Released 21 December
Seen 3rd December (Charity Preview screening)
Directed by Paul King
Written by Paul King & Simon Farnaby
Produced by StudioCanal, Anton Capital Entertainment S.C.A., Amazon Prime Instant Video, Canal+, Ciné+, Heyday Films, Marmalade Films Ltd.
Starring Ben Whishaw, Madeline Harris, Samuel Joslin, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville & Hugh Grant
Paddington (Played by Ben Whishaw) has to get something special for his Aunt Lucy’s birthday, something that’ll show her just how much she means to him after she saved his life as a cub and helped him get to London. One day the adorable bear comes across a pop-up book of London and tries to save some money to get it but unfortunately, some very unfortunate mishaps lead to him being framed for the theft of that book and now he has to clear his name.
The adorableness factor in this movie is off the charts, every scene is just filled with a sweet feeling that emanates from each individual frame. Anytime that Paddington is on screen, your heart warms and a smile slowly appears as you witness this adorable huggable angel just trying to be a good person/bear while there are people around him who aren’t exactly the kindest.
Hugh Grant appears in this film as Phoenix Buchanan, an actor who’s down on his luck and surviving on money he makes from dog food commercials but he knows that pop-up book has a secret treasure map. He’s the villain of the piece and every scene he is just chewing every piece of scenery that he can find and it’s amazing, he gives 500% to the film and he creates a villain that’s endlessly charming and has enough quirks to make him hilarious. Several scenes take place with Buchanan and a room full of mannequins in costumes and Hugh just performs his heart out with nothing really to back him up in the scene except himself. He’s a great counterpart to Paddington and just as fun to watch.
The Brown Family is a great supporting cast that is able to help us go between Phoenix’s evil plan and between Paddington’s attempt to clear his name since they’re the ones investigating. There is a strange element of the older son pretending to be cool, calling himself J-Dog in an outfit that can be best described as “42-year old mans idea of what a teenager might dress like when he’s not around”, it’s offputting only because it’s barely touched on except for one scene but then the removal of that outfit is a pivotal moment. Maybe this makes sense in context with the first one (Guess who hasn’t seen that?) but it’s not explained here. That being said, they do let the adults in the family push that story and the kid’s individual traits are used just enough to help right at the climax of the film.
The best moments in this movie take place in the jail with Paddington, his interactions with the rest of the prisoners is where his sweetness get’s to shine the most. Especially his growing friendship with Knuckles McGinty (Played by Brendan Gleeson) which provides a lot of the emotional backbone of the movie. The scene where Paddington teaches Knuckles how to make marmalade is one of the sweetest ways I’ve seen a film take two characters who are polar opposites and bring them together in a short amount of time.
This film is loaded full of warmth and heart, every moment puts a smile on your face and it’s not afraid to pull at your heartstrings when it needs too. Capped off with a cast chock-full of Britain’s finest performers and you have a family film that is sure to be more beloved than Aunt Lucy’s famous marmalade sandwiches.