Paddington 2, like the first Paddington movie, is an instant classic that will delight kids of all ages (including grey-haired ones). Just about perfect.
I gave the first Paddington movie a rave review, so approached Paddington 2 with great expectations and a little trepidation that a letdown was on the cards. Me of little faith. While I found Paddington 2 to be not quite as magical as its predecessor, that’s probably just because there was no novelty factor this time around. It’s every bit as good. Which means just about perfect.
You don’t need to have seen the first Paddington movie as a pre-requisite for this one. Paddington 2 is a complete film in its own right, not a sequel as such.
Our marmalade-lovin’ bear is now firmly established at home with the Brown family in London and a hit with the neighbours. With his beloved and geographically distant Aunt Lucy’s birthday approaching, he locates the perfect gift for her – a pop-up book featuring famous sights of London (she’s always dreamt of visiting, so he reasons that this is the next best thing). Unfortunately, it’s expensive, so Paddo sets about cleaning windows to save some dosh. Alas, dastardly failed thespian Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant) steals the cherished book with an ulterior motive. Paddington is blamed and ends up in the clink, and with the help of the initially intimidating but soon won-over king of the crims Knuckles McGinty (Brendon Gleeson) and other inmates, and of course the Brown Family, sets out to clear his name.
All the elements that made the first film so special are also present here.
There’s the brilliant – in fact, in my view unsurpassed – combination of animatronics and CGI. Unsurpassed not because they are spectacular, but because they are not (there is no technical lairising here), the only objective being to bring Paddington to life and to make him as real and endearing as possible. The result is wonderfully successful. He’s irresistible. You can’t help but care about him (if you’re not moved by the ending maybe check yourself for a pulse).
Then there’s the rest of the characters, some of whom are almost as charming as Paddington. Hugh Grant deserves special mention. He’s in fine form, bringing a lot of fun to his ultimately benign but still hiss-worthy villain. Indeed, he almost – I said almost – steals the show as well as the book.
The narrative is tight and beautifully conceived, fitting together like a big, bright, easy but still ingeniously designed and surprising jigsaw puzzle. The imaginative and funny visual gags that so delighted in the first Paddington movie are again a feature here. As is the witty, multi-functional but natural-sounding dialogue that viewers of all ages will enjoy, although not necessarily always for the same reasons. The ending, in which, of course, good triumphs over not-so-good, turns out happy for everyone, and without being saccharine – some feat! Oh, and do hang around for the fabbo dance sequence during the credit roll, and some very funny accompanying scrolled textual wisecracks.
Paddington 2, like the first Paddington movie, is an instant classic, and about as good as it gets for young kids, older kids and even ancient kids like me. Marmalicious!
Movie Website: https://www.paddington.com/global/
Paddington 2 features: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Imelda Staunton, Brendan Gleeson
Director: Paul King
Writers: Michael Bond (“Paddington Bear” created by), Jon Croker (additional material), screenplay by Simon Farnaby & Paul King
Runtime: 103 min
Australian release date: Paddington 2 in Australian cinemas from 21 Dec 2017. Advance screenings this weekend and Dec 16th, 17th.
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