Paddington 2 sweet as honey, earns every one of its high reviews
Whatever preconceived notions you have about seeing a movie about a bear in a blue coat, the fact remains that “Paddington 2” has set the record for most reviewed movie to remain at 100% on the Rotten Tomatoes “Tomatometer,” being classified as “Certified Fresh.” It has even topped “Toy Story 2.”
The film is the sequel to the 2014 film based on Michael Bond’s best-selling “Paddington” children’s books. Directed by two-time BAFTA nominee Paul King and produced by Harry Potter producer David Heyman, “Paddington 2” is one of those few exceptions where a sequel is actually just as enjoyable as the original movie. In this charming iteration, viewers find their Peruvian bear with an English accent, Paddington, happily living in Windsor Gardens in London with the Brown family. He has become a beloved member of the community (excluding the grumpy Mr. Curry). Paddington’s one worry is purchasing the perfect gift, a pop-up book of London, for Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday. This gift is his way of saying thank you for everything she has done for him through the years—that is, until the book is unexpectedly stolen and Paddington is wrongfully found guilty and imprisoned.
Bear With Me
I know what you’re thinking—another kiddie movie about a talking animal. Well, yeah, butthen again, also no. “Paddington 2” is so much more than the usual. It’s an appealing story about love and family and kindness that entertains you with humor, suspense, and action. “Paddington 2” gives us a lovable hero that is both engaging and sympathetic. He’s a childlike bear who, although he attempts to do the right thing, often finds himself in trouble. (Think of classic television characters like Gilligan in “Gilligan’s Island.”) The antagonist is also a classic character-type: a has-been actor as a narcissistic villain, portrayed by Hugh Grant. It’s a simple heart-warming tale with heroes and villains, but sometimes that is the kind of lighthearted movie that we all need in order to just sit back, relax, and de-stress. It is the kind of movie that the world might need during these dark, confusing times.
Although we know Paddington is not going to spend the rest of his life in prison, it's interesting to see how things unfold and how he is going to get out. We also get a quirky view of this adorable cub among a diverse group of hardened criminals, including big intimidating men. And while Paddington is in prison, the Brown family is busy searching for the real thief of the book.
The film is also enjoyable to see played out in its shot design. The artistic scenes, bright colors and Wes Anderson-style aesthetic makes the endearing story plot so much more fun to watch. And the visuals are complemented perfectly with the calypso music played throughout.
The comedic physical humor in the film is often reminiscent of popular classics. There’s even a quick homage to Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times.” The film also pays tribute to the multiplePaddington Bear TV series that ran throughout 1976-1987, with abook sequence in which characters and backgrounds are animated as paper cut-outs.
Sweet as Marmalade
Just as the first film brought us fun with a genuine and meaningful message, “Paddington 2” is filled with messages about kindness and searching for the good in others—a message that remains as good for kids as for adults. Essentially, the film delivers a very Christ-like message of “Love thy neighbor.”
Paddington often quotes Aunt Lucy, telling others, “If we're kind and polite the world will be right” and “if you look for the good in people, you will find it.” Wise words from a bear that many of us could learn from. And it’s clear, after Paddington goes missing from his neighborhood, that his kind spirit had brought a difference needed in others’ lives. As Mr. Brown says in the film, “[Paddington] looks for the good in all of us and somehow, he finds it! It's why he makes friends wherever he goes. And it's why Windsor Gardens is a happier place whenever he's around.” We could all do with some goodness of the heart.
Rating: PG (for some action and mild rude humor)
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Kids & Family
Directed By: Paul King (VII)
Written By: Paul King (VII), Simon Farnaby
Runtime: 105 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Starring: Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Vonneville, Julie Walters