A couple of months ago, we were invited to a screening of Paddington 2. The movie releases this week, and we were asked to hold our review until now. I was a big fan of the original Paddington film, purchasing the film on Blu-ray after viewing it. Paddington 2 is not at all a rehash of that first movie (very welcome when sequels often aren't very original), and I actually enjoyed Paddington 2 even more than the first. Paddington himself looks even more realistic, with more emotion in his facial features. And while the first Paddington film had a villainous Nicole Kidman in a rather dark turn for a family movie, Hugh Grant as Phoenix Buchanan is wonderfully vain as a thief, master of disguise and actor with secrets in his attic.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Paddington voiced by BEN WHISHAW in the family adventure "PADDINGTON 2," from Warner Bros. Pictures and STUDIOCANAL, in association with Anton Capital Entertainment S.C.A., a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Paddington 2 solidifies the family relationship that now exists with Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw, who gives a sweetness and earnestness to the famous bear), Mary Brown (Sally Hawkins), Henry Brown (Hugh Bonneville) and the rest of the family. That said, Paddington spends much of the movie away from them due to circumstance.
The crux of the story starts as a simple one: Paddington sees a pop-up book in an antique store and wants to buy it for his Aunt Lucy for her birthday, because he thinks that will be the only way she can see London. The book is far too expensive for him, so he starts saving money by washing windows for his neighbors (Paddington washing windows is hilarious in itself). Buchanan (Grant) finds out about the book from Paddington - the book is actually worth well more than the price its being sold for - and it ends up stolen from the antique shop, with Paddington as the lone suspect. Paddington is the one who ends up paying the price for the stolen book, ending up in prison with the help of Buchanan's dramatic testimony.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Paddington has a way of seeing the good in everyone, which is especially touching and funny in regards to the other prisoners. Prison seems a lonely life for Paddington at first, he can't even have a story read to him. But Paddington eventually spreads his kindness (and marmalade) to the rest of the prison, lifting a dour existence into a lively one.
While Paddington is turning around his own circumstances, we have learned that the pop-up book has clues that lead to a treasure that Buchanan is getting closer to as the movie progresses. Paddington's family - led by Mary - get closer to the truth and there is some unexpected action at the height of the film.
The acting in Paddington 2 is fantastic. Hugh Grant plays the villain with unbridled enthusiasm, showcasing a different side to his acting skills that I hope to see more of. Sally Hawkins (currently starring in The Shape of Water as well) is a pure delight to watch, just as in the first Paddington. Hugh Bonneville is terrific as the father, and Brendan Gleeson as Knuckles McGinty is appropriately gruff. And a lot of the cast is a who's-who of British cinema.
Photo Credit: Jaap Buitendijik
HUGH GRANT as Phoenix Buchanan in the family adventure "PADDINGTON 2," from Warner Bros. Pictures and STUDIOCANAL, in association with Anton Capital Entertainment S.C.A., a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Paddington 2 is one of the best films I watched in 2017, and it will be one of the best films see again in 2018. I will also be purchasing it on Blu-ray (I have already pre-ordered one as a gift for a friend in the UK). The movie isn't just for kids, the humor and lessons that can be learned are universal. I wish we had more of this style movie in the theaters, one that encourages kindness and...just leaves viewers happy when they leave the theater. That is Paddington 2. I hope we will see more of Paddington soon.
Mousesteps grade for Paddington 2: A
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