Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen.
Paddington is happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday, Paddington spots a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber's antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it's up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief. Written by
Loved the first 'Paddington', was not sure whether that would be the case but it turned out to be one of that year's biggest surprises and delights. Was enthused about hearing that there was a sequel with the same crew returning, always a plus when it comes to sequels, but there was the concern as to whether it would fall victim to "sequel-titis".
Very luckily, 'Paddington 2' does not fall victim to that. It is one of not many sequels to actually be equal in quality to its predecessor and come close to being even better. It maintains all of 'Paddington's' heart, fun and charm, maintaining everything that made that film so good, and even builds on that appeal. For such a hit-and-miss year and seeing my fair share of overblown big-budget blockbusters with little soul, films that waste great premises and films that attempted laugh-a-minute laughs and doing it in a way that came at the expense of heart, 'Paddington 2' was a much needed refreshment. Not saying at all that it has been a completely bad year, actually there have been very good to great films, just that 'Paddington 2' stood out in the best of ways in recent weeks.
Maybe it could have been ever so slightly longer and would have again liked to have seen more of Mr Curry and his acrimonious relationship with Paddington. Everything else is magic.
'Paddington 2' once again looks great. It's beautifully shot and vibrant in design with a little bit of grit and Paddington as to be expected couldn't have looked more perfect. The music score is suitably soothing, rousing and whimsical, while the direction keeps things moving at a bright and breezy pace. A pace that never slows down but doesn't ever feel too hasty either.
Scripting is also spot on. The comedic moments are incredibly funny, the best of it hilarious, with rapid-fire wit, endearing quirkiness, clever gags that don't feel like pale retreads of before and perfectly pitched misunderstandings and physical comedy. Underneath all the humour and the darker and more suspenseful mystery/action-oriented elements of the story is a big heart and strong emotional core, with some lovely inspiring messaging and values that are very much current and some touching parts. It's also incredibly intelligent, not many films this year have treated its audience with the amount of respect that 'Paddington 2' has, and has such an endearing innocence.
A large part of that is the character of Paddington himself. Can't fault his design or Ben Whishaw's beautiful voice acting, nor can one fault his truly adorable personality, absolutely love how he tries to still remain even in the grimmest of situations and he is easy to root for and love throughout. The story may on the slight side structurally but has a lot going on, without being cluttered, that makes it very much eventful and to me there weren't any tonal issues.
Every ounce of the heart, charm and fun seen in 'Paddington' is here and everybody gets a chance to shine, especially Mr Brown and Mrs Bird of Paddington's family. The new characters are great additions, with a superior villain and the character of the cook Knuckles being one of the film's nicest surprises. Only Mr Curry could have been done better.
Performances across the board are great. Hugh Bonneville balances comedy and drama with ease, Sally Hawkins is compassionate and Julie Walters is a hoot. Jim Broadbent is always a welcome presence and the younger actors are appealing. Brendan Gleeson excels in a departure role, a dramatic actor in a more comedic role in a family-friendly film could have gone wrong but Gleeson brings a curmudgeonly charm and great comic timing. Hugh Grant is also cast against type and brilliantly sends up himself and the world of acting. This is Paddington's film though.
Overall, an absolute delight and refreshing. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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