Follow TV Tropes


Film / Peter Rabbit

Go To
"Yeah, sorry about that. That's not the story we're telling. No, were here for Peter Rabbit. The hero of our tale. A rabbit in a blue coat and no pants."
Narrator, Flopsy

Peter Rabbit is a 2018 live-action film with CGI characters inspired by Beatrix Potter's classic children's tales. The second feature based on Potter's tales after 1971's The Tales of Beatrix Potter, which featured the Royal Ballet, the movie stars James Corden as the voice of Peter Rabbit, Domhnall Gleeson as Thomas McGregor, Daisy Ridley as Cottontail, Margot Robbie as Flopsy, Elizabeth Debicki as Mopsy, Rose Byrne as Bea, and Sam Neill as Mr. McGregor.

Peter, his three sisters and the rest of their friends and foes spend their days in Mr. McGregor's garden. But after Peter defeats his longtime human foe, one of his relatives, Thomas McGregor moves in to get rid of Peter and his pals. But the challenge won't be easy.

Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2.

A sequel, Peter Rabbit 2 The Runaway, was slated for release on April 3, 2020, but was ultimately moved to January 15, 2021 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic closing theaters temporarily. Then, due to the continued effects of the pandemic, the film was delayed again, eventually releasing in Australia on March 25, 2021 and in the United Kingdom on May 17, 2021. It finally released in the United States on June 11, 2021.

Peter Rabbit contains examples of:

