3D in the cinema, but that version isn’t available on home formats. I can’t see any necessity for this film, though. Personally, I *am* trying to buy a new TV which *does* include 3D, albeit for films other than this one. As it stands, I’m looking at one of Panasonic’s 2017 models, since they were the last manufacturer to be making them in the UK, and they’re not continuing the format this year. Sure, I know 3D is a dying format in the home, but without a 3D TV, how else am I meant to watch my existing library of films? The facility can’t cost a huge amount to include in a TV, surely? 🙁
Running time: 94 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
Released: July 23rd 2018
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Languages: DTS-HD MA 5.1: English, French; DTS 5.1: Dutch, Dutch Flemish,
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Arabic, Dutch, French
Format: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K))
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Will Gluck
Producers: Will Gluck and Zareh Nalbandian
Screenplay: Rob Lieber and Will Gluck
Based on the books by Beatrix Potter
Music: Dominic Lewis
Peter Rabbit: James Corden
Mr. Jeremy Fisher / Mr. Thomas McGregor: Domhnall Gleeson
Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle: Sia
Flopsy / The Narrator: Margot Robbie
Mr. Tod: Fayssal Bazzi
Bea / Jemima Puddle-Duck: Rose Byrne
Benjamin Bunny: Colin Moody
Old Mr. McGregor / Tommy Brock: Sam Neill
Mopsy: Elizabeth Debicki
Cotton-Tail: Daisy Ridley
Felix D’eer: Christian Gazal
Pigling Bland: Ewen Leslie
Harrods Worker – Janelle: Natalie Dew
Harrods Worker – Siobhan: Terenia Edwards
General Manager: Marianne Jean Baptiste
Bannerman: Gareth Davies
Jackson: Vauxhall Jermaine
Harrods Security: Tom Greaves
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.