Peter Rabbit is the newest live-action/CGI mashup from Columbia Pictures that was better than anybody could have expected it to be. Led by a great voice cast in James Corden, Margot Robbie, and Daisy Ridley, Domhall Gleeson, and Rose Byrne, you'd think someone over in the Star Wars casting department was in charge here. This is a modern day take of the classic children's book, which means more silly antics and action sequences than character or story development. Still, it's a brisk and fun story and fun for the whole family. The 1080p HD transfer looks amazing, despite some quick soft moments during a few seconds of the film. The lack of the Dolby Atmos track here is also bothersome, since there are a few moments that could have been utilized with height speakers. The bonus features are less than thrilling too. Still, if you want a fun movie night with the family, this comes Recommended!
You can also check out our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review HERE.
With Columbia Picture's success on The Smurfs trio of live-action/CGI films, it was only a matter of time, before they went into business with another beloved children's tale and brought it to a big budget major motion picture. This time around, it's the treasured Beatrix Potter tale of Peter Rabbit. Surprisingly, the movie isn't as bad as the trailer made it out to be. It has a lot of heart and some genuinely funny moments, with a good message behind it, even though director Will Gluck has a tough time in pointing it out, due to the rampant goofy and silly gags that make up most of the movie. The voice actors all do an impressive job, while the live-action actors turn in decent performances, but can only go so far as the screenplay.
The main theme of the original stories and characters are present here, but in this modern day, it's all about the action, and silly adventures that get us to the next scene. Peter (James Corden) lives with his family in the English countryside where he leads them into Mr. McGregor's garden, where they all steal and eat his crops. After a successful raid by Peter, Mr. McGregor dies, which has Peter and his family celebrate in that they will never go hungry again. Little do they know that McGregor had a nephew named Thomas (Domhall Gleeson), who is fired from his big city toy store job and heads to his uncle's house in hopes of restoring it up to glory and selling the house for the money.
What Thomas didn't intend to find was an enemy with Peter Rabbit or the love of his life in his new neighbor, Bea (Rose Byrne), who loves all of the rabbits and is a decent painter. Once Peter and Thomas square-off, the movie is all about who can one-up each other in pranks or traps to try and get the other to leave. It's all rather silly, however, due to the great voice talent from James Corden, the movie actually works well for its short 95-minute runtime.
Peter Rabbit did well enough to warrant a sequel, however, I hope next time they can develop some of the characters instead of trying to make a bigger and sillier prank in each scene.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Peter Rabbit comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc and a DVD copy of the film. There is an insert for the digital download as well as some Sony promotions. The discs are housed in a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.
Peter Rabbit comes with a 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 2.39:1 aspect ratio. This is a solid looking HD image that can be compared to its 4K UHD counterpart. Detail is sharp and vivid with individual fur from the rabbits and other animals showing nicely on screen. It even moves freely in wind and water. That being said, it could look a little soft in darker sequences. Other live-action facial features, such as wrinkles or makeup blemishes, show up very well. Dirt and plant life in McGregor's garden all look real and detailed as does his drafty old house with his textured furniture.
One of the softer looking scenes was towards the end where there were some minor smoke explosions, which looked a tiny bit pixelated, but it's not a major complaint. Colors look excellent and bold throughout with great primary colors and excellent black levels that are deep and inky. The brown fur on the rabbits, as well as their brightly colored sport coats, look incredible. Skin tones on the real actors are natural and there were no issues with any compression problems to speak of.
The Blu-ray unfortunately does not come with a Dolby Atmos track, but rather a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. It's quite similar to the Atmos option on the 4K UHD Disc, but it isn't as open or immersive as that track is either. Sound effects are all loud and well-balanced throughout the film. There are some fun dynamic sounds throughout, such as when Peter runs through the garden or in a burrowing hole, which lights up the speakers.
Bigger action moments bring the subwoofer to play with good bass that is never rocky or disjointed. Ambient noises in the house, countryside, or even the toy store sound excellent full at all times. The score always adds to the silliness and kid's aspect of the film, while the dialogue is clear and easy to follow along with, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, and shrills.
Mini Movie (HD, 4 Mins.) - A short film with Peter's sisters is shown and is worth the watch. Again, it's all about family with this extra.
Shake Your Cotton Tail Dance Along (HD, 3 Mins.) - If you want to see kids dance to the song from the film, here you go.
Peter Rabbit Mischief in the Making (HD, 8 Mins.) - A promo fluff EPK with cast and crew interviews as they discuss adapting the book to screen, casting, working with live-action and CGI, and more.
While its trailer made Peter Rabbit look awful, the movie was better than expected and had some great voice acting, led by James Corden, along with a good message for the kids. It's just unfortunate that the film relies more on the silly gags than any sort of real character or story development. Still, it's a short, good time for all ages. I'm willing to bet there will be a sequel. This Blu-ray image looks great, however, it can be soft during the bigger action moments. Also, the lack of the Dolby Atmos track here is upsetting, since there were some great scenes that could have benefitted from the full immersive audio experience that the Atmos track provides on the 4K UHD release. Still, this comes Recommended!