Peter Rabbit, the newest live-action/CGI mashup from Columbia Pictures, was better than anybody could have expected it to be. Led by a great voice cast, including 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 4K UHD image with HDR10 is an improvement from the Blu-ray, but only slightly, and the Dolby Atmos track is great. However, the bonus features are less than thrilling. Still, if you want a fun movie night with the family, this comes Recommended!
You can also check out our 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 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Peter Rabbit comes with a dual-layered UHD66 Disc and a Blu-ray Disc. There is an insert for a Digital copy along with an insert for Sony promotions. The discs are housed in a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.
Peter Rabbit has a decent upgraded image compared to the Blu-ray, but only slightly. The HDR10 color spectrum amps up some of the colors in brightly lit outdoor scenes, but otherwise looks very similar to the Blu-ray. Detail is improved upon for sure with the CGI rabbits, which show more individual hairs that flow in the wind. Even when different lighting hits the fur, you'll be able to distinguish them quite a bit. For instance, when Peter and his family are in the dank old house, as opposed to being outside in the hot sun, their fur has different shading in regards to lighting, which looks exquisite. The dirt in the garden gives clear detail to all of the mud and soil aspects of the dirt and Bea's paintings show us the textures in her canvas and paint.
Close-ups reveal makeup effects, individual hairs, and wrinkles in the live-action actor's faces as well. Wider shots are never soft either, even during some of the light fireworks type of explosions that causes smoke in the garden, where none of it was pixelated. Colors in the HDR10 brighten everything up and give way to some excellent looking natural colors in the vegetation, the greenery of the countryside and even the blue skies. The different coats all of the rabbits wear truly make an impression as do their brown and white fur. Black levels were very deep and inky with no crush and the skin tones were very natural. There were no issues with any banding, aliasing, or video noise to speak of, giving this video presentation good marks.
This 4K UHD release comes with a good Dolby Atmos track that is never overbearing or overly loud. It's a kid's film after all. Sound effects are robust and full with some great directionality. A couple of scenes where there are dozens of animals in McGregor's house sounds excellent as these animals are rummaging through the wooden cabinets and going upstairs. There is some great directionality here as well with this. Scenes in the department store also give way to some great ambient noises too. Other big sound effects come with a wooden gate closing, hammers, and even minor explosives, which is where the subwoofer really kicks into gear with bass.
The ambient noises in the garden and countryside sound full too, with a ton of atmospheric nature sounds that give this track some depth. The overhead noises, such as rain and dirt being exploded sound good too, but don't count on too much of these height speakers throughout the entire movie. The music of the film always adds to the silliness of the story as well as keep its younger audience interested, while not drowning out any of the other audio elements. The dialogue is always clear and easy to follow along, 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. The 4K UHD image with HDR10 is a slight improvement over the Blu-ray version and the added Dolby Atmos track adds more life than the 5.1 mix does. The extras don't do anything, but may entertain young kids. Recommended!