Paddington 2

paddington_twoSTARS4Was it really necessary to make a sequel to Paddington, the 2014 movie about a cute bear featured in a series of children’s fiction by Michael Bond? Yes, as evidenced by this effervescent piece of joy. Paddington 2 is the continuing adventures of a Spectacled bear from Peru after he comes to live with the Brown family in England. His Aunt sent him off on a train before she departed for the Home for Retired Bears. It’s now her 100th birthday and this duffle-coat-wearing star would like to get her a nice gift. There’s a unique pop-up book that he wants to purchase at a London boutique. Paddington saves up some money from performing odd jobs and subsequently goes down to the store buy it. Coincidentally at that very moment, the publication is stolen by a thief who believes the edition contains clues to a secret treasure. Unfortunately, Paddington is mistakenly identified as the culprit and sent off to jail.

Paddington’s life inside the prison is an entertaining diversion. His personality is infectious and even a group of hardened criminals is no match for the charismatic bear. Once again actor Ben Whishaw lends his voice. His delivery is still the perfect balance between an adult who’s unfailingly polite and a child who is a charming innocent. He ultimately wins over their (and our) hearts. Paddington’s recipe for marmalade sandwiches definitely comes in handy when influencing Knuckles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson), the cook at the penitentiary.  The production is cleverly filmed with delicate attention. At one point, Paddington inadvertently leaves a red sock in a laundry load of black and white uniforms. Uh-oh! The vision of a group of rugged hoodlums in pink prison uniforms is an amusing sight. Stylistic cinematography presents the decorative spectacle like a deliberately arranged painting of misfits. Never underestimate how much a decorative flourish can artfully elevate an otherwise cornball scene. Paddington 2 is an episodic tale but it’s so stylishly presented you’ll cheer every carefully manipulated twist that captures the eye.

Paddington 2 benefits from an ensemble of veteran actors, many of whom return from the first movie. Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville are back as Paddington’s adoptive parents, along with Julie Walters as their serious but sweet housekeeper. Jim Broadbent is the antique shop owner. Peter Capaldi reprises his role as Mr. Curry, the next door neighbor. You may recall Nicole Kidman as the villain in the last entry. She’s gone but fulfilling the same archetype is new-to-the-cast Hugh Grant as Phoenix Buchanan, a selfish cad of an actor. He alternately dresses as a nun, a knight, and a canine for his work.  His comical disguises will provide laughs to both young and old alike. This prodcution is a worthy follow-up to the enchanting original that came out in 2015 in the U.S.  The chronicle is made with the same attention to detail as other great British-y themed and youth-oriented stories like Mary Poppins and Nanny McPhee. Like those classics, it never feels like the narrative has been dumbed down for little minds. It remains steadfastly sophisticated, intelligent and witty. Paddington 2 is an absolute delight for adults…and also for the children that inevitably brought them.

1-25-18

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10 Responses to “Paddington 2”

  1. I thought the first ‘Paddington’ was better. Nicole Kidman was a better villain. Her character felt like more of a threat than Grant’s character.

    I also thought the film could have been a better indictment of the criminal justice system, but the movie never fully engages with that aspect. Maybe I missed it, but do we ever get to know what the crimes are that Knuckles, Spoon or T-Bone committed? Their prison escape was cute, but how are we supposed to feel about them, if in reality they’re rapists and murderers escaping?

    It reminded me of the prison escape in ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ which I didn’t like because we are supposed to celebrate that a bunch of murderers escape and along the way kill a bunch of innocent cops.

    This movie doesn’t have anything that vicious occur, but I thought maybe the movie would say something about the fact that Paddington is essentially an immigrant and how immigrants are treated unfairly in the criminal justice system, but the trial isn’t that clever in that I didn’t even understand how Paddington was convicted when the stolen item wasn’t even on him. Paddington’s immigrant status isn’t even mentioned. The movie doesn’t even argue that prison is all that bad, considering the closing credits scene, so why was it so vital that they escape?

    • I disagree, Nicole Kidman’s “threat” was melodramatic, and we knew there was never an actual threat because it was a kids film. In contrast, Hugh Grant played up the comedy which the kids could enjoy

    • @marlonwallace: I took the film in a much more lighthearted way. I suppose if we were to delve into the backstories of the prisoners we might discover unsavory details of what sent them there. We know Paddington was sent to prison as an innocent, however. Obviously, the justice system is crooked. Perhaps we can give the other inmates the benefit of the doubt?

  2. I loved this movie. It made my top ten films of 2017. Check out the article here https://scribblesofstageandscreen.com/2018/01/27/my-top-ten-films-of-2017/

  3. I really loved the first movie. Now I want to see this as soon as possible.

  4. This was so cute. Paddington is so loveable. I thought Hugh Grant was a fun and creative addition. 4 stars

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