Michael Bond’s cherished family favourite soared onto the silver screen in 2014 with a rendition of the Paddington tales that most never thought to be quite as successful as it turned out. With a keen eye from director and writer Paul King, he whimsically transformed Paddington literally from page to screen as this addition to Bond’s legacy couldn’t have been more nostalgic or perfect in all of its effort.
A few years pass and luckily a sequel was born from the popularity. Whilst it’s easy to deem this sequel as unnecessary and a cautionary tale in itself to further the popularity of the first (as this things usually don’t turn out quite as successful), King’s clear ode to the character and the charm shapes Paddington 2 into a sequel far superior in more ways than one, creating a firm family favourite which one could only hope to continue. Sometimes we just need something as cute and overwhelmingly charming as this.
Wishing to earn some cash to buy an antique book of London for his dear Aunt Sally’s birthday, Paddington attempts multiple jobs throughout the city to some dismay. When a thief (Hugh Grant), however, gets a sniff of the book’s actual worth, Paddington is caught in the crosshairs and is blamed for its entirety.
Landing in prison, Paddington’s unlikely foes attempt to thwart whoever it was behind the crime, as well as the dear Browns on the outside (Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters etc) who just want their lovable bear returned to the Brown family home.
Slapstick crime capers have never come so adorably. As Paddington left off in the original, his cherished relationship with the Browns is more fitting in the sequel. Less introductory time means more family time and here, somehow, there’s chemistry and visible love here given towards a CGI bear. This character alone evokes an enormous amount of genuine warmth that fused with such a charismatic family like the adventurous Mrs. Brown or whacky Mrs. Bird, it’s truly like an illustrative children’s book has been developed with such precision and accuracy.
King’s sequel maintains a beguiling innocence and charm that it’s an immediate winner. To orchestrate Ben Wishaw’s can-do character with a grumbling, curmudgeon-turn-star baker felon Brendan Gleeson is a brush on the cameo antics filling Paddington’s runtime which isn’t spent on fawning over this over abundance of pure delight – as sweet as marmalade really, isn’t it?
This doesn’t even fathom the inexplicably hilarious character-crossing, star-dazzling performance from Hugh Grant’s dastardly villain, one to equate to Nicole Kidman’s taxidermist villainy.
I could go on and on regarding how ultimately enchanting Paddington 2 is and will forever be. It all lies within those final few moments of this glorious sequel where hearts will sink and tear ducts will be overloaded, but it doesn’t ever hide the fact here that this is a genuinely fantastic family film, sharply written and so perfectly tuned to being just a regular, harm-free film which caters to fans of Bond’s legacy as much as film itself.
Director: Paul King
Writer: Paul King, Simon Farnaby
Cast: Ben Wishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson
Prd: David Heyman
Music: Dario Marienelli
DOP: Erik Wilson
Runtime: 103 minutes