Paddington arrives in London from Darkest Peru and is taken in by an English family.
Ben Whishaw - Paddington
Hugh Bonneville - Mr. Brown
Sally Hawkins - Mrs. Brown
Nicole Kidman - Millicent
Poor Paddington has been a film plagued from the start. Who would have thought the little furry bundle could cause such a commotion? When the project was announced there was an initial outcry with hashtag campaigns and petitions as fans of the bear were angry that a new film was going to be made. Then even after trailers were released Colin Firth was dropped as the voice of Paddington after a mutual agreement that he was not right for the part, with the lovely Ben Whishaw being drawn in last minute as the replacement. Then when the BBFC classified it as a PG rather than a U for “dangerous behaviour, mild threat, mild sex references and mild bad language” panic was triggered as people started wondering what had happened to the loved books from their childhood. However, do not fear! Paddington is as lovely as cotton socks in boots on a cold winter's day, and although it will not blow you away it is a delight and great for a family festive trip to the cinema.
Everyone knows the story of Paddington the bear. Our young furry hero finds his way to London from Darkest Peru to be taken in by the Brown family with whom he would go on many an adventure. It is hard not to immediately fall in love with the adorable bear, perfectly voiced by Ben Whishaw who gives Paddington not only an air of childish glee and a yearning for adventure, but also takes on the impeccable politeness that is key to the character from the books. We easily believe that this talking bear could fit in so well with a human family; the Browns are actually just as quirky as the idea of a talking bear! Still, Paddington retains his animal nature leading to many funny scenes such as the key bathroom scene. If Paddington has been round I would buy a new toothbrush! You will certainly want to take him home after the film has ended though!
It is a funny film that will put a smile on your face, but it just lacks the hilarity and also magic to make it memorable and something special. The story is fine and full of quirky British charm and silliness, you will certainly not forget the sight of Hugh Bonneville as a cleaning lady! But scenes such as this which could have been hilarious just lack a certain something! Paddington is a 'nearly' film. It gets close to being hilarious but falls short. Nicole Kidman in her attempt to be the new Cruella de Vil instead becomes a rather timid villain with a disappointing backstory. Never do we feel that any of the characters are under threat, making the PG rating utterly ridiculous. An attempt is even made to comment on immigration, let's face it Paddington is an immigrant and Peter Capaldi's and Kidman's worry that the streets will be soon full of these bears could be pointing fun at UKIP, the Guardian actually stated in their review of the film that is is UKIP baiting. However, although an attempt is made at political commentary it really comes to nothing. Paddington is so nearly a great animation, but disappointingly falls short at every hurdle.
You will still enjoy it though! It is a delight that is a very British affair featuring some of the best British talent including Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins and Peter Capaldi. There are fun references and cameos, if you have seen Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol a scene involving Dust Busters will make you giggle for instance and the likes of Matt Lucas, and of course Michael Bond, make cameos. The animation is beautiful with Paddington looking very real thanks to the best technology cinema has to offer. It is quirky and charming, making it a shame then that it just lacks the magic and hilarity needed to make it an animation to remember. Still, this is the family film to see this festive season!