Review: Paddington 2 is wonderful
The bear is back. I repeat the bear is back.
Donning his red hat and blue duffle coat is the infamous Paddington Brown, a loveable bear from darkest Peru with a love for marmalade and manners. Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) has found himself in a sticky situation (and that’s not just the marmalade) having been sent to prison after a series of comical mishaps.
Directed by Paul King, Paddington 2 follows the adventures of Paddington Brown, an accident-prone anthropomorphic bear, a character created by the late Michael Bond, who lives with the Browns in London’s Windsor Gardens. The heartwarming film is a sequel to the 2014 film Paddington also directed by King and, while slightly varied to the first film, the sequel seems to follow the same beats – the same laughs as the original with a few new quirks. That said, the charm is still there and Paddington 2 is a film audiences of all ages can enjoy and does not require you to watch the original in order to understand the story.
The story itself is simple: Paddington takes a job as a window cleaner to save up to buy a pop-up book of London as gift for his Aunt Lucy’s (voiced by Imelda Staunton) 100th birthday. The pop-up book is the catalyst for the film’s ongoing saga in which Paddington and the film’s antagonist Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), a washed up actor, go head to head in trying to obtain it.
Containing lively assortment characters, Paddington 2’s brightly coloured palate pays tribute to the magic and charm of illustrative children’s storybooks many have grown up reading. A film for all ages containing villains, heroes, friendly faces, and a whole lot of marmalade, Paddington 2 had me laughing at its silly antics, its charming nature the perfect blend of family fun served with a dollop of adventure. There is singing, dancing, live action animation, and the calypso band that also featured in the first film that makes this perfect to watch.
Perhaps hidden under the charm of a brightly coloured set and a well mannered bear, Paddington 2 seems to mature from the original by exploring darker themes such as heartbreak, injustice, social acceptance and the responsibility of obtaining a job. Audiences are made aware that life isn’t always picture perfect, Paddington is unjustly sentenced in prison and his narrated letters to Aunt Lucy quickly takes a bleak turn when the Browns accidentally miss a visit.
The film is wonderful in acknowledging that sometimes there may be times when it is difficult to stay positive, but in light of circumstances we’re placed in, whether good or bad, manners are important. Paddington is the hero we all deserve, teaching us a simple truth, ‘If we’re kind and polite the world will be right.’ Paddington is an inspiration to many, teaching us that there is goodness to be found in all circumstances and people from all walks of life. As Henry Brown (Hugh Bonneville) says, ‘Paddington wouldn’t hesitate if any of us needed help. He looks for the good in all of us.’
Paddington 2 teaches us that appearances aren’t everything, marmalade is delicious and manners are delightful. The film lifts your spirits and leaves you feeling positive right to the very end. I would recommend seeing this not just for the charm of a well-mannered bear in a blue coat and red hat, or instructions on how to make marmalade, but to see a hilarious scene of a bear using his booty to wash your windows (at the time of writing I kept thinking I would look outside see Paddington cleaning my windows even though I’m not in London, and this made me chuckle).
Paws, so you may ask me, is Paddington 2 worth the watch? Definitely. I’ll be back for another serving.
Paddington 2 is in Australian cinemas from December 21, with advance screenings December 16-17.
Also, to celebrate the first day of the summer school holidays, Moonlight Cinema is hosting a Teddy Bear’s picnic and advanced screening of Paddington 2 on Saturday 16 December, 2018. It’s happening at Belvedere Amphitheatre in Centennial Park, Sydney. Details here: www.moonlight.com.au
Review by Addy Fong.