Even if you didn’t know who (or what) Paddington is, you’ll definitely recognise the British bear with his trademark red hat and yellow coat.
Paddington 2 sees the little bear dig his claws into his paws as he tries to adapt to life with the Browns in London. All the neighbours except an old codger seems to take to little Paddington as the bear tries to find a job to earn money for his Aunt Lucy’s birthday present. Oh and if you weren’t sure who Aunt Lucy is, it’s Paddington’s aunt back in the Peruvian forests who practically raised him with the better morals than most teenagers have nowadays.
Ben Whishaw returns to voice the cuddly bear, with Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins reprising their roles as Mr and Mrs Brown. While they are the main stars, the one that really outdid himself was the antagonist. No thanks to Hugh Grant for taking Nicole Kidman’s place as the deliciously narcissistic star villain, Phoenix Buchanan, who is as self-absorbed as he is pompous.
Somehow, both Phoenix and Paddington have their sights set on the same pop-up book from the vintage antique store round the corner, but for entirely different reasons. While Paddington hilariously tries out various part time jobs that always ends with disastrous results to earn some cash to get the books ‘through the proper way’, Phoenix decides to just steal the book with his bountiful theatric costumes and theatric skills. Not only does Paddington sees the thief running away with his coveted book, he gets framed as the thief just because he was at the crime scene. Together with a vindictive judge, Paddington is packed away to jail for the next 10 years.
Of course with such a endearing personality, Paddington takes to jail with his mellow ways. Not only does Paddington manage to tame the prison kitchen’s overwhelmingly terrifying chef, he helps the other inmates realise their inner talents and hobbies, turning the entire prison into something of a resort, really. Not only does he makes friends with even the toughest of the criminals and gangsters, he manages to gain their sympathy as well.
Outside the prison, the Brown family works hard to clear Paddington’s name, taking it on themselves to do some undercover detective work since the police plain refuses to help them. Cue more ridiculous situations as the Browns chase all over town, and eventually onto a high-speed rail train in a cat-and-mouse-esque game just to catch the thief.
As awesome as the idea of having a thunder buddy like Ted (the other really popular anthropomorphic bear that has his own series of movies) would be, Paddington is a less crass, much more pleasant and lovable critter to watch on the screen. The CGI graphically animated film is pretty easy on the eyes, and is suitable for the whole family. While the storyline is pretty predictable (it’s targeted at kids after all), the whole movie is filled with pretty heartwarming scenes that makes your heart feel all warm and fuzzy. For the older ones – you get to relish in watching Hugh Grant don all sorts of costumes from an old man to a nun, and really.
Paddington 2 might be the sequel to an equally adorable movie that shows how Paddington ended up in London, it doesn’t really matter if you haven’t watched the original movie or know nothing about the original books by Michael Bond. Sequels also have a reputation for not being able to live up to the hype of the original, but it’s safe to say that Paddington is one of the rare few sequels that is as good – or even better – than the original. Returning Director Paul King doesn’t try to recreate the first movie and banking on the same winning formula, instead he teams up with new co-writer Simon Farnaby for more over-the-top adventures that are ridiculous – but that’s what makes it funny.
If you want to bring home a little Paddington cheer for yourself, you’re just in luck because Marks & Spencer has a limited edition range of Paddington goodies for the Christmas season. It would have been cool to have some of that delicious marmalade that Paddington is always carrying around, but we’ll have to settle for some lollies and chocolate boots that Paddington wears. There’s even cute little Paddington plushies that are selling as fast as we are writing this article – so be sure to get one if your really loved the movie!
Paddington 2 opens in cinemas today, 7 December, islandwide.
The Paddington Bear X Marks & Spencer’s collection is now available at all Marks & Spencer outlets, while stocks last.