Readers, I am upset, and here is why.
As a child, I had a charming mug and bowl set decorated with beautiful watercolor pictures of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit and his extended family frolicking and being nice. I am only glad that that crockery is safely hibernating in my parents’ attic and is nowhere near a television or any form of technology that might transmit news of the genuinely horrifying adaptation of Peter Rabbit set to be released by Columbia Pictures early next year. The cute crockery would surely spontaneously shatter were they to witness the trailer which dropped yesterday.
The new Peter Rabbit film has transformed, nay, MUTATED Peter, the sweet, mischievous, raddish-loving rabbit-child of Beatrix Potter’s beloved books, into a swaggering, arrogant, obnoxious rabbit-man with little to offer but terminally unfunny one-liners and a love of beer pong.
Peter with his mother Josephine, and sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail in happier times / Image Via vam
The books follow Peter, his sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail, and their cousin Benjamin Bunny, among other pleasant, anthropomorphized woodland creatures. Peter constantly has run-ins with Farmer McGregor, a surly old man who is tormented by Peter and Benjamin’s relentless pilfering of his crops. The illustrations are unbelievably sweet and evocative and have captured hearts consistently since the books first appeared over 100 years ago in 1902. Yes, Peter has remained popular as his true self, without becoming an overbearing fratbunny for over a century. What does this teach us, Columbia? What it teaches us is that IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT.
The trailer opens hopefully, reminiscent of a Winnie-the-Pooh film, with the gentle, grandfatherly narrator cooing over the image of a seemingly sweet and spritely Peter, bounding across lush fields. ‘Once upon a time, in a beautiful wood, there lived a rabbit named Peter, with a blue jacket…’ However as the narrator speaks, Peter careers through some pigeons, seemingly, like, actually murdering them. The narrator continues, his tone changing to noticeably cheeky as he audibly smirks ‘…and no pants.’ From this point the trailer, as you might imagine, tumbles quickly and irrevocably downhill.
Peter saunters into what is quickly revealed to be McGregor’s property, essentially throwing a raging house party, instructing his fellow debauched fauna to help themselves to all the house and grounds have to offer, crowd surfing, playing darts using other animals, and participating in all manner of other bad behaviors, all to the tune of Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man, which is admittedly a good song, but just doesn’t feel right.
Peter Rabbit: a bad man / Image Via Video Detective
When the James Cordon-voiced Peter declares ‘I can’t think of one thing that could possibly stop our fun!’ cue a car rolling into the drive-way.
The animals run and hide and McGregor, played by a woefully miscast Domhnall Gleeson, looking prim and unthreatening, appears in the doorway. Saddened, rather than angered, by the distruction of his home, McGregor sits on the couch where, for no reason, a pig under a white sheet rises like a ghost. McGregor and the pig scream taking turns screaming at each other in a rendition of a weak scene which is for some reason used ALL THE TIME for comic relief in films that have nothing else going for them. The creatures then all appear out of the woodwork and flee.
Cut to Peter, smugly tugging at his lapels, and quipping ‘this is only the beginning.’
The beginning of the end, I would say.
Peter Rabbit will be on general release February 9th 2018 and I shall not be going to see it.
Featured Image Via YouTube