30 March 2018.
PETER RABBIT ***1/2
All is right with the world…as long as we get films like this which make us feel as high as a kite, warm in our hearts and as optimistic as Peter himself!
American director Will Gluck (“Friends with Benefits”, “Annie”) has gone British (the classic bunny tale, the setting and quite a few of the actors) and Australian (the location and quite a few of the voices) to make this delightful comedy which should enthrall kids from 4 to 94 (or is it 104 these days?) with its energy and mix of human actors and animation.
We’re in the gentle English countryside. It all starts off with the Rabbit family trying to get into Mr. McGregor’s garden for some edibles where they meet stiff resistance from the old man. Peter and his siblings are adorable but naughty, although their neighbor and protector Bea (Beatrix Potter?) loves them dearly and paints portraits of them in her cozy cottage next to McGregor’s house.
Obviously, various adventures arise with old McGregor’s demise and the arrival of his ambitious nephew upon this bucolic scene. Nephew (Domhnall Gleeson, whose father Brendan played the fierce prison chef in “Paddington 2”) has just come from his last job at Harrods in London with the intent to sell the old cottage.
Confession – I have a weakness for furry animals (absolutely loved “Paddington 2”!), so excuse my enthusiasm here, but it gave me that high all day long, and it has a sweet message for the kids – better to get along, negotiate and understand one another, than just go into blind, destructive warfare. A lesson some of our leaders could also learn…
It’s all in there really, so take the kids and go see what the fun and excitement are all about…and especially why roosters crow every morning… It’s a hoot! And just in time for Easter.
There are films that are slow and sombre, but so intense that they take us on a lengthy ride and spit us out at the end, somewhat wiped out but satisfied. This dark western is one of those.
We are witness to a grueling task forced upon a renowned U.S. army captain in the late 19th century. He is to take a dying, long-imprisoned Cheyenne chief and his family from New Mexico back to their homelands in Montana. And he has hated these people throughout his military career. The journey will be a treacherous one as there are the vicious Comanches en route who have recently wiped out a whole family, except for the almost comatose wife. It is she that the captain and his small company find on their way, and decide to take along on their mission.
Christian Bale is excellent as the serious, responsible military man, as is Rosamunde Pike who portrays the grieving widow and mother, along with the whole cast including Wes Studi as the impressive Chief Yellow Hawk.
Director Scott Cooper (of “Crazy Heart”, for which Jeff Bridges won a Best Actor Oscar) has created here a tense atmosphere that manages to shine in its transformation of this rigid officer. Along the torturous journey he evolves to an understanding and respect for the “enemy”, which probably he, his superiors and cruel government policies helped to create. Quite the mirror of much of today’s racial, religious and national divides…
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.