  • Actor IS the Title Character: The poster states that James Corden is PETER RABBIT.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In the original books where Peter, Benjamin, and Peter's sisters are young adults, Benjamin and Flopsy were married and had baby rabbits of their own. In the films, Benjamin and Flopsy's relationship is treated like a typical brother-sister dynamic, most likely because they're cousins in the books. Marrying your cousin was acceptable in Beatrix Potter's day, but nowadays it's frowned upon.
  • Adaptation Species Change: In the original books, Benjamin is the same breed as Peter and the rest of his family. In this movie and the sequel, Benjamin is a Holland Lop.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the books, Tommy Brock the badger kidnapped Benjamin Bunny's children with the intent of eating them. Here he does nothing of the sort and is on good terms with Peter and his family.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Mr. Tod. In the books the rabbits were terrified of him, here Peter acts like he's another woodland neighbor.
  • Adapted Out: Peter's mother Josephine Rabbit and Benjamin's father old Mr. Bouncer are nowhere to be seen. Justified because Josephine died prior to the events of the film.
    • Mrs. Tabitha Twitchit alongside her kittens (Tom, Mittens, and Moppet) are also one of the few Beatrix Potter characters that aren't present. Averted in the sequel, where Tom Kitten and his sister Mittens make a proper appearance but as antagonists.
  • Age Lift: Peter, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Benjamin are adults here instead of children like they were in the books — well the first two books. As for the girls, they are now noticeably younger than Peter and Benjamin.
  • The Alcoholic: Drinking too much was one of the things that led to Old Mr. McGregor having a heart attack.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: Peter's parents are dead but we don't know where Benjamin's parents are.
  • Anachronism Stew: The film takes place in the modern day, but the animals still wear Edwardian clothing.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: The animals celebrate after old Mr. McGregor dies (of a heart attack) by trashing his house in a wild party.
  • Artistic License – Biology: In the trailer, Mrs. Tiggywinkle is shown shooting spines from her back; hedgehogs can't actually do this in real life. note 
  • Art Shift: There is a sequence told through Bea's paintings in the style of the original books that shows what happened to the father of Peter and his sisters.
  • Ass Shove: Discussed. Peter wants to stick a carrot up Old Mr. McGregor's bottom, but he never does.
  • Ax-Crazy: Thomas goes absolutely nuts when he ends up on the receiving end of Peter and his gang pelting him with blackberries to the point that he suffers his food allergy.
  • Author Avatar: Bea, a kindhearted animal and nature lover who paints for a living, is quite clearly a modernised/fictionalised version of Beatrix Potter.
  • Big Eater: All the animals eat a lot. The pig is trying to eat less but always fails.
  • Bindle Stick: The poster for the sequel, The Runaway, depicts Peter as using a giant carrot as one of these, the bindle containing other fruits and vegetables.
  • Blatant Lies: After old Mr. McGregor dies of a heart attack brought on by a lifetime of unhealthy eating habits, Peter claims to his family that he was the one to induce it (though his sisters later admit they knew all along he was lying).
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Peter says that Thomas is faking his blackberry allergy to make him seem more redeemable to Bea, Benjamin lampshades this by stating that many people have serious allergies. Peter agrees with him, saying that he wouldn't want to get any letters on the subject, whilst looking directly at the camera.
  • Broken Aesop: The movie's moral about sharing is severely undercut by the animals' selfish behavior and numerous thefts. Peter is the only one who gets taken to task for this, with the culpability of every other animal conveniently ignored.
  • Butt-Monkey: Thomas McGregor gets the brunt of the film's slapstick, from having his hands caught in traps and stepping on rakes to being electrocuted multiple times.
  • Canon Foreigner: The human leads — Thomas McGregor, the great-grand nephew of the original Mr. Joe McGregor and Bea, a local animal lover.
  • Cassandra Truth: Thomas constantly pleas Bea to believe him that the rabbits are far more intelligent and aware than they let on. When Peter accidentally destroys the rabbits' home and her studio, she still doesn't believe Thomas that a rabbit blew up the tree and blames him for what happened, until near the end Peter comes forward and admits to his crime.
  • Casting Gag: In a 1990 film, Sam Neill played a fellow who was anticipating living in the countryside where he would raise rabbits and have a wife who would cook them for him.
  • Chaos While They're Not Looking: While Bea's out of the room, Peter and McGregor drop the nice guy act and try to beat the stuffing out of each other. Just as McGregor's about to smash Peter with a book, they hear Bea approaching and she comes back in to find the two of them sweetly reading together. Then subverted later on in the fight when Peter yanks his opponent's trousers down and McGregor crouches behind a painting, expecting Bea to come back in — only she doesn't. "Huh. I just assumed she would have re-entered at that exact moment."
  • Colour-Coded Characters: Peter wears his trademark blue jacket, Benjamin wears his brown jacket, and the triplets wear colour-coded clothes (Flopsy has a red shrug with a black collar, Mopsy wears a button-up yellow shirt and Cotton-tail wears a sea green jacket.
  • Composite Character: Benjamin combines elements of his character from the original books and the 2012 cartoon: In the books, he was as reckless and as adventurous (sometimes more so) as Peter, but in the 2012 series, he was a cautious Lovable Coward, and often followed Peter's lead. This version is mostly a cautious follower (like in the series), but more open to adventure, and willing to stand up to Peter (similar to the original version).
  • Compressed Abstinence: The pig is trying to eat less, despite not being overweight or unhealthy.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: It occurs to Thomas McGregor during his battle with Peter in Bea's art studio.
  • Demoted to Extra: While most of the animal characters from the books appear in crowd scenes, no-one other than Peter and his family receive any real focus.
  • Denser and Wackier: The movie is much hammier and more over-the-top than the otherwise whimsical books, with a heavy emphasis on pop culture references and slapstick humor.
  • Disappeared Dad: Neither Peter's nor Benjamin's fathers are seen. Peter's father is dead, but it's unknown what happened to Benjamin's father.
