Directed by Paul King
Written by Paul King and Simon Farnaby based on Paddington Bear by Michael Bond
Starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Brenda Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw
The story of Paddington Bear by Michael Bond is as famous as Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robbin, never mind the fact that they’re both British in origin. As children’s books, they highlight adventures that youngsters, including this one, could follow with great ease whilst at the same time, they carry very adult themes which are designed to teach youngsters basic manners and customs. Paul King and his co-scribe, Simon Farnby caught the essence of both in Paddington’s latest adventure, Paddington 2.
In this adventure, the marmalade sandwich – loving Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw), seeks to get his mum the greatest gift he possibly can for her birthday. More in appreciation for everything she gave him as a young cub, he finds the most perfect pop-up children’s book in Mr. Gruber’s (Jim Broadbent) antique shop. The pop-up book attracts the interest of other parties, much to Paddington’s troubles.
Mr. King’s direction is first rate as we learn more about what makes Paddington tick. The supporting cast is first rate, and I don’t mind saying that I’ve never seen Hugh Grant look as deliciously evil as he does here. Sally Hawkins continues to impress in a smaller, but no less active role as we’ve seen recently. Hugh Bonneville is wonderfully wooden as Paddington’s dad, Henry. Samuel Joslin and Madeline Harris are standouts as Judy and Jonathan, Paddington’s human sister and brother. Brendan Gleeson applies his tough guy routine to his character here and it pays off perfectly.
Paddington the character wouldn’t be much without the softly spoken Ben Whishaw voicing the character. His inflections are perfectly suited to the subtleness of Paddington’s emotions, yet his affection for those around him really convey his sense of finding the good in everyone he meets.
Beyond the story is the technical achievement in not only creating Paddington, but integrating him into each scene. There is a significant amount of action for this character. The technical team was up to the challenge, and it is amongst the best looking I’ve seen in a while. As much fun as the film is, there is always an element of danger and Dario Marianelli’s score lyrically carries us through Paddington’s adventures.
There might be a few nitpicks with the story, but they are too few to mention here and really don’t detract from this wonderful time at the movies. Make sure to take the entire family. You won’t be disappointed.
3 out 4 stars.