Paddington 2

2017-12-01 06:51
 

What it's about:

Paddington is happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington spots a unique popup book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But, when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief.

What we thought:

It’s rare to come across a children’s film that’s not peppered with adult jokes, or so banal that it would put grandparents to sleep. Paddington 2 hits that sweet spot between being enjoyed by all ages, but still retains its innocence. The bear is as sweet as his marmalade sandwiches, and his supporting cast – from his adoptive family to the villain to the friends he makes in prison – help round out a delightful adventure through frivolity. 

Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is nicely settled in London with the Brown family, and gets on with (almost) everyone in the neighbourhood. While saving up money to buy a London pop-up book for his aunt, it gets stolen by an incredulous actor (Hugh Grant) and the little bear is framed and sent to prison.

This film is not about keeping you on your toes or surprise the audience with twists. Most of the plot points are easy to guess, like many children’s movies, but the force of the film comes through the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’ or ‘why’. Paired with bright set designs, costumes and comical shenanigans, it feels more like a cartoon set in the real world, and something that mostly only Brits and Wes Anderson can pull off. The film also plays a bit like a tourism advert for London, featuring many of its attractions as people chase the clues to the book thief. If Americans tried to make Paddington, we might have rather gotten something that looks like that atrocious-looking Peter Rabbit mess that’s unfortunately hitting our screens next year.

It’s great to see Grant play such a charismatic villain, who is that traditional twirling-moustache type. He exaggerates everything with precision, which works great in a silly (but good silly) film such as Paddington. Sally Hawkins and High Bonneville are just as great as the first film, and Brendan Gleeson as the hardy criminal Knuckles McGinty is another excellent treat. The prison scenes were beautifully shot and reminiscent of Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, with the comically striped prison uniforms and equally silly prison escape. 

Since Paddington Bear made his debut to the world in 1958 through books, his kind-hearted soul, general pleasant manners and ability to harmlessly get himself into trouble has always captivated an audience. We crave that simplicity where a world is about how good a person you are and that that’s enough to thrive. A lot of children’s movies bend over backwards to also be appealing to adults, but Paddington is too sweet to make itself palatable to hardened adults. It aims to soften those grownups instead that have become too cynical in their movie choices - basically all the Mr Browns who forget to live a little in the silliness of a bear’s world.

Even the most pessimistic person would be hard-pressed to find anything negative to say about Paddington 2, unless you’re his unpleasant neighbour Mr Curry, who sometimes doubles as a Time Lord. Kids and grandparents can safely watch this film without feeling overwhelmed by robots or innuendo, the perfect holiday film with the family. 

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