Paddington 2 - 2018
Director(s): Paul King
Writer(s): Paul King and Simon Farnaby (screenplay) / Michael Bond (characters)
Cinematography by: Erik Wilson
Editor(s): Jonathan Amos and Mark Everson
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Peter Capaldi, Brendan Gleeson and Hugh Grant
Synopsis: Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen (IMDB).
As of me writing this review, this movie sits at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Now, I don’t put a lot of weight to the “Tomatometer” score, since I know that you really can’t boil down a review to a number or percentage. There are a lot of nuanced things to why you like and don’t like a movie and even in a review that is “rotten” a reader could be motivated to see it. But, over 155 critics agreeing on a singular fact - this movie is good - made me want to see it even more. After watching it I completely understand why every critic has fallen in love with this movie.
Watching this movie felt like sitting with your favorite person in the world, at your favorite coffee shop, drinking your favorite hot beverage and eating your favorite pastry. Walking away I had a smile on my face, felt warm and was completely satisfied with my experience. This is just simply a delightful, well made and acted movie. Let’s talk about it.
Paul King returned to direct and write the sequel to his 2015 surprise hit. I say surprise because, come on, a talking CGI bear interacting with real actors and it’s a great movie? How? What is this magic!? King creates and maintains a joyful, upbeat tone that makes me want to live in London with a bear. This bear is so nice and charming that it makes everyone around him happier and full of aspirations. One thing that I really wanted to point out regarding King’s direction is how well the camera flowed from scene to scene; it wasn’t stagnated or boring. The camera was always on top of the action. Another aspect that I was really impressed by is how well the world and the actors interacted with the CGI bear. He felt as if he was really in the room with them. It takes you very little time for you to buy into this world.
Quick note: the script is filled with jokes for the kids, like a bucket of water landing on top of a bear or a bear using his booty to dry clean windows. Ok, I laughed at that one. But it’s also filled with dry straight jokes for the parents that land every time.
The animation is spectacular. Honestly there were sequences that blew me away by how well made they were. As the synopsis above states, Paddington is trying to get the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday. Aw. He finds the perfect present in a pop-up book of London. The reason why it’s the perfect present for Aunt Lucy is because she has always wanted to visit London. This way, Paddington could take London to his Aunt before she passes away. Aw. They show Paddington and Aunt Lucy go into the pop-up world of London and it’s just plain beautiful and creative how they flow through the entire book. As the pages unfold the bears are transported to the next location, interacting with the paper world they are currently inhabiting thanks to Paddington’s active imagination.
Quick note: the set decoration and the custom design was also on point. At times, it felt I was watching a Wes Anderson movie since it was so esthetically pleasing.
I have never walked away from a Hugh Grant performance and thought to myself, “He was perfect in that movie.” Don’t get me wrong, he is a fine enough actor that has always stayed in that rom-com wheelhouse playing to his strengths. But he killed it in this movie. He plays the villain, Phoenix Buchanan, a washed-out actor trying to reclaim his fame and status. He has multiple personalities as he keeps alive every role he has played during his career. I could watch an entire movie just about this character and him interacting with everyone that lives in his head. The rest of the cast is wonderful, and Ben Whishaw voice acting as Paddington is simply perfect. He is warm and inviting and naive enough for you to laugh along with his pure confusion with his surroundings.
Paddington 2 is a great family movie. Every single demographic is served and the story is simple but intriguing enough to keep you engaged throughout the entire runtime. Wonderful and delightful through and through. Paddington is why I love movies.
Paddington is currently playing in theaters. If you want to escape this crazy world we are living in and have a fun and joyful experience this is your movie.
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