Peter Rabbit 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
As a very little kid, I remember my parents reading me Beatrix Potter’s classic children’s story, ‘Peter Rabbit’. What I don’t remember is there being so much attempted murder in Potter’s original tale. But such is the case with modern day takes on classic children’s properties; there’s usually kidnapping, attempted murder and some crass humor thrown in just in case the basic plot wasn’t enough to dissuade parents. PETER RABBIT embraces all of those things, but it does so with a humor and cartoonish charm that makes it hard to knock it too much. But again, attempted murder is kind of the main plot.
Peter (voiced by James Corden) makes his day as the leader of his siblings trying to steal vegetables from the mean old Mr. McGregor. During one particularly violent encounter, Mr. McGregor suffers a heart attack, allowing Peter to claim victory for McGregor’s death and create an open season on McGregor’s farm. The victory doesn’t last long because soon the younger McGregor (Gleeson) arrives to collect his inheritance. His first step is to block out the pesky rabbits and find a way to rid himself of the pests while also winning the heart of the sweet and attractive Bea (Rose Byrne).
Reviewing kids movies creates an internal conflict in me. As a parent, I want to be hard on the film for its unnecessarily violent message. But the critic in me wants to praise the film for actually being enjoyable or at least enjoyable enough to make it tolerable. But let’s start with the parent side; there’s a lot of things in PETER RABBIT that younger audiences might not understand. The most controversial scene involves the rabbits exploiting a food allergy, the backlash of which prompted a formal apology from Sony. Much like the controversy surrounding SHOW DOGS, I don’t understand how these scenes make it into kids movies. Some kids will watch the scene and never think twice about it; completely oblivious to the seriousness of food allergies. But other kids are going to watch this and perhaps think it’s funny to slip a allergic classmate a peanut or something. As far as this scene is concerned, it’s up to the parent to decide if their child can handle it or even if their child should handle it. My halfhearted defense of the scene is that the whole movie revolves around the rabbits trying to murder the McGregors and the McGregors trying to murder the rabbits, complete with rakes nearly missing rabbit necks and whole homes getting demolished. So basically, murder is a central theme here, regardless of how cartoonish it is.
For me, the cartoonishness of the whole thing is what I hang my hat on and when compared to something like the Smurfs movies, I found PETER RABBIT much more enjoyable. It has enough humor to keep adults interested and moves quickly enough that it doesn’t get boring. The voice-work is acceptable and James Corden does an okay job as the titular character. The usually great Domhnall Gleeson does an alright job, checking the “kid movie” checkbox on his career resume. There’s even a Star Wars reunion of sorts as Daisy Ridley voices one of the other rabbits.
If parents don’t think their kids should watch PETER RABBIT, then the film loses its core audience and is essentially a movie without an audience. I didn’t mind the film, but I struggle to defend it against people that take the allergy scene seriously. It’s a legitimate gripe and although I enjoyed the film more than I thought, it just wasn’t good enough to look the other way.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: The PETER RABBIT Blu-ray transfer is very good and the 4K is just a slight upgrade. This is upconverted from a 2K source and therefore it only gives you the basic improvements. You can make out more details in the fur of the rabbits or in the backgrounds, but overall this isn’t a drastic improvement.
Audio: The Dolby Atmos track is a nice upgrade over the DTS track on the Blu-ray.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
There are no 4K exclusive special features, but it does come with a Blu-ray of the film, which has the following special features:
There’s a mini-movie, a dance along and one short featurette that talks about adapting the book. And I use the word “adapting” very loosely.