Beatrix Potter’s beloved rascal Peter Rabbit returns for his second cinematic outing in Peter Rabbit 2. Recently arriving on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD, the follow up to Will Gluck’s 2018 hit Peter Rabbit picks up where the original left off. Peter (James Corden) is adjusting to a new life where Bea (Rose Byrne) and Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson) are happily married. While his reckless antics still leads him to butt heads with Thomas, Peter has become a bit of a local celebrity thanks to Bea’s children’s book about him.
The success of the book catches the eye of Nigel Basil-Jones (David Oyelowo), a charismatic publisher who sees big merchandising potential in Bea’s characters. Inviting the entire family to Gloucester to hear his pitch, the trip soon turns sour for Peter when he realizes that many view him as a bad seed. Believing that he is simply misunderstood, Peter takes to the mean streets to embrace the bad boy persona others have saddled him with.
It is when roaming the streets that he meets Barnabass (Lennie James), a grizzled rabbit who claims to be former friends with Peter’s dad. Taking Peter under his wing, Barnabass introduces the loveable rouge to a life of crime that he is not prepared for. Working with a highly orchestrated crew of animals, the old but wily rabbit is plotting the robbery of the century at the local Farmer’s Market. A crime that will not only test Peter’s loyalties, but also force him to question the type of rabbit he really wants to be.
Hitting on many of the same comedic beats as its predecessor, younger audiences will find plenty of slapstick comedy to enjoy in Peter Rabbit 2. However, adults will not be so lucky. The film’s most interesting moments arrive when Gluck settles into the rhythms of a heist film. Unfortunately, the director has no real interest in delving into these tropes with any depth. The heist itself is enjoyable but is quickly discarded for a rescue mission that feels detached from the rest of the film.
There is also a disconnect with the way Bea’s subplot evolves and the overall messaging of the film. Bea’s arc is meant to show the alluring temptation of money and the ways it can stifle artistic integrity. However, it is never lost on the viewer that they are watching a sequel that is clearly is designed to sell more products across multiple platforms. The loosely woven plot only further reinforces this.
While Peter Rabbit 2 often feels like it is going though the motions, the Blu-ray has some rather interesting features that youngsters will love. The “Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s Wee Little Kitchen” feature is an oddly intriguing segment that teaches kids to bake via a mini-pie that is barely bigger than a thimble. Kids will also enjoy making homemade bookmarks via the steps outlined in “Bea’s Crafting Corner: DIY Bunny Bookmarks.”
Never building upon the original in any meaningful way, Peter Rabbit 2 is a film that talks a lot about artistic integrity and being true to oneself, but the film itself feels rather hollow.
Bonus Features: Bunnies, Baddies, and the Big City: The Making of Peter Rabbit 2; Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s Wee Little Kitchen; Bea’s Crafting Corner: DIY Bunny Bookmarks; Bea’s Crafting Corner: Create Your Own Woodland Terrarium.