|Directed by||:||James Foley||Produced by||:||Michael De Luca, E. L. James, Dana Brunetti, Marcus Viscidi||Based on||:||Fifty Shades Freed by E. L. James||Starring||:||Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Jennifer Ehle, Marcia Gay Harden||Production company||:||Perfect World Pictures, Michael De Luca Productions, Trigger Street Productions||Distributed by||:||Universal Pictures|
Movie reviews in brief: 'Peter Rabbit,' 'Fifty Shades Freed'
Rated: PG for rude humor and cartoon violence.
The animation in this new adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s books is top-notch, but the gentle spirit of the source material is subsumed into a chaotic, violent mayhem, manically soundtracked to the day’s hits.
Will Gluck directed and co-wrote with Rob Lieber this adaptation of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” the story of naughty rabbit Peter (James Corden), who can’t help but snack from Mr. McGregor’s garden.
This version ups the ante significantly in the Garden Wars, especially when Mr. McGregor (Sam Neill) dies, and his fastidious nephew Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) comes to Windermere. Thomas, hoping to sell off his uncle’s property, finds that the “vermin” have moved in.
The photorealistic animation is truly breathtaking, especially in the first few moments of the film. The rabbits are extraordinarily lifelike, with their individual strands of soft fur and shiny eyes.
But it’s all put in service of a shockingly savage and brutal war between Peter and his crew (Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-Tail, Benjamin Bunny) and the fussy Thomas.
Peter takes the feud entirely too far, and the movie descends into a truly sadistic display of violence, as poor Thomas is pounded, pummeled, battered, bruised, shocked and exploded at the paws of the brutal bunnies.
The filmmakers try to aim for a high note at the end with a message about owning your actions and taking responsibility, even if you are a talking bunny wearing a blue jacket. But when a bunny misbehaves as Peter does, apologies are necessary all around — including to the audience of the film.
Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service