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Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway

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Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
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Proof that there can be a good sequel to a live action/animation hybrid.
Genre: Comedy
Directed By: Will Gluck
Produced By: Will Gluck
Zareh Nalbandian
Catherine Bishop
Jodi Hildebrand
Written By: Will Gluck
Patrick Burleigh
Based On: The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Starring: James Corden
Rose Byrne
Domhnall Gleeson
David Oyelowo
Elizabeth Debicki
Lennie James
Margot Robbie
Cinematography: Peter Menzies Jr.
Distributed By: Sony Pictures Releasing
Release Date: March 25, 2021 (Australia)
May 17, 2021 (United Kingdom)
June 11, 2021 (United States)
Runtime: 93 minutes
Country: United States
Australia
Language: English
Budget: $45 million
Box Office: $153.9 million
Prequel: Peter Rabbit (2018)


Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (also known simply as Peter Rabbit 2) is a 2021 3D live-action/computer-animated adventure comedy film directed and produced by Will Gluck, who co-wrote the screenplay with Patrick Burleigh. The film is a sequel to 2018's Peter Rabbit produced by Sony Pictures Animation, and is based on the stories of Peter Rabbit created by Beatrix Potter. James Corden reprises his role as the title character, alongside Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, and David Oyelowo in live-action roles, and the voices of Elizabeth Debicki, Lennie James, and Margot Robbie.

After facing numerous delays from its original February 2020 release date due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film was released theatrically by Sony Pictures Releasing under its Columbia Pictures label, first in Australia on March 25, 2021, then in the United Kingdom on May 17 and in the United States on June 11. The film has grossed over $153 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics.

Plot

Thomas and Bea are now married and living with Peter and his rabbit family. Bored of life in the garden, Peter goes to the big city, where he meets shady characters and ends up creating chaos for the whole family.

Good Qualities

  1. The top priority in the writing was to improve on its predecessor's mistakes. For instance:
    • The film is much less mean-spirited than before, there isn't any instances of the animals torturing Thomas to be found (except for a dream sequence during the beginning from Peter).
    • The plot is a lot more focused, where instead of a convoluted story about the rabbits trying to take back their home, it's instead a more straight-forward heist story.
    • It's a lot more reverent towards the source material, since the books themselves actually play a big part in the plot, serving as a meta-commentary in some way.
  2. Peter's a lot more likeable in this film, where he finds passion in causing mischief, but still takes time to acknowledge his mistakes and appreciate his family.
  3. The new villains, Barnabas and Nigel Basil-Jones, are really entertaining to watch, the latter in particular being helped by David Oyelowo's performance, really selling his cunning conman-esque demeanor.
  4. The film can have its hilarious moments in the comedy, particularly when the gang goes to rescue Felix only for Thomas to see a stuffed deer head, leading to him screaming "NOOO! We're too late!" in anguish.
    • There's also a lot of absurdist jokes, such as when an animal peels a sticker off a 'NO ANIMALS' sign, leading to the painted animals on the sign to run off, or when Tommy Badger pulls an entire crate of tomatoes out of thin air.
  5. The acting and voice acing are still great, with Domhnall Gleeson again giving the best performance. Even James Corden's performance is slightly improved, and the film is often self-aware about how annoying and miscast he is.
    • Due to Daisy Ridley not returning, Cottontail was voiced by Aimee Horne, who does a really good impression to the point where you can barely tell a difference.
  6. The soundtrack is great, despite not all of them fitting the scene.
  7. Just like last time, the CGI on the animals is very fluid, vibrant and expressive.
  8. A lot of the jokes are quite self-aware about the first film turning out the way it was, with Bea joking she doesn't want her books to become (and we quote) some sassy hip-fest, purely for commercial gain, probably by an American.
  9. The heist at the farmer's market is quite engaging with all the creative ways the animals pull off the mission.

Bad Qualities

  1. The comedy does have a few duds, such as Mopsy burping after drinking sparkling water, Flopsy renaming herself after a toilet, the reuse of all the terrible running gags from the first, and Bea explaining in full detail her vision for her books, which can be viewed as a bit too meta.
  2. While the soundtrack is nice, there are some songs that don't fit the scene at all, most namingly Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams", which inadvertedly makes the scene hilarious due to how out of place it is.
  3. Barnabas, while entertaining, is a predictable twist villain, especially if you watched the trailer.
  4. Some of the physics are too cartoony for a live action movie like this. It doesn’t help either that whenever something cartoony happens to Thomas, the CGI they use on him is surprisingly awful.
  5. There are a few moments of filler, such as a full performance of 'Down by the Bay'.
  6. There isn't as much 2D animated scenes as there was in the first.
  7. Just like the first film, the movie doesn't retain the slice of life feel of the books.

Reception

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 67% based on 76 reviews with an average rating of 6/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "An enjoyably silly and self-aware sequel, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway should leave fans of the original feeling fairly hoppy." On Metacritic it has a weighted average score of 43 out of 100 based on 13 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported 74% of audience members gave it a positive score, with 45% saying they would definitely recommend it.

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