Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
By Stefan Pape,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Superior sequel with slapstick violence pokes fun at itself.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Although only loosely based on the original Beatrix Potter stories, the movie may inspire kids to seek out the original books.
Don't allow other people's perceptions of you to form who you are. Characters demonstrate courage. Value of family, teamwork. Characters also steal, use violence, become motivated by money. But they eventually realize the error of their ways.
Positive Role Models
Peter has learned from his mistakes in the original movie. He used to steal tomatoes from the garden; now he prevents others from stealing. But when Peter is painted as a villain in the books written about him, he feels he has to become one in real life. He is taken in by a gang of criminal animals who steal and aren't afraid to use violence to get what they want. Peter starts to disregard his family, forgets who is really important to him. But he eventually realizes his mistake and that actually he's a well-meaning rabbit with a good heart. Mr. McGregor has a stormy relationship with Peter but admits that he actually sees the rabbit like a son. Peter in turn sees Mr. McGregor as a father figure.
Violence & Scariness
Slapstick violence throughout; some scenes are quite aggressive. Peter punches and kicks Mr. McGregor repeatedly in the face. A group of animals trip up a number of farmers, knocking them over and hitting them pretty hard. The animals also attack someone in their own home; homeowner hits their head on a doorframe while running away. While in a boxing ring, a character hits someone hard in the face. In one unsettling sequence, a pig is hung by a rope; it's revealed to be just a prank. Animals are caged by humans in a pet store, sold against their will. Humans try to hit and capture rabbits. A hedgehog bites a wire, briefly getting electrocuted.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Couple discuss having a child. Character develops romantic feelings for their colleague. A hedgehog jokes about having sex appeal.
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Characters insult each other, but without using strong language. A character refers to another as a "sissy." Some crude humor in the form of burping.
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Products & Purchases
Movie promotes notion of buying fresh produce, with various characters spending time at a farmer's market. Part of the story involves idea of someone selling their stories about Peter Rabbit. Initially reluctant to sell, the author is persuaded by the prospect of becoming rich, wanting a fancy sports car, their story being turned into a movie. But they eventually have a change of heart.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
During a break-in, some animals take a bottle of champagne from the fridge and spray it all over someone. After a rabbit eats sweets, it is implied that they are high and hallucinating, mimicking experience of drug use. The rabbit even suffers withdrawal symptoms when going without.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway is the action-packed sequel to Peter Rabbit. It's loosely based on Beatrix Potter's books and has lots of comic violence. Although Peter (voiced by James Corden) has learned from the mistakes of the first movie -- he now protects Mr. McGregor's (Domhnall Gleeson) tomato garden, stopping others from stealing the produce -- he falls in with a group of criminal animals. This leads to various violent altercations, including punching and kicking people in the face, although there's no sense of any lasting injuries. Animals are seen caged in a pet store; in another scene, humans try to capture and hurt the rabbits. There's an unsettling moment when a pig is hung by the waist with a rope, though it ends up being a prank on Peter. The language is mild, but a character is called a "sissy." Bea (Rose Byrne) almost decides to sell her stories about Peter after she's offered a lot of money -- and even a movie adaptation. But she decides, after much temptation, not to give up her morals for materialistic goods. One of the rabbits is seen eating sweets and subsequently has a drug-like experience (when she goes without, she even suffers withdrawal symptoms). Although many of the characters stray from what's right, they eventually realize the error of their ways.
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Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway
Based on 12 parent reviews
Great Funny film with slapsticking violence
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Mickey mouse Beats up Choo-choo Charels in PR
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What's the Story?
PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY finds Peter (voiced by James Corden) living happily together with his owner, Bea (Rose Byrne), and her husband (and Peter's former adversary), Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson). But when Bea is tempted to sell the rights to her stories about Peter -- to publisher Nigel Basil-Jones (David Oyelowo) -- Peter realizes that in this franchise he's painted as a villain. Disheartened, he leaves his family behind and is taken under the wing of fellow rabbit Barnabas (Lennie James), who introduces him to a life of crime.
Is It Any Good?
Unlike the 2018 original, this sequel is a fun and entertaining adventure flick, with enjoyable action-heavy sequences and an impressively regular hit rate of jokes. Though not possessing the same British charm of the original books, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, helmed by American director Will Gluck (Easy A), is very self-aware. Corden once again voices Peter, and the film highlights, on more than one occasion, that his voice annoys some -- a criticism regularly thrown at the first movie. Furthermore, the whole narrative plays with the notion of a huge Hollywood adaptation of a popular series of kids' books losing sight of what made the stories so popular in the first place. It's all very meta.
Yet while it should be commended for poking fun at itself, the movie is still guilty of the very crime it's highlighting. That said, it is funny and it never fails to keep your attention. It's also a film that can be enjoyed by all the family, although some of the more extreme slapstick violence may be too much for younger viewers. Purists may still turn their noses up, but this sequel deserves credit for improving on what was a disappointing first movie with a large dose of self-deprecating humor.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the action and violence in Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway. The violence may be slapstick in its approach, but it is regular and often quite full-on. Did you find the violence funny, or at times was it too aggressive?
Discuss the idea of being unfairly judged, or underestimated. Have you ever felt that way? Did you prove the doubter wrong? If so, how?
Discuss the dilemma that Bea faces with regard to selling the stories she's written about Peter. Why was she tempted to sell them? What changed her mind? What would you have done in her situation?
How did this movie compare to the first film? What were the differences? Which did you prefer and why?
Have you read the original Peter Rabbit books by Beatrix Potter? How did this movie compare? What is the appeal of movies based on books?
- In theaters: June 11, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: August 17, 2021
- Cast: James Corden, Elizabeth Debicki, Lennie James
- Director: Will Gluck
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Sony Pictures Releasing
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters, Horses and Farm Animals, Wild Animals
- Character Strengths: Courage, Teamwork
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some rude humor and action
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
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