Paddington (2014)

paddington_2014_poster
Paddington (2014)
  • Time: 95 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Family
  • Director: Paul King
  • Cast: Ben Whishaw, Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville

Storyline:

A young Peruvian bear with a passion for all things British travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined – until he meets the kindly Brown family, who read the label around his neck (‘Please look after this bear. Thank you.’) and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist.

6 reviews

  • When I think of Paddington, I think of the cute bear with his marmalade sandwiches in his briefcase and all his rain clothes on and while there are a lot of similarities in the film, there are a lot of differences I don’t recall from the cartoon. However, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, there is a lot to enjoy here and while there is a bit too much slapstick at times, there are more funny and loveable moments to counteract it. It’s not as funny as I had anticipated, but there is a lot of heart and so much more than just comedy to enjoy, from Paddington’s inability to understand a lot of the human ways (such as how to use a toothbrush) to Mr. Brown’s relationship with Paddington, this has a lot of layers.

    There is a great cast at hand, for those unaware Colin Firth (Before I Go To Sleep) was originally cast as Paddington, however they all agreed his voice just didn’t suit the young bear (after all his lines were recorded) and thus Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) became the voice of Paddington. It was a good move as far as I can see as Whishaw does a fantastic job voicing Paddington. It’s not just Whishaw though, as Nicole Kidman (Before I Go To Sleep) and Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) both give so much more depth into Paddington, you both love and hate the characters and are heavily invested in their roles.
    (Click here to read the full review.)

  • Tony Barton

    A small lovable bear from Peru, sees his future in London and stows away on a ship bound for England. However, he finds himself lost and alone on the platform at Paddington Station and the city life he dreamt of soon seems a million miles away.

    However his luck suddenly takes an upward turn as the Brown family spot him and read the tag around his neck (‘Please look after this bear.Thank You.’) They offer him a temporary place to stay why they try to find him a permanent new home. The little bear thinks he’s hit the big time when he receives an attractive offer of a permanent home from Minicent. (Kidman.). However, he soon discovers that Minicent’s plans for him are far from honourable and finds himself in all kinds of trouble.

    From the minute he arrives at Paddington Station, you just simply fall for the innocent, slightly mischievous children’s favourite, making his big screen debut. This live action movie, as you’d expect is aimed at the younger audience, but the strong cast, which includes Jim Broadbent, Nicole Kidman, Julie Walters and Dr Who’s Peter Capaldi ensures that there’s enough going on for the Mums and Dads.

    The movie is colourful and well made, with the interaction between Paddington and his surroundings, cleverly handled. The movie can boast some good, if not memorable performances in the shape of Nicole Kidman’s evil Minicent, who tries to hide her true plans from Paddington. Mat Lucas is funny as the hen pecked Cab Driver. But the show is stolen by Paddington, who is beautifully animated, with his voice supplied by Ben Whishaw of Skyfall fame. The laughs come thick and fast, as do the thrills in this enjoyable live action movie.

    Grown up’s keep your tongue firmly in your cheek and you’ll have a blast.

  • Quickie Review:

    Paddington is a rare young bear from deepest, darkest Peru, whose home is destroyed after an earthquake. His search for a new home leads him to London. There he meets the Brown family, who offer him shelter till he can find a family of his own. While it is clearly aimed for kids, the loveable characters and their adventures are still fun for adults to enjoy. Paddington is a pleasant surprise due to its charming characters and light hearted humour. It is the perfect combination for a good family film.

    Full Review:

    I’m not familiar with the Paddington Bear children’s book. So I do not have any previous knowledge on the source material to know what to expect. Still it seemed decent enough from the trailers, so I gave it a shot despite the very limited release in EU. And it was worth it.

    First of all the bear is very well animated. If done wrong it could easily have been very distracting, making Paddington feel like a cartoon rather than a character. He is the best part of the movie, relentlessly polite with a heart of gold. So many times he would be clumsy and get himself into trouble or accidently cause damage, yet you can’t help but love him. Of course the clumsiness lead to some funny slapstick comedy that kids would thoroughly enjoy. At the same the movie doesn’t depend on the slapstick alone, but balances itself out with some witty dialogue that adults can enjoy. Additionally the supporting cast was well developed, each of them have a story arc that they go through. I’m sure the parents who see this film will smile at how the transition into adulthood and becoming parents is depicted in this film.

    If there was any complaint it would be that the story is very predictable. You have seen this story multiple times in other family films. So yes Paddington did take the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach to the storytelling. However, I’m still willing to defend this decision because the movie was executed well. There is no need for revolutionary story or deeply profound philosophical questions at the end. It is a simple premise with a simple villain, likeable heroes, and a good message about family and home. Since that is done well, I can easily overlook the flaws.

    Despite the fact I am not the target demographic (a child or a parent taking a child to the movie) I very much enjoyed Paddington. Its warm innocent charm and humour reminded me of other family genre classics of my childhood. So since it is able to make me nostalgic of my childhood then I must say, job well done.

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  • There’s very little, if anything at all, to fault with Paddington, a thoroughly disarming work that sees Michael Bond’s much-beloved bear brought to cinematic life. It’s a playful, heartwarming affair that easily ranks among the best family films ever made. Both adults and children, newcomers and acolytes, will discover much to savour.

