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Will Gluck
James Corden, Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson
Writing Credits:
Will Gluck, Patrick Burleigh

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.

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Descriptive Service
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Audio Descriptive Service
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1
Portuguese Descriptive Audio
Supplements Subtitles:

93 min.
Price: $38.99
Release Date: 8/24/2021

• “Bunnies, Baddies and the Big City” Featurette
• “Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s Wee Kitchen” Featurette
• “Bea’s Crafting Corner” Featurettes
• “Fun From Peter Rabbit” Featurettes
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 30, 2021)

Back in 2018, Peter Rabbit offered a modern-day mix of live-action and CG animation to update Beatrix Potter’s classic story. Though not a huge hit, it did enough to inspire 2021’s Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway.

In the first film, Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) and Peter Rabbit (voiced by James Corden) butted heads about the ownership of various produce items. Lovely Bea (Rose Byrne) protected Peter and his animal friends, a factor that caused friction with Thomas.

The two eventually came to terms and fell in love, so Runaway opens with their wedding. Peter struggles to deal the concept of former foe Thomas as his father figure, and Thomas wants human children though Bea seems content to maintain a critter family.

While Thomas attempts to start his own vegetable business, Bea strikes gold with her self-published book about Peter and his pals. This attracts attention from Nigel Basil-Jones (David Oyelowo), the head of a big London publishing company who wants Bea to dumb down the tales for a mass audience.

These alterations paint the mischievous Peter as a “bad seed”, and confronted with this negative view, Peter leans into the role and becomes part of an animal criminal ring led by Barnabas (Lennie James), an older rabbit who claims he knew Peter’s deceased dad. All of these factors take Peter and the rest on a bunch of adventures.

Man, that seems like a long synopsis for a kiddie movie like Runaway. I probably could’ve just gone with “Peter and pals go on a bunch of adventures” and left it at that, as even with all those character and plot beats, the film really does focus mainly on wacky scenarios.

That becomes a problem, as Runaway often feels like it puts the carrot behind the cart or whatever mangled metaphor you prefer. The first film came with a pretty simple “man vs. bunny” story, and it worked, as it threw out enough clever bits to keep us entertained.

Runaway seems to feel less confident in its ability to maintain an audience, which might be why it delves into so many different plot points. The film seems awfully scattered and disjointed at times, as it doesn’t appear to know where it wants to go.

The main casualty relates to the human characters, and that becomes an issue. One of the prior movie’s strengths came from Gleeson’s dynamic turn as the tale’s “bad guy”, and the flick managed to milk a lot of mirth from the simple “man vs. beast” story.

Though he occasionally gets moments to shine, Gleeson plays a less prominent role here, and Byrne gets a bit lost in the shuffle as well. Honestly, their subplots tend to feel extraneous, as if the movie includes them to fill space but not for much other real purpose.

Not that the main narrative about Peter’s potential split from his family seems especially memorable either. As mentioned, much of Runaway appears to exist to put Peter and the others in comedic circumstances.

This means the story melds itself to these moments. In a better film, the gags would evolve from plot points, but here it works in reverse.

I don’t want to sound too down on Runaway, as even with its messy narrative, it still manages pretty decent entertainment value. Like with the first movie, it delivers more than a few clever comedic beats that will resonate with adults.

Runaway also musters enough of a wink at itself to amuse. The filmmakers know that they’re guilty of some of the sins they accuse Basil-Jones of committing, and they enjoy this meta tone.

The actors fare pretty well in their parts. As mentioned, Gleeson and Byrne get less to do this time, but they still add to their characters, and the voice actors bring out the best in their roles as well.

Truthfully, the biggest issue with Runaway might come from expectations. Though I anticipated a crass piece of kid-oriented junk with the first movie, I thought it worked nicely, and that led me into the sequel with the belief it’d be good.

If I’d entered Runaway on its own, I’d probably like it more. However, since the first film elevated my expectations, it becomes a moderate disappointment.

Though not a major letdown, and that counts for something. Runaway fails to find the same irreverent glee and wit of its predecessor, but it creates decent entertainment.

Footnote: some extra material shows up during the end credits. Once the cast list runs, nothing significant appears after that.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a positive presentation.

Overall definition looked good. Virtually no softness materialized, so the film appeared accurate and concise.

I noticed no jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes stayed absent. No print flaws cropped up either.

Runaway offered a fair amount of teal, with some orange/amber tossed in as well along with occasional splashes of other hues. The disc made the colors look solid.

Blacks were dark and deep, and low-light shots showed good clarity and smoothness. I felt pleased with this fine image.

Given its frequent slapstick orientation, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 opened up pretty well. Though the film didn’t include as many slam-bang set pieces as a typical action flick, it brought out some good sequences.

Elements were properly placed and moved about the setting in a convincing way. The surrounds contributed a nice sense of space and involvement. Music depicted positive stereo imaging and the entire presentation offered a good feeling of environment.

Audio quality fared well. Speech was accurate and distinctive, without notable edginess or other issues. Music sounded full-blooded and rich, as the score was rendered nicely.

Effects showed good range and definition. They demonstrated solid low-end and were impressive across the board. Ultimately, this was an appealing track.

A handful of extras round out the set, and Bunnies, Baddies and the Big City runs nine minutes, 18 seconds. It brings comments from writer/director Will Gluck, producers Jodi Hildebrand and Zarek Nalbandian, location manager Jeremy Peek, production designer Roger Ford, animation director Simon Pickard, visual effects supervisors Will Reichelt and Matt Middleton, and actors Domhnall Gleeson, James Corden, Rose Byrne, and David Oyelowo.

The featurette looks at story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, visual effects and animation. While we find plenty of the usual happy talk, a few good notes emerge – and I find it hilarious and refreshing to hear Oyelowo and Gleeson tell us how much they hate acting with non-existent animals.

Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s Wee Kitchen spans four minutes, 59 seconds and provides a lesson how to bake a fruit pie. To fit the title, the instructor does so in a tiny kitchen to make a tiny pie. This seems like an odd tutorial, though it does come with text directions to create a human-sized pie at the end.

Under Bea’s Crafting Corner, we get two segments: “DIY Bunny Bookmarks” (4:50) and “Create Your Own Woodland Terrarium” (4:36). We get more tutorials from these. Maybe kids will enjoy these lessons.

Fun From Peter Rabbit breaks into two sections as well: “Make Your Own McGregor Garden” (17:03) and “Flopsy Turvy” (4:00). “Garden” offers yet another educational piece, as it teachers kids how to grow plants. At least this one gains a little intrigue because it includes a few appearances by actors James Corden, Elizabeth Debicki, Margot Robbie and Daisy Ridley.

As for “Turvy”, it presents a short “mini movie” in which Flopsy, butts head with sisters Mopsy and Cotton-Tail. It seems lackluster, but at least the original actors reprise their roles.

The disc opens with ads for Peter Rabbit, Hotel Transylvania: Transformania, Honey Girls and Labyrinth. No trailer for Runaway appears here.

Because I enjoyed the first movie, I entered Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway with moderately elevated expectations. Though the sequel didn’t live up to those hopes, it still provided reasonable entertainment value. The Blu-ray brings excellent picture, good audio and a mix of bonus materials. Though not up to the level of the prior flick, Runaway still seems fairly fun.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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