Self-aware sequel 4 Stars

Peter Rabbit 2 is a fun sequel that doesn’t quite live up to the prior entry.

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (2021)
Released: 11 Jun 2021
Rated: PG
Runtime: 93 min
Director: Will Gluck
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Cast: Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, David Oyelowo
Writer(s): Will Gluck, Patrick Burleigh, Beatrix Potter
Plot: Thomas and Bea are now married and living with Peter and his rabbit family. Bored of life in the garden, Peter goes to the big city, where he meets shady characters and ends up creating chaos for the whole family.
IMDB rating: 6.2
MetaScore: 43

Disc Information
Studio: Sony
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: PG
Run Time: 1 Hr. 33 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: 2-disc UHD keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 08/24/2021
MSRP: $45.99

The Production: 3.5/5

As Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway opens, Bea (Rose Byrne) and Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) are getting married with Peter (James Corden) as Best Man. Peter and Thomas have come a long way since the first film, yet they still do not entirely trust one another. Peter tries his best, but when he tries to stop badger Tommy Brock (Sam Neill) from stealing Thomas’ tomatoes, Thomas believes the opposite, that Peter is up to his same old tricks. Meanwhile, Bea has self-published her first children’s book based on Peter’s adventures with his sisters Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki), and Cotton-tail (Aimee Horne, replacing Daisy Ridley) and cousin Benjamin (Colin Moody) to rousing success, so much so that it has attracted the attention of publisher Nigel Basil-Jones (David Oyelowo). Nigel wants to publish a series of books on Peter Rabbit, but only if Bea agrees to make Peter more of a rascal and the adventures more outrageous. Thomas, still upset over the incident with his tomatoes, impulsively agrees with Nigel. This hurts Peter’s feelings and quickly slips out of the meeting, wandering the streets of London where he meets an older rabbit, Barnabas (Lennie James), who has just stolen from a fruit stand. It seems that Barnabas may have known Peter’s father, and the two hit it off, getting captured by a pet store and adopted out to a family. Peter gets a real taste of what it’s like to be truly naughty, and Barnabas likes Peter’s quick thinking and problem-solving skills. After escaping the family, Peter meets the rest of Barnabas’ gang, including Mittens (Hayley Atwell), Tom Kitten (Damon Herriman), and Samuel Whiskers (Rupert Degas). Barnabas wants to plan a heist at the Farmer’s Market, but needs more hands to pull off the task. Peter agrees to enlist his family and friends, returning home to the farm to retrieve them. Peter is about to learn a lesson he won’t soon forget, one that will also help him form a bond with Thomas.

As sequels go, Peter Rabbit 2 sticks to its guns for the most part, delivering many of the same hijinks from the first film (although not relying on the Home Alone antics of the first film as much). Co-writer and director Will Gluck (Easy A) has made this film more self-aware of the criticisms made against the first film, often winking at the audience when those are referenced, particularly during the meetings at the book publisher. The film also feels very familiar, partially because it follows much of the same formula as the first film (especially during the first half), but also due to the fact that I must have seen the trailer for the sequel more times than I could count during its many delays over the last year due to the pandemic. So much so, that I thought the wedding during the opening sequence was a flashback to the ending of the first film. The three lead human actors – Byrne, Gleeson, and Oyelowo – appear to be having a lot of fun with their characters in the movie, while the voice actors are a delight, often blending seamlessly with their CG animated characters (credit should also be given to those animators at Animal Logic who have made these animals even more photo-realistic this time around). Peter Rabbit 2 is a fun but rather forgettable film, one that does not quite live up to its original.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Peter Rabbit 2 was captured in 6K resolution with Sony CineAlta Venice cameras and completed as a 2K digital intermediate in the 2.39 aspect ratio with Dolby Vision high dynamic range for its premium theatrical engagements. Sony’s HEVC-encoded 2160p upscale uses HDR10 high dynamic range on this UHD disc release. It is the use of HDR that elevates this UHD disc over its Blu-ray counterpart, allowing for deeper blacks and increased contrast, leaving the Blu-ray appearing as if it has a sheen of haze in many sequences. Detail is better resolved on the UHD disc, thanks to both the higher resolution and higher bitrate. Wood grain in the floors, individual hairs, stitches in fabric are all well-defined, even dust on the pet store van. Colors are natural and vivid without appearing over-saturated. Another terrific upscaled release from Sony.

Audio: 4.5/5

Default audio on the UHD disc is Dolby Atmos (with a TrueHD 7.1 core). While not a showy track, it is wide and expansive, with sounds moving more seamlessly around the room than on the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track found on the Blu-ray. Heights are used more for atmospherics and music extensions than any discrete effects. LFE is robust where needed, and dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.

Special Features: 3/5

The UHD disc starts out with trailers (in 2160p/HDR10) for Peter Rabbit and Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (which was offloaded to Amazon Prime Video last week – oops!). However, there are no other special features on the UHD disc. All of the special features can be found on the included Blu-ray disc, and with one exception, most are aimed at a younger audience.

Bunnies, Baddies, and the Big City: Making “Peter Rabbit 2” (1080p; 9:18): A quick but interesting look at the production of the movie, featuring interviews with key members of the cast and crew.

Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s Wee Little Kitchen (1080p; 4:59): How to bake a blueberry pie in a miniature kitchen.

Bea’s Crafting Corner: DIY Bunny Bookmarks (1080p; 4:50): Shows kids how to make their own bunny-shaped bookmark.

Bea’s Crafting Corner: Create Your Own Woodland Terrarium (1080p; 4:36): Shows kids how to make their own small terrarium.

Fun from Peter Rabbit: Make Your Own McGregor Garden (1080p; 17:03): Shows kids how to make an indoor garden using household items. This looks like it was a leftover extra from the first Peter Rabbit movie release, as it features Daisy Ridley makes a few appearances in the interview segments.

Fun from Peter Rabbit: “Flopsy Turvy: A Peter Rabbit Mini-Movie” (1080p; 4:00): This is the same short that appeared on the first Peter Rabbit movie release.

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a 4K digital copy on Movies Anywhere and will also give points on Sony Rewards if connected to your Movies Anywhere account (and count towards your Movie Buff Pass).

Overall: 4/5

Peter Rabbit 2 is a fun sequel that doesn’t quite live up to the prior entry.

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Published by

Todd Erwin