Is there any better way to spend your Saturday evening than to go see Paddington? The extraordinary bear, created in 1971 by Michael Bond, has become one of the most prominent figures in British pop culture; it is not only a toy and a print motif, but also the central character of many films.
Paddington is originally from Peru, and when the destiny forces him to leave his family home, he heads to London; there, he finds the Brown family and they give him a roof over his head. The story of the furry animal’s escapades were superbly conveyed in Paul King’s 2014 Paddington and in 2017, the iconic bear has returned in style once again, to grasp the audience’s hearts, and to touch and capture the viewers with his inner good. In the new production, Paddington 2, the bear is now a full member of the Brown family. He lives happily and in peace in the Windsor Gardens, where he has become a beloved member of the local community; wherever Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) goes, he puts a smile on everyone’s faces.
With Paddington’ aunt’s 100th birthday approaching, the resolute bear with impeccable manners (but with a tendency to get into trouble) decides to get her a special gift, an antique pop-up book from Mr Gruber’s (Jim Broadbent) shop. As the book turns out to be a fairly expensive purchase, Paddington decides to get a job. Just as he is doing some odd jobs for his district, the book gets stolen by Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), an ageing and formely famous actor, who thinks that the book conceals a great secret. And when Paddington is mistaken for a thief, he is promptly sent to prison, where – of course – he quickly makes friends with his fellow inmates, including the prison’s chef Knuckles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson). While being imprisoned, and with the help of his new ‘friends’, the bear decides to clear his name… and the fun begins.
Paul King blends slapstick comedy with consistent action, not only suitable for kids but also for adults. It is the perfect family film that will melt your heart! It is a charming, valuable and moving story about a bear that everyone would like to have. Hugh Grant is surprisingly natural in the role of the dark, silly, yet engaging character. The entire acting team, led by Hugh Bonneville as the stubborn Mr. Brown and Sally Hawkins as the kind-hearted mother and wife, is convincing and lovable. Everything in the film is just sublime; the animated Paddington looks like a real teddy bear, music by Dario Marianelli adds a great note to the narrative, and the same holds for the set design. In all honesty, there is nothing to complain about. Oh, but do remember one thing: if you are a tourist in London and you wish to find Paddington’s address, you won’t be able to, it is fictional. But if you really want to go to Windsor Gardens, well… what you will find might not be as appealing as a Notting Hill property; in actuality, it is a council estate. Paddington 2 by Paul King is a superb sequel about the being who can’t live without his marmalade sandwich. AND A MUST-SEE!
Written by Maggie Gogler
Edited by Sanja Struna
All photos © StudioCanal