    The film opens with newsreel footage of Montgomery Clyde’s (Tim Downie) expedition into deepest, darkest Peru where he is welcomed and befriended by a rare family of bears. He introduces them to the pleasures of marmalade sandwiches and assures them they will always have a home in London should they ever come to visit. Many years pass, Lucy (voiced by Imelda Staunton) and Pastuzo (voiced by Michael Gambon) still talk of visiting the kindly explorer though they have their hands full with their accident-prone nephew (voiced by Ben Whishaw).

    Click here for the complete review

  • (Rating: ☆☆☆ out of 4)

    This film is recommended.

    In brief: Modern updating loses some charm from the original source, but enough visual cleverness survives.

    GRADE: B-

    My first film for the new movie season (2015-2016):

    Poor Paddington! He had a makeover in this updated version of the popular 1950’s Michael Bond stories. He still has his signature red hat, battered suitcase, and blue overcoat, plus his overall cuteness, but his misadventures are stuffed with more pop references, modern days songs, and silly slapstick chase scenes than his unlimited supply of marmalade could handle. It’s a sticky situation indeed!

    Written and directed by Paul King, Paddington still has a enjoyable whimsical streak. Visually, the live action CGI works very well and King’s vision of stark primary colors and imaginative out-of-kilter signature moments (a dollhouse opening up to the Brown household, sepia-toned newsreel footage of paddington’s past life, fallen leaves from a wall mural) give the film a unique look before it descends into a 101 Dalmatian rip-off, complete with a Cruella DuVille villainess out for revenge. (Special mention goes to Gary Williamson’s grand production design and Erik Wilson’s fine cinematography for creating a Wes Anderson-style universe. )

    For those who may not know the story, Paddington is sent to London and adopted by the Brown Family, a properly British clan: uptight father, bohemian mother, and their two lovable children, Jonathan and Judy. Of course, our furry friend gets into all sorts of trouble with his new life in London, but his mishaps bring the family closer together.

    The problem with this film adaptation is that its central plot panders away its cleverness by relying too heavily on action sequences that might delight the youngest of moviegoers and bore anyone above the age of 6. The screenplay concentrates less on the relationship between our pint-size hero and his new family, which made the original source so endearing.

    The cast bring the right level of energy to the proceedings: Hugh Bonneville (playing the no-nonsense patriarch once again, but with enough comic edge this time around), Sally Hawkings, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, and Jim Broadbent are all appealing. Nicole Kidman has the thankless role of the evil Millicent but the actress brings enough campiness to the role. The film also boasts some wonderful voice-over work from Imelda Staunton and Michael Gambon as Paddington’s aunt and uncle from “dark Peru”. Foremost is Ben Whishaw’s contribution as Paddington Bear, a perfect blending of tonal innocence and childlike wonder. It gives so much believability to this beloved character.

    The film has more than its share of razzle-dazzle. Even if it fizzles out towards the end, Paddington will still entertain and amuse your inner child.

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  • When the announcement was made of a feature-length adaptation of Michael Bond’s beloved Paddington bear – the polite, marmalade-loving, bespectacled bear from deepest, darkest Peru – I’m sure the common assumption was that disaster was afoot. How do you take a character so steeped in nostalgia, some distinctively old-fashioned, and so quintessentially British, and translate it for a modern audience of children raised on multi-film franchises, CGI and fat suits? Based on the strength of the film’s finished product, you employ a young, ambitious director with a real talent for visual flair.

    His name is Paul King, and his only previous film, Bunny and the Bull (2009), was a funny, sweet odyssey into the weird, similar in many ways to his most popular TV work, The Mighty Boosh. Paddington is an enormous step up into the mainstream, and could have easily been yet another cheap and formulaic Brit-com; films that are churned out quicker and lazier than they are placed in Asda’s bargain bin. Yet despite it’s thread-bare plot and familiar genre tropes, Paddington not only offers excitement in some slapstick set-pieces that will surely please the kids, but King makes the film an interesting analogy of immigration, a hot topic in modern society.

    When Paddington (voiced with adorable naivety by Ben Whishaw) arrives at Paddington station, leaving his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) and Uncle Pastuzo (Michael Gambon) after an earthquake destroys his home, the image of the tiny bear, adorned with a sign around his neck asking any friendly Londoners to “please look after this bear, thank you”, brings to mind the images of poverty-stricken immigrants arriving at Ellis Island in the 1900’s as much as it does the child evacuees during World War II, Bond’s original inspiration. He is taken in by inner city statistical analyst Henry Brown (Hugh Bonneville) and his wife, artist Mary (Sally Hawkins), and is soon causing chaos in their home.

    Evil taxidermist Millicent (Nicole Kidman) shows up about a third of the way in, intent on capturing and stuffing the rare talking bear, teaming up with grumpy (and randy) next-door neighbour Mr. Curry (Peter Capaldi) in what is the only contrived plot-thread of the movie. Her purpose is to be Paddington’s antagonist, and it’s during these scenes that the film stutters. When the focus is on the curious bear’s adventures and pratfalls, and his relationship with the Brown family, this is an incredibly warm, visually engaging experience. It’s peppered with wonderful moments, such as Paddington’s scribbled addresses appearing out of the London skyline and the ever-changing wallpaper, which blossoms and fades to fit in with the film’s various moods. This is a delightful surprise, and I’m eager to see where King will go from here.

    Rating: 4/5

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