No need to get hopping mad over Peter Rabbit movie controversy

February 13, 2018 - 4:21pm

Let me get this straight.

People are upset about a scene in the new Peter Rabbit Movie – one which depicts CGI rabbits throwing a berry into Mr. McGregor’s mouth all the while knowing he’s pretty much deathly allergic to them. McGregor then chokes on the berry and has to stab himself with an Epipen before collapsing.

I woke up to this nonsense on Twitter Monday morning -- people calling for a boycott of the film and the filmmakers actually apologizing. Are you freaking kidding me?

I have to ask: Has anyone who’s offended by this scene seen the movie or even the trailer? If you haven't, watch it now and then continue reading.

 

This film is about a guy who’s trying to rid his property of “vermin” rabbits. How does he attempt to achieve said objective? Not humanely… no, why would we do that?

In the trailer, we see Mr. McGregor attempt murder of these fluffy little bunnies not once, but twice -- first by attempting to slice them in half with a garden hoe, and the second time by hurling two very sharp-looking garden tools at one of them. There’s even a scene (not in the trailer) where McGregor tries to drown Benjamin Bunny. PETA, where you at? I mean, can anyone blame the rabbits for trying to retaliate?

The kicker and my main point about why being offended is silly is the movie's PG rating. PG, as in Parental Guidance.

Instead of showing our kids how easy it is to get angry, why not do as the rating suggests and guide our children on why what the rabbits do in this scene is wrong? Not to mention everything McGregor does.

The scene in question is a teachable moment if there ever was one -- and there have been many in the history of film.

Think Woody trying to murder Buzz Lightyear by pushing him out of a second-storey window. Did anyone think twice about that? How about Native Americans being depicted as red-skinned in Peter Pan? That’s racism at its finest. Or there was an entire village judging the Beast without getting to know his true character. There are so many instances in movies which we COULD be offended about, so why is this being cherry-picked?

I’m sure killing animals isn't the first thing you think of when you hear ‘Peter Rabbit,' yet that’s what this movie is all about.

Furthermore, this movie isn’t even made by child-friendly Disney or Pixar. It’s made by Sony, the same studio which brought us four animated flicks called ‘Open Season,’ which literally means you can hunt anything.

“Making light of this condition hurts our members because it encourages the public not to take the risk of allergic reactions seriously, and this cavalier attitude may make them act in ways that could put an allergic person in danger,” said Kenneth Mendez, the president and chief executive of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, in an open letter.

I have Inflammatory Bowel Disease and I’ve learned not to be offended by movie scenes which mock the need to find a toilet. Instead, I use such scenes to educate, rather than call for boycotts, and sometimes just laugh because education everyone about everything is darn near impossible.

Sony apologized Monday saying it should not have overlooked the seriousness of anaphylaxis. 

What they should be saying sorry for is not going full Deadpool with this blatantly twisted edition of Peter Rabbit’s many tales. Canadian film rating agencies and the MPAA should also be sorry for not rating the film stronger than PG so parents wouldn’t mistakenly take their kids to see what is clearly not a kid-appropriate movie, nor one appropriate for kids who may be triggered by the scene we're talking about. But honestly, the movie as a whole looks pretty damn funny if you can get past a little crude humour.

Beatrix Potter isn’t rolling in her grave because of this one scene, no, she’s rolling over because some of us are too concerned about being angry instead of just sitting down with our children and calmly explaining to them the difference between right and wrong.

SPOILER – They all live happily ever after. 

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