Scott Marks noon, Jan. 11
An affectionate note of Tex Avery mayhem opens the story — in an instant, a bucolic chorus of Disney-esque birds in flight is rendered utterly oofty-magoofty — and for the next 90 minutes, I looked on in amazement as the studio that regularly begot cartoon child abuse in the form of Alvin squeakuels finally found the winning formula for combining live-action characters and anthropomorphized rodentia. I’ve yet to be fooled by CG humans, but damned if this blue-jacketed upright cottontail and his woodland pals don’t exude the illusion of both life and charm. In terms of textured character design and movement, this is right up there with the best of Pixar, and when it comes to storytelling in animation, it outclasses everything its competitor has produced since WALL-E. Credit the combined creativity of screenwriter Rob Lieber (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) and director Will Gluck (Fired Up!, Easy A) for contemporizing the Beatrix Potter classic in such a way that even the compulsory fart jokes play as decorous. 2018.