Paddington 2

PADDINGTON 2. Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson, and Imelda Staunton. The character of Paddington Bear is voiced by Ben Whishaw. Directed by Paul King. Rated G. (Very mild themes and violence). 103 min.

 This British live-action, animated, adventure-comedy is based on the late Michael Bond’s stories of the character, Paddington Bear, and is a sequel to the 2014 film, “Paddington Bear”.

 It tells the story of a happy and settled Paddington Bear who now lives contentedly in London and wants to buy the perfect present for his elderly aunt, who lives in Peru. Someone steals the present before Paddington can give it to her.

Paddington Bear has emigrated to Britain from Peru and has become a respected and popular member of his community at Windsor Gardens. He spreads happiness wherever he goes under the caring and watchful eye of the Brown family (Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville). Continuing the charm of the 2014 movie, Paddington Brown is decent, generous, considerate, moral, and perfectly well-mannered. He lives a life that generates hope and good cheer and spreads them wherever he goes, but manages to leave chaos in his wake that inevitably charms.

 The 100th. birthday of his beloved Aunt (voiced by Imelda Staunton) is fast approaching, and Paddington goes on the hunt for a present at Mr. Gruber’s antique store. He sets his sights on a magical pop-up book. The present is ideal, but expensive, and he has to take odd jobs to buy it. One day away from purchasing the book he wants, it is stolen by someone, who is a master of disguise. Paddington is arrested as a suspect in the robbery, and the Brown family works hard to clear his name. While in prison, Paddington is exposed to grumpy, fellow inmate Knuckles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson), the prison Chef, who he eventually manages to charm by cooking his signature marmalade jam for him.

The film essentially tells the tale of Paddington’s efforts to unmask the robber. The role of the thief is taken by Hugh Grant at his scene-stealing best. Grant takes the part of ageing, narcissistic Phoenix Buchanan, who once was a famous actor, but now exists by doing dog-food ads. for commercial TV. The book Phoenjx steals from Mr. Gruber’s shop contains coded clues to treasure no one has yet found. Hugh Grant pulls the stops out in the role of Phoenix, but it is Brendan Gleeson who almost steals the limelight from Paddington Bear.

 This is almost the perfect child’s film for Christmas fantasy fun. It is sweet-natured, devoid of any cruelty, unassuming, very well scripted, and full of slapstick comedy that is physically obvious.

Paddington is Charlie Chaplin-like in his various antics, clumsily creating chaos wherever he goes, and in the middle of it all, the film conveys messages of good cheer with edifying social intent. Paddington lives in a country that welcomes immigrants unreservedly, and with the movie’s positive attitude to integration, the politics of Brexit provides an interesting backdrop to the film.

The movie is full of action that is animated well, and there is a seamless blending of live and fantasy action. This is a film that is almost impossible not to like. It is sweet and sharp, light in tone, unquestionably British, and carries (implicitly) a contemporary social bite.

The film will entertain adults and children, even those who didn’t see and enjoy Paddington (1). Its plot is simple; famous actors and actresses play attractive cameo roles; it is directed with imaginative flair; and the film’s comedy is highly entertaining.

 In this movie, Good never looks like losing out to Evil, and everything seems well-placed for Paddington 2 to be the family hit of the 2017 Christmas season so far - even considering current movies about “Ebenezer Scrooge” and “Christopher Robin” that are playing in Australian cinemas right now.

 Peter W. Sheehan is Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting

StudioCanal Pictures

Released December 21st., 2017

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