When we first heard that The Tale of Peter Rabbit was scampering its way into cinemas, we were filled with hope. With Rose Byrne – aka Helen from Bridesmaids – as ‘Bea’ (clearly Beatrix Potter herself, we assumed), the world settled back expectantly, awaiting a gorgeous period drama filled with watercolour illustrations, real-life rabbits, panoramic shots of the Lake District, and plenty of flickering fireplaces.
Something cosy and comforting to drive out the horrors of the real world, to burrow into like a warm old blanket. Something familiar, like a long-lost relic from our childhoods – albeit with an update, a dash of something new and unexpected. Just a dash, mind. After all, nobody likes change – not really. We pretend we like to be spontaneous, and throw caution to the wind, and dive head first into new experiences, but when someone messes with a tried-and-tested format, we… well, we freak out.
Which is why, when the first trailer for The Tale of Peter Rabbit landed, the internet collectively lost its s**t over the film.
Watch the trailer below:
Hmm. There's no denying it's a delightful piece of animation – but remember what we said about change?
The clip begins innocently enough, with a sweeping shot of the glistening blue Lakeland we’ve all come to associate with Potter and her work. And, yes, there’s a blue-coated rabbit bounding through the grass, his little bobtail a whirring blur.
But then? Well, then he seemingly commits a hit-and-run, leaving three sparrows twitching and broken in his wake.
It is at this point that it becomes apparent this film is going to be completely unlike anything we imagined.
Peter was always naughty in the original books of course, but naughty in the sense that his worst crime was to break into Mr McGregor’s garden and have a go at his lettuces.
In this film, the rabbit – voiced by James Corden – has all the confidence of an irritating American frat boy, breaking into people’s private property, throwing loud, raucous house parties and terrifying any poor human that crosses his path.
Plus, you know, the bird murder we mentioned earlier. Burder.
The official plot synopsis for the film, in which Byrne plays an animal-loving neighbour, and Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley voice Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, released to journalists states that it is an “irreverent, contemporary comedy with attitude” – not something we can see many fans of the gentle books being all that on board with.
And unsurprisingly, the trailer has sparked a pretty big conversation online. After a quick glance at the reactions, it seems safe to say that the general consensus is that the upcoming big-screen adaptation is an affront to Potter’s most beloved character.
Others couldn’t help comparing the film to that of another live-action animation:
However, there are some out there who are ready and willing to give the flick a try:
I won't write it off yet but the new #PeterRabbit trailer makes me want to cry with despair. Why world, why?!— Toby Symonds (@tobyjonathan) September 21, 2017
Despite the mixed reaction (to say the least), Zareh Nalbandian – chief of the production company behind it – has said that he hopes Peter Rabbit could spark a franchise.
“There are so many great characters in Beatrix Potter's books that we'll just be scratching the surface for what we can do,” he said.
“It's a big film that will be more than a two-year endeavour for us from go to whoa.”
We guess we’ll just have to wait and see about that, eh?
The film adaptation of The Tale of Peter Rabbit is expected to be released in 2018.
Images: Animal Logic