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Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway – Movie Review

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Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Sony Pictures

With Peter Rabbit, director Will Gluck was able to honour the classic Beatrix Potter books, while successfully injecting the film with his sense of humour. It was a charming and delightful movie, although not without its detractors. In Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, Gluck directly addresses those who found the first film disrespectful to Potter’s legacy with a very funny meta-commentary. This adds a layer to the movie that allows it to become more than just your standard sequel. However, even beyond the self-aware gags, this becomes another likeable adventure with Peter and his animal friends from the Lake District.

One realises exactly what Gluck is doing when the dialogue addresses the audience and especially the critics. One can sense Gluck at the keyboard, letting his feelings and frustrations out. Thankfully, Peter Rabbit 2 avoids just becoming a diatribe or mean-spirited as he approaches the sequel with an understanding of why some people were put off by its predecessor. It’s definitely easy to smile when Rose Byrne’s Bea exclaims a distaste for seeing Peter Rabbit become the star of a wacky, hip comedy directed by an American. In those moments, Gluck is clearly laughing along with the audience. There’s even a funny acknowledgment of the annoyance some have for James Corden’s voice.

The commentary even extends to Peter’s arc, as he becomes frustrated with other characters perceiving him as a villain. It’s a natural way to write the character and expand on what he learned in the first movie. Peter also gets some hilarious interactions with the other animals, including his fellow rabbits. Mopsy gets a great running gag where she attempts to prove she’s an individual and the other animals in Beatrix Potter’s universe are given a fair amount to do, too. The animators at Animal Logic do an excellent job of giving these creatures life and full of personality, while also integrating them into the live-action environment.

Domhnall Gleeson continues to prove himself as a brilliant comedic performer and he gets the opportunity to prove his slapstick abilities at multiple occasions. His continuing irritation at Peter is humorously portrayed and we see how he’s changed since the two first met. His romance with Bea is also nicely developed. Meanwhile, there’s a funny appearance from David Oyelowo as a book publisher seeking to capitalise on Peter and friends. It’s through this character that Gluck mocks the whole concept of merchandising and the difficulties that can come with creating something charming and wholesome, while trying to appeal to a wide audience.

Will Gluck is one of the most underrated comedic directors working together. Whether he’s playing around with the teen movie genre or the romantic comedy or reinviting a beloved musical, he often brings an interesting and unique perspective to the table. The Peter Rabbit movies serve as further examples of how talented and witty he is. Even though he is American, he does capture that self-deprecating British sense of humour over the course of Peter Rabbit 2. The film works as a funny slapstick comedy with talking animals for families, but the self-aware elements add a further layer for those who remember the sometimes unnecessarily cruel reaction the first film got.

Stefan Ellison