  • Discretion Shot: One of the final shots of the film is of the badger picking up one of the chicks, smiling affectionately at it, and then opening his mouth, with it cutting away just before he eats it.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Benjamin says this to Peter as he actually is explaining a joke he just told.
  • Dub Name Change: The surname McGregor is changed to "Severino" in the Brazilian Portuguese dub.
  • Entitled Bastard: Peter and the other animals seem to really think they have every right to take what they want from McGregor's garden as it's part of "their home"; never mind the fact that they don't plant, grow or tend the fruit and vegetables themselves. Well, at least initially...
  • Evil Brit: Downplayed with Thomas. He is not evil and is actually a really Nice Guy. He is very just short tempered and sometimes holds the Jerk with a Heart of Gold status. He is also from london and has a British accent, like the rest of the characters.
  • Expressive Ears: All of the rabbits have them.
  • Faux Final Line: When Peter and McGregor are in the middle of a huge fight with one another, Bea keeps reentering at random moments, at which point they pretend to be getting along fine. During one of these instances, McGregor grabs a book and says, "and that's what makes us different from the French."
  • Get Out!: Thomas McGregor to all of the animals after first arriving at his new house.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Besides being prevented from raiding the garden, Peter hates Thomas McGregor because the man quickly charms and wins over Bea.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: The movie is actually built on this. Thomas isn't actually a snarling villain; while obsessed with the rabbits continuously destroying his home and seemingly plotting against him, he also has good qualities in that he genuinely cares for Bea and is very good at his work in the toy department at Harrod's. Similarly, while Peter is the protagonist, he's given several What the Hell, Hero? moments as he indulges in mischief without realizing the unintended consequences.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: A bunch of these are shown in a row during the montage of Mr. McGregor's unhealthy eating habits.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Thomas McGregor's main flaw, which gets him fired from his job and only exacerbates his feud with the animals.
  • Groin Attack:It happens to McGregor when the rabbits are firing fruit at him "You know where to aim".
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Most of the animals wear shirts/jackets/etc, but no pants, the sparrows even point out that Peter doesn't wear pants.
  • Heel Realization: When their feud comes to a head and wind up destroying the burrow and Bea's painting room, both Thomas and Peter realize they've taken things too far. Thomas understands that he ruined his relationship with Bea, and Peter realized he's taken everything from Bea and his family as well.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Years of horrible eating and drinking habits lead to Mr. McGregor having a heart attack and dying just at the moment where he's finally about to kill his nemesis.
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: Downplayed; While the main focus is still on Peter and his family, the human characters get a lot of screentime and heavily factor into the story (as opposed to other versions, where Mr. [McGregor] is pretty much the only human around, and merely serves as an obstacle to be overcome).
  • In Name Only: Sort of. By first glance, it seems like the only thing the film has in common with the original book series is that the characters share the same names and looks as their original counterparts from the books. However, this trope is ultimately subverted as the source material does exist In-Universe thanks to Peter's human friend Bea (a not so subtle version of Beatrix Potter), who did the art for the books based on the real Peter and his family.
  • Jerkass Mr. McGregor is a crotchety old grouch who has no remorse about the fact that he killed Peter's father and had him made into a pie. Even Bea can't find a kind word to say about him after his death even when she tries to out of respect to his great-nephew (who never knew the man, so it doesn't bother him).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Even though Peter has a penchant for stealing vegetables to the point that he celebrates Mr. McGregor dying of a heart attack, although to be fair the man did also kill his father, he does deeply love his friends and relatives, as shown when they inadvertently cause Thomas and Bea to break up over the incident with the dynamite.
  • Left the Background Music On: Thomas McGregor is shown playing the violin, but before he answers the door, the music continues to play even when he stops; turns out the music is coming from a radio which he shuts off.
  • Logo Joke: During the Columbia Pictures logo, the camera zooms in and as taking a few degree turn, we can see the birds flying pass the statue into the actual setting of the movie. This is also the reason why the Sony Pictures Animation logo came out first instead of after the Columbia Pictures logo.
  • Meta Guy: Primarily Peter, when he discusses the various "character flaws" of the rabbits and comments at length about the almost unbelievability of the trap the rabbits set with the animal traps, rakes, and a wheelbarrow. Other examples include a couple commenting that the McGregor mansion looks like a 3D version of a storybook and Benjamin echoing Peter's "character flaws" discussion.
    • Also Thomas, since he's the only one who seems to think it's weird that apparently wild rabbits are wearing perfectly rabbit-sized clothing.
  • Missing Mom: Peter and Benjamin's mothers are not seen. With Peter's mother, she's dead, but it's unknown what happened to Benjamin's mother.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Both Peter and Thomas. They're both protagonists, but Peter feels he should be allowed access to the garden and Thomas initially thinks rabbits are vermin and can have temper tantrums when he's angry.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Peter and his siblings are devastated when they realized that they tricked Thomas into breaking up with Bea and accidentally destroyed theirs and Bea's home when trying to expose Thomas.
  • Narrator All Along: An older Flopsy who has lost her lisp turns out to be the narrator.
  • Nearly Normal Animal: The animals can talk and wear clothes, but act a lot more like their actual species than animals.
  • Neat Freak: Thomas McGregor is a huge neat freak, going so far as to want the toilets to be clean enough to drink from.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Even though Thomas throws his dynamite at the rabbits, no injuries were visible.
