There’s nothing twee about this live-action/CGI animation update of Beatrix Potter’s classic children’s tale, starring Domhnall Gleeson and the voice of James Corden.
Wisecracking Corden voices the mischievous young rabbit while Gleeson is his foe in this riotously anarchic, boisterously funny affair.
The plot parts company with Potter fairly quickly, brusquely seeing off Peter’s old nemesis Mr McGregor (Sam Neill) after yet another raid on the vegetable garden of his Lake District cottage. But Peter and his chums – including sisters Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-Tail (underused Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley) – soon have McGregor’s great-nephew Thomas (Gleeson) to deal with.
The rowdy comic combat that ensues sometimes sails close to the wind, with Gleeson falling victim to electrocution, anaphylactic shock and sundry other accidents engineered by Peter, and some viewers will find the Tom-and-Jerry style violence in questionable taste.
It’s possible that even the filmmakers feel they have gone too far; after putting Thomas through the wringer, they make amends by giving him a stumbling romance with his kind-hearted, rabbit-loving artist neighbour (Byrne).