Directed by: Paul King
Staring: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman, Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton
‘Paddington’ is based on a series of English books about Paddington Bear. There are times when a translation of a cute kid’s book to a cute kid’s movie makes a belly flop. After all, what can you do with a little brown bear that comes to England and gets taken into a family by the name of Brown? This could be a disaster, bear-ly tolerable.
But it all does turn out well in the end. Despite a few over-the-top scenes (a flood of water down the stairs?) and some too obvious endings (will Paddington really fit in with the Brown family?), this is an enjoyable and a clever little movie for the whole family. Children will like the antics of the little bear, and the parents will be amused by some clever sight gags and a few funny Rube Goldberg type situations. Paddington Bear is a CGI creation that looks good and fits in well with the flesh and blood actors.
Somewhere in the jungles of Deepest Peru, there came an English explorer. He meets up with two native bears, Uncle Pastuzo (Michael Gambon) and Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton). The bears learn to love all things English and they pass this to the bear cub Paddington. After a bad earthquake, Paddington (Ben Whishaw) leaves to find a new home in England. He packs up Aunt Lucy’s marmalade and sets off on a new adventure.
He meets the Brown family at Paddington Station (from whence he gets his name). Henry Brown (Hugh Bonneville) is a grump who wants nothing to do the three foot ball of cuteness. Mary Brown (Sally Hawkins) and the two kids want to take him for a while. They have a house cleaner, Mrs. Bird (Julie Walters) who thinks that Paddington will fit in just right.
There is a creepy neighbor who dislikes Paddington. Mr. Curry (Peter Capaldi) wants the bear gone before Paddington ruins the housing values! Mary Brown takes Paddington to see Mr. Gruber (Jim Broadbent) who is an antiques dealer. He finds Paddington has a very unique hat. It originally belonged to the English explorer. Paddington goes to find the explorer and gets into many “situations”.
The explorer has passed away, but his daughter Millicent Clyde (Nicole Kidman) wants to find Paddington and stuff him for the museum. She is cruel and deceitful, but also over-the-top and partially crazy – just the kind of villain a kid’s movie needs. She is about to get her way, when… well, not to spoil the story, but there is a happy ending.
For a kid’s movie, this is pretty entertaining. The CGI bear is done well, the visuals are nice mix of reality by the way of whimsy. There a few really good visual jokes, for example the cabbie has a license plate of “CAB 81E” (looks at lot like ‘CABBIE’). Plus you get to see on the other side of the wall where a bunch of animal heads are mounted (hint – it is not more animal heads!).
Sure, it is not ‘The Lego Movie’ or ‘How to Train Your Dragon’. It is almost like an English version of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’. The best thing about this movie is that your kids could watch it and have fun, and you could also watch it (and not want to tear out your eyeballs).
Length: 96 minutes