Something strange happens when you watch Paddington. The first, and most important, thing you'll figure out is that it doesn't suck. That happens in the first scene.
The next important thing you'll realize is that the world of Paddington is way better than ours, which is because it operates by plenty of rules we're not cool enough to have.
Rather than review the movie, I thought it would be more fun to show you the evidence for why Paddington is time well-spent, and you’ll notice that I describe them as “impossibly good.” This is on purpose.
So sit back, relax, and let me take you on a tour of why this adaptation of the beloved children’s book is one of the best things to happen to January since snow days.
#1 You discover the epic implications of a world where no one is afraid of frankly dangerous animals.
Broadly speaking, the world we visit in Paddington has basic rules that make it pretty interesting. The main one being that no one bats an eye that a talking bear is amongst them.
Humans treat Paddington like a normal street orphan begging for cash when they first come across him. Animal control doesn’t get a single call.
This ends up being awesome because everyone is sick of these live-action kids movies that spend half of their exposition trying to cope with fantastical events happening in their boring “reality.”
In Paddington, you get to see what the world would be like otherwise. And for movie purposes, it’s way more fun.
#2 You pick Mr. Brown as your favorite character.
After a big chunk of the movie and one pivotal scene, I consciously decided that the straight-laced dad, Mr. Brown, was my favorite character.
When was the last time this happened? No one considers Walter Hobbs from Elf to be their favorite character, and that movie’s a holiday classic.
You might disagree because a hole is where your heart is, but at least for me, Mr. Brown ends up being the most compelling character onscreen, and there’s stiff competition.
#3 The origin story doesn't treat you like an idiot.
Sometimes, movies suffer from over-explaining. In that they try to make a kids movie make logical sense. They pretty much think that we'll hate a movie if we don't believe it could actually happen in our world.
Paddington doesn't talk down to us like that. It pretty much just says, Hey! Check out how awesome it would be if we discovered talking bears in Peru for no reason! Pretty awesome, right?
They just go for it. And it works because the movie doesn't rely on pop culture references for humor at all.
#4 The laws of physics are the exception, not the rule.
The movie actually goes out of its way to show you that its world is bonkers. Bathrooms fill up with water in minutes, without anything leaking from the door. A bear can fly around just by opening an umbrella, and oh, bears can talk.
But because Paddington fully embraces these wacky scenes, you aren't perpetually aware of it. The movie starts to feel like a glove halfway in.
#5 Whoever edited this movie loves Harry Potter.
I guess it should be mentioned that the movie actually uses the same producer from Harry Potter, but that usually doesn't mean squat in the industry. This time, however, it does.
Much of the humor and even heart of Paddington comes from eyebrow-raising editing effects, cutaways, and inventive flashbacks. It tells the story exactly how you would expect it to in a movie that flirts with being a fantasy (or just a really weird, awesome dream).
#6 Nicole Kidman should play villains forever.
Seriously, I haven't seen her having this much fun with a role since Moulin Rouge.
I'll even mention that her villain is greatly written, despite what the trailer would have you believe.
#7 England produces the best child actors.
Alright, we get it England. Harry Potter was already good evidence of this, but then Paddington comes along and delivers child actors who don't make you roll your eyes every 10 seconds.
#8 Kid movies still make you cry.
I'm not saying I cried. Shut up.
#9 You think there might be a slight chance this bear exists in Los Angeles somewhere.
I thought the CGI effects would be pretty distracting, but it turns out you forget Paddington is just Ben Whishaw having the time of his life in a sound studio somewhere.
Maybe it's his great voice acting or just a testament to the acting of everyone else involved, but I'll admit I forgot this bear was fake for a minute or six.
#10 You realize that you already want to watch the movie again.
This actually happens while the credits are rolling and the soundtrack starts to settle in. Speaking of which, the main score is pretty brilliant.
Look, I'm not trying to oversell this movie. I know it looks terrible, and I'd imagine those of you who hate kid movies will find a reason to hate it no matter what.
But whatever. It's only January, and I've found a 2015 movie that's already on my top 10 list.