  • Not What It Looks Like: During Thomas and Peter's struggle, they accidentally paint a stipe on one of Bea's portraits. As Bea reenters the room, she sees Peter holding the paint brush in his mouth and next to the ruined portrait. Naturally, she believes Peter committed the deed and puts him outside in the rain.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: When Bea decides to greet her new neighbor who just moved into the McGregor mansion, she makes insulting comments regarding the late McGregor without even suspecting that the newcomer became the mansion's new owner by being the late owner's next-of-kin.
  • Plot Allergy: Thomas McGregor is allergic to blackberries. Later the rabbits pelt him with blackberries, eventually landing one directly in his mouth, but he gives himself an injection.
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: Happens twice in the movie. The first is with Thomas McGregor after uncovering Pigling Bland with a sheet. The other time is when Pigling Bland falls from the ceiling, which freaks a couple out that bought the McGregor house when Thomas wanted the house back, despite how the sale was final.
  • Running Gag:
    • The sparrow narrators singing and characters bumping into them and then apologising.
    • Tommy failing to hide by pretending to be an object and covering his eyes.
    • Felix the deer acting mesmerized at headlights.
    • Benjamin complaining of being out of shape. Peter suggests it's because he doesn't take his salad dressing on the side.
    • The girls arguing over who's the eldest. It leads up to The Reveal that Cottontail was the eldest sister the whole time!
    • Cottontail doing daredevil things and claiming she's broken ribs.
  • Starring Special Effects: Main character Peter Rabbit, along with his rabbit friends, are animated in CGI.
  • Setting Update: As mentioned above, the film takes place in modern times. The original books took place (and were written) during the Edwardian era.
  • Shell Game: At one point, Thomas McGregor ends up in a version of this with Benjamin, with McGregor searching for him under three pots lined up a row, only for Benjamin to keep switching pots faster than he can see. Finally he pulls up both the left and right ones at the same time, only for Peter to sneak under the middle one between his legs.
  • Shout-Out: After Pigling Bland chastises Peter Rabbit for not being the prodigal son after, Cotton-tail chastises him with "That'll do pig, that'll do," a reference to the famous final line from Babe.
  • Sibling Rivalry: The girls sometimes argue over who should do what and who's the eldest (since even they don't know).
  • Sibling Seniority Squabble: Mopsy claims that she's 16 seconds older than Flopsy and Cotton-tail, however, she admits later as she thinks she's dying that she isn't the oldest, that Flopsy actually is, and that Dad had just old her she was the oldest to make her feel better. After she realizes that she's covered in tomato, not blood, she tells Flopsy "You never heard any of that stuff." When this is brought up again later on, it's revealed that Cotton-tail is actually the eldest sister!
  • Species Subversives: Zigzagged for Robinson, the pig. He's trying to go on a diet, defying Gluttonous Pig, but he's bad at following said diet. Despite this, however, he does invert Messy Pig, dressing in formal attire and speaking in a posh accent.
  • Speech Impediment: Flopsy speaks with a lisp.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: When Thomas decides he's finally had enough of the rabbits getting in his way, he resorts to killing them with dynamite.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Once Thomas decides he's had enough after the rabbits attack him with blackberries, he resorts to lobbing sticks of dynamite he placed in their home to kill them.
  • Toilet Humour:
    • When Old Mr. McGregor bends down, Peter can see his butt crack and wants to lodge a carrot up it.
    • Thomas McGregor prepares to drink from a toilet to prove that the toilets are clean enough to drink from.
  • Too Dumb to Live: After Old Man McGregor dies of a heart attack, a brief Montage of Old Man Mc Gregor's terrible lifestyle habits plays out:
    • Despite having a garden rich with vegetables and fruits, all Old Man McGregor ate throughout the his 78 years of life was heavily processed and artificial junk food (processed cheese spread, chip butty sandwiches, cakes, etc.)
    • In one part of Old Man McGregor's unhealthy habits montage, he is shown eating a sandwich while scraping asbestos off a door frame. The toxic flakes land on the sandwich, but McGregor keeps eating it.
    • In the penultimate scene of the montage, McGregor drinks water from a birdfeeder fountain!
  • Ultimate Universe: Despite the title, the trailer shows every character from every Potter story, excepting Pickles, the Two Bad Mice, Robinson's family, and the cats. At least some of the latter make an appearance in the sequel, The Runaway.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: Thomas McGregor receives one from a relative he never heard of before being informed of the relative's death.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Peter himself, since it's actually pointed out that his selfish actions were unacceptable.
  • Vegetarian Carnivore: In the sequel, a fox briefly chases Peter before being reminded that he doesn't need to eat meat, as the carnivores in the garden have switched to an all-vegetable diet. Averted later in the movie, when a squirrel tries to take advantage of this by pestering him without fear of retribution, only to be gleefully told by said fox that that day is his cheat day.
  • Weaponized Allergy: The rabbits use Thomas McGregor's allergy to blackberries against him by sling-shotting blackberries at him, forcing him to stop and use his Epi-Pen.
  • Weirdness Censor: Thomas McGregor seems to take more issue with the fact that rodents are infesting his new property and less with the fact that they're semi-anthropormorphic and wear clothes....which frankly should be the more horrifying realization. He's still the only human who takes some issue with the clothes.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After the feud with Thomas destroys the rabbits' home and causes Bea to leave, Benjamin wastes no time calling out Peter on his selfish actions.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: After McGregor ends up dying of a heart attack, the rabbits and other animals waste no time in moving into his garden and house. When his great-nephew arrives, they are forced back out, kick-starting the main events of the film.


Video Example(s):


Rabbits Can't Talk

In "Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway," the sequel to "Peter Rabbit," Mr. MacGregor chastises Peter, saying that he's made a mess of things and is never going to learn. Peter replies that he never gives him a chance. As Peter has never talked in front of him before, Mr. MacGregor is stunned, asking if he just talked. "Could be your imagination," replies Peter. "Could be the radio," he continues, imitating a DJ, saying that he's playing all of the hits and none of the talk, especially not Peter, because rabbits can't talk.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / YouCanTalk

Media sources: