Posted Nov 09 2017

Paddington 2 - This Hugh Grant And A Bear Movie Beautifully, Gorgeously Rocks

Dir: Paul King

Starring Paddington, Hugh Grant, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonnevilee, Peter Capaldi, Brendan Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Ben Wishaw, Joanna Limley, Noah Taylor, Jessica Hynes, Ben Miller, Tom Conti

Paddington is back and you know what? There’s very little to say. Except, that lightening does indeed strike twice and this is simply, utterly delightful.

We could leave it at that, but – from its opening moments back in old Peru to his once again brilliantly realised vision of a London that never was but should be, director and co-writer King and co embroils us in a wonderful vision of a family movie that makes you laugh, tear up, and leave the cinema with the warmest feeling a CGI animal is likely to impart to you this year. (And this was the year of Caesar.)

There’s a nominal plot of course, and the fact that King and all those concerned know it is nominal is part of its charm. Basically, Hugh Grant is a hammy old actor way past his prime (accurate in the hammy maybe, but this finds the man at the top of his very adroit game) and Paddington ends up in prison, where his innate charms win over the most hardened of criminals, most specifically Gleeson’s grumpy old chef Nuckles McGinty (and we’re still wondering if he’s a distant relation of Iron Balls McGinty from Steve Martin’s The Jerk?)

But plot is not what’s important in a Paddington movie – charm is everything. And this film is simply awash in it. But never is an overwhelming saccharine way. What both Paddington movies prove – and prove in spades – is how they can create a modern family movie that is so full of simplicity and joy that it can’t help but fully envelop its audience.

But whilst you watch it with a mixture of rising happiness and love, don’t forget to note just how technical a marvel this film is. Largely animated – from central character to background detail to train chases to locations and more, this is not only a beautiful looking film, but simply one to wonder at on a technical level. But one in which the CG never intrudes on the power of its story telling.

That said, it’s time that Paddington himself is recognised as one of the greatest technical creations – and more importantly, characters - of the CG era. There’s a sequence here in a barber’s shop where the bear vibrates (don’t worry, it’s all good clean fun) that is simply one of the finest pieces of animation we’ve seen in years!

One of the best things Colin Firth ever did in his career was to graciously walk away from providing the voice of Paddington, because in that role, Ben Whishaw is simply perfect. Which is pretty much the best word to apply to this most welcome of sequels. Christmas just got here early.


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