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'Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway' Movie Review

Peter Rabbit 2 the Runaway
Star Rating

Movie Info

RATING:  PG

GENRE:  Comedy/Fantasy

RELEASE:  June 11, 2021

STARRING:  James Corden, Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, David Oyelowo, Elizabeth Debicki, Margot Robbie, Lennie James, Hayley Atwell, Colin Moody, Aimee Horne, Rupert Degas, Jack Andrew

DIRECTOR:  Will Gluck

STUDIO:  Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Entertainment

More on this movie at IMDb.com

Disclaimer
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In PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY, Peter becomes upset when other people think he’s still the same mischievous troublemaker he used to be, and a new friend entices Peter to bring his family and friends to help out with a big heist at a local farmers market. PETER RABBIT 2 is magical, funny, exciting, and suspenseful, with seamless computer graphics, and has a moral worldview with Christian allusions extolling family, friendship and doing the right thing, but caution is advised for younger children for lots of slapstick violence and other minor content.

The movie opens with Bea and Thomas getting married. However, Peter and Thomas are still not not getting along, and Peter has a daydream before Bea ties the knot with Thomas where he and Thomas get into a big fight, which causes a big fight between the animals and the humans.

A month later, the Peter Rabbit book by Bea that Thomas published for her has become popular and attracted the attention of Nigel Basil-Jones, a charismatic, wealthy publisher in Gloucester (“Gloster”). He wants to publish a fancy edition of the book. She agrees. When Bea tells Nigel she’s started a sequel and wants to write a series of books about Peter, his family and the other animals on their farm, he gets very excited. However, he wants Bea to modernize the sequel and make her drawings of the animals more contemporary. Nigel also envisions more exiting adventures for Peter and his family and friends, with lots of action.

Meanwhile, the relationship between Peter and Thomas continues to deteriorate. Thomas thinks Peter is always up to no good. It doesn’t help that a misunderstanding makes Thomas think Peter is trying to steal the tomatoes Thomas is growing on the farm (the animals get to pick from all the other items growing on the farm). Then, when Bea, Thomas and the rabbits travel to Gloucester, they discover that Nigel also thinks of Peter as a bad bunny.

Hurt by what they think of him, Peter goes wandering off in the city. He meets an older rabbit named Barnabas, who sees the blue jacket Peter inherited from his father and tells Peter he was friends with Peter’s father. Peter learns that Barnabas is the leader of a group of animals, including two cats, who steal food from humans to survive. Barnabas convinces Peter to help him rob food from a family’s home in the city. Peter shows a knack for stealing, and even enjoys the experience, even though he feels sorry for the woman who tries to stop them. Maybe Peter is a bad bunny after all, like everyone says, Peter thinks.

Barnabas invites Peter to join his gang of thieves. He mentions a big heist he wants to do, that would feed his gang for a long time. However, he would need more animals to help steal the food. Peter is reluctant to join the gang of thieves. However, when there’s a further tussle with Thomas on the farm, Peter decides to enlist the help of his family and friends for the big heist.

Except for the roosters, all the animals on the farm meet up with Barnabas and his gang to plan the heist. Complications ensue, however, and Thomas happens to be there to witness the thievery. Making matters worse, Peter’s family and friends get snatched by a pet store that adopts the animals out to different people, including a butcher and a man who wants to cook a tasty rabbit stew!

PETER RABBIT 2 starts as a romantic fantasy, then changes into a comedy, a heist movie, and an adventure rescue movie. As such, it is magical, funny, exciting, and, finally, suspenseful. The combination of the live action humans with the computer-generated animals is seamless, and James Corden imbues Peter with a wide range of emotions and character traits, with help from the script, of course.

Although there’s a lot of stealing in PETER RABBIT 2, Peter eventually learns the errors of his ways. He also learns not to let other people or animals define him, especially when they try to limit his identity to the kind of mischievous rabbit he used to be.

In the first movie, released in 2018, Peter learned to do the right thing instead of always causing trouble. In the new movie, Peter is still behaving himself, but he’s upset that Bea’s new husband, Thomas, who inherited the farm on which they all live, still doesn’t trust Peter. Thomas thinks Peter is still the sneaky little troublemaker he used to be. As a result, Peter has become a little jealous of Bea’s affection for Thomas. That’s why he imagines getting into a big fight with Thomas at the wedding in the opening scene.

Then, when they all meet the new publisher, Nigel, it turns out that, because of the first book Bea wrote about Peter, Nigel also thinks Peter is still that same mischievous troublemaker. Causing insult to injury, Bea goes along with Nigel’s plans to paint Peter as the “bad seed” of the second

book too. Barnabas, the wily thief from the city, thinks the same way and sees an opportunity to appeal to Peter’s old self so that he and his gang of thieves can capitalize on Peter’s abilities as a sneaky thief.

Peter’s story may be likened to the life of a new Christian, who, though he’s been redeemed by the blood of Christ, falls in with people or old friends and/or family members who still think he’s the bad sinner he used to be. This may even be true of such a new Christian who hasn’t totally yet shed all of his bad, sinful habits from his past life before his new birth. Or, who has only just begun the sanctification process that is transforming and that will transform his life and his moral character.

So, in PETER RABBIT 2, other people and animals can’t see or refuse to see Peter as the new rabbit he has become. This hurts and angers Peter, and he regresses to the mischievous troublemaker he was at the beginning of the previous movie. When he gets his family and friends in trouble, however, Peter finds Thomas, apologizes to him and gets Thomas to help him save his family and friends.

Besides its Christian, redemptive allegory and implied allusions, PETER RABBIT 2 extols family, friendship, forgiveness, making righteous judgments, rescuing others in trouble, and doing the right thing. It also has some pro-capitalist elements where Peter’s benefactor from the first movie, Bea, battles temptations from the owner of a large publishing company, who wants to modernize her old-fashioned, quaint and uplifting book ideas beyond recognition. By ultimately standing up to the large corporation, Bea’s story becomes sort of a salute to the free market ideals of small private capitalism, as opposed to the impersonal practices and stifling corporate values of too many big businesses.

There’s lots of slapstick violence in PETER RABBIT 2, however. Also, the movie’s strong moral worldview is slightly mitigated by possible Romantic aspects to Peter’s identity crisis. For example, the story suggests that Peter needs to be the kind of rabbit he himself wants to be and not the kind of rabbit that others think he is. Also, the minister at Thomas and Bea’s wedding in the opening scene is a female pastor. This apparently implied feminist slant will upset Christians who believe Paul teaches that only men can be pastors or leaders at a Christian church in 1 Timothy 2:11, where Paul says, “I do not permit a woman to teach ….” Other Christians cite other passages, such as Priscilla in Acts 18:24-16 who, with her husband, Aquila, instructs Apollos in the Gospel. It should be noted, however, that Priscilla here is working alongside her husband.

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