Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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My Review of PETER RABBIT

Peter Rabbit, rated PG
****

This animated/live-action film, based on characters and tales/tails of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter is a very funny film with some good messages.
The film is directed by Golden Globe nominate Will Gluck (Annie). It is written by Gluck and Rob Lieber and based on the characters introduced in the 1902 book The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. The film had a budget of approximately $50 million, and the live action scenes were filmed primarily in Australia. It is narrated by Oscar nominee Margot Robbie (I, Tonya).
In this film Peter Rabbit continues his battles with long-time nemesis, Mr. McGregor, played by three-time Golden Globe nominee Sam Neill (Merlin). It was Mr. McGregor who had killed (and eaten) Peter’s father. But Mr. McGregor dies relatively early in the film after he had captured Peter, and it looked like Peter was headed toward being rabbit stew himself. After that, there was is nobody to restrain the rabbits and other wildlife from enjoying Mr. McGregor’s food and home.
Thomas McGregor, played by Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter, Star Wars, Brooklyn) inherits his great-uncle’s cottage, which he plans to sell. Thomas, who lives and works in London, moves to the country, which he doesn’t like. And he doesn’t like rabbits any more than his great-uncle did, so he quickly begins his battles over the vegetable garden with Peter, voiced by four-time Emmy winner James Corden (The Late Late Show with James Corden), Peter’s likeable cousin Benjamin, voiced by Colin Moody, and his three sisters Flopsy, voiced by Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Mopsy, voiced by Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby), and Cotton-Tail, voiced by Daisy Ridley (Star Wars).
This version of Peter may be different from others you may be familiar with. This Peter is sharp and witty. His closest ally is Mr. McGregor’s next-door neighbor Bea, an aspiring artist, played by two-time Golden Globe nominee Rose Byrne (Damages). Bea has looked after the rabbits ever since their parents died. Her role is that of the author (Beatrix Potter), and we get to see some illustrations and animation from her books. However, when a romance quickly begins between Bea and Thomas, Peter ups the intensity against Thomas all the more as the rabbits and Thomas compete for Bea’s affections.
Other characters in the film are Mr. Tod, a fox voiced by Fayassal Bazzi, a badger, voiced by Tommy Brock, Pigling Bland, voiced by Ewen Leslie, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, a porcupine voiced by two-time Golden Globe nominee singer Sia (Annie), and a rooster who is amazed each day that the sun has come up again, voiced by Will Reichelt.
The film makes good use of music, and the computer-generated imagery (CGI) used for the animals is amazing. There is a lot of funny, slapstick violence between the rabbits and Peter, so some of it could be frightening for very young viewers. In addition, there is one brief shot of a “bum crack” played for laughs.
Messages include vengeance, telling the truth, repentance, forgiveness, love.
There were plenty of laughs from youngsters in the theatre when we saw this film. Adults will also enjoy this fast-paced funny film with good messages.

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My Review of GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN 

Goodbye Christopher Robin, rated PG 

**1/2   

Goodbye Christopher Robin tells the heart-breaking story of the relationship between Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne and his son Christopher Robin. The film is well directed and written, beautifully filmed and features some solid performances, particularly from the adorable Will Tilston, who plays the young Christopher.  

The film is directed by Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn, Women in Gold), and written by Frank Cottrell Boyce (The Railway Man, Millions) and Simon Vaughan. The film was released forty years after Disney’s 1977 film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. 

The film is set in three different time periods. A.A. (Alan) Milne is portrayed by Domnhall Gleeson (Brooklyn, Star Wars, Bill Weasley in Harry Potter). Milne, referred to as Blue, is a writer, and returns from World War I with what we would call today post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. He is married to Daphne, played by Oscar nominee Margot Robbie (I, Tonya). Daphne is not portrayed as a very likeable character at all.  

In an attempt to improve their marriage, the couple has a boy in 1920, named Christopher Robin; however, they are not good parents at all. They hire Olive, a nanny played by three-time Golden Globe nominee Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire, The Girl in the Café), to look after Christopher. Olive is a Christian who teaches Christopher to pray. Christopher grows closer to Olive, who he calls Nou, than he does his own parents, as she seems the only one to truly love him.  

The second section of the film will most likely be viewer’s favorite.  

***SPOILER ALERT*** 

We see the family move to the country. A.A. is still having trouble writing. Daphne, a socialite, leaves for London, and Olive leaves to care for her mother who is ill. Christopher, who was called by his family Billy Moon and nicknamed C.R., and his father finally bond over long walks through the woods. We see how Christopher’s toys become those familiar characters (Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, etc.), in Milne’s children’s stories. Christopher asks his father to write a book for him, but, when Milne publishes Winnie the Pooh in 1926, and it becomes wildly popular, Christopher’s childhood is turned upside down as he becomes a celebrity and exploited by his parents.  

The third section of the film has Alex Lawther (The Imitation Game) portraying the 18-year-old Christopher Robin. His fame has made him a target for bullying at a boarding school. He desires to serve in World War II. 

****************** 

The film was beautifully shot on location in Oxfordshire, Surrey, East Sussex, and London by cinematographer Ben Smithard (The Man Who Invented Christmas). I enjoyed the costumes in the film and the musical score provided by two-time Oscar nominee Carter Burwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Carol).  The film is about the author and inspiration for the most popular childrens’ books of all time, but  it is certainly not a film for children. It is emotional, nostalgic, touching and heart-breaking.

Themes in the film include parenting, father-son relationships, childhood, family, and fame.  

Goodbye Christopher Robin is a well-made film, but it is one that is often painful to watch.