It’s been three years since Michael Bond’s beloved Paddington Bear graced our screens. And the sequel lives up to the hype.
Returning director Paul King and new co-writer Simon Farnaby deliver an exciting plot with many funny moments. Paddington has settled into the Brown household and is much loved in the local community, all except by the miserable neighbour Mr Curry, played by Peter Capaldi. The iconic bear wants to buy an antique pop-up book of London for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday. To raise the money he tries to enter the adult world of work. He works briefly in a barbershop and as a window cleaner – both serving up some hilarious scenes.
The book however, is stolen by Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant) and Paddington gives chase riding a stray dog. But he loses the culprit, is framed for the crime and sentenced to ten years in jail.
Some of the prison scenes are the best. Like the innocent Paddington not seeing anything wrong about challenging the terrifying chef Knuckles McGinty (Brandon Gleeson) about food, and then teaming up with him in the prison kitchen. Meanwhile the Brown family, with Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins returning as Henry and Mary Brown and Samuel Joslin and Madeleine Harris as the children, Jonathon and Judy Brown, try to find the thief and clear Paddington’s name. Other big names feature in small parts. One like Ben Miller as a neighbour and Richard Ayoade as an eccentric forensic scientist.
Ben Whishaw’s returns to voice Paddington with his soft infections that lights up the bear, giving him a lovable personality. It definitely brightened up the film’s audience, warming us on a chilly day.
And it’s Hugh Grant that steals the show as the brilliantly funny villain, Phoenix Buchanan. He’s an average actor who now does dog food adverts, which was great to watch, and puts on different disguises as he hunts down treasure in London, using the pop-up book for clues.
Paddington the role model
Paddington is, of course, a family-friendly film but also one that adults can enjoy with the protagonist’s slapstick comedy. For example, him cleaning his ears with toothbrushes and wreaking havoc in a barbershop. There’s some clever quips too, like Paddington naively guessing Henry Brown is about 80 years-old. There is also good foreshadowing with characters and themes being introduced and returned later on. For example the kid’s love of trains that he denies, then later on helps out driving a train during a chase scene
The bright colours and scenery give the film a storybook feel and exciting action sequences. One other thing to note is that there’s a moral message to be learned from the film. Paddington, a Peruvian refugee, is innocent and always knows what’s right and wrong. He sees the best in people and is always helping others out. A good role model for kids if ever there was one.
Paddington returns with a bang. I recommend taking your kids to see it because you’d get a laugh out of it too.