Directed by: Paul King
Produced by: David Heyman
Written by: Paul King and Simon Farnaby
‘Paddington Bear’ created by: Michael Bond
Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi with Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw as the voice of Paddington.
Sans nephew and not having seen the original Paddington (2014) – well, only bits on the cable TV that I caught watching with a patient at (my other life) work; both of us agreeing the film looking surprisingly good and Paddington The Bear textured and lovely: I wasn’t sure what to expect with Paddington 2.
But when a premier ends with applause from the audience and finding a grin on my face with added moments of laughing-out-loud, you know you’re on to a winner.
‘Stop that stunning sister!’ Yells Barry (Simon Farnaby – also co-writer!), the vice deputy security guard of St Paul’s Cathedral, as the villain-of-many-disguises, Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant) escapes capture disguised as a nun.
There’s something about that British humour here that just tickles. And Hugh Grant cast as the has-been actor (now famous for starring in dog commercials) is hilarious.
Paddington 2 is the sequel to the hugely successful 2014 Paddington – a world wide hit and the most successful non-US family film of all time.
Based on the children’s books written by Michael Bond, Paddington 2 is a fitting tribute to Bond who passed away this year aged 91.
Producer David Heyman has re-united the Paddington team with Paul King at the forefront as director and co-writer – and they’ve all brought their A-game.
From the delightful costumes from designer Lindy Hemming (seriously, I spent half the movie laughing at Phoenix-the-villain’s outfits, socks pulled to knees over breeches included) to the intricacies of the set surprising and clever (production designer Gary Williamson) reminiscent of the Harry Potter movies but with the bright lights of a carnival and a jail shown like a stage set with the jungle of Peru growing through the floor boards.
Yet, the story did have glaring holes that is so incredibly un-realistic with the movie about Paddington unjustly being incarcerated for stealing a pop-up book from an antique store for 10 years: really?!
But this is a kid’s movie and when the pop-up book rises to fill the screen and to have Paddington running through the scenes of the book’s pages, any thought of unreality is overwhelmed with wonder.
And there’s some beautiful characters here – the film isn’t all about Paddington.
There’s Knuckles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson a personal favourite actor of mine), the shaggy dog, the Brown family and the neighbours living on the same street who all have their own story, used not just as a backstory for Paddington, but to also circle back into the film making each character worthwhile and needed giving that satisfying feeling of completeness while adding a layer to the themes of acceptance and finding the good in everyone you meet.
I’m still grinning replaying the moments, even if I’m not a fan of marmalade.