Review: Paddington—the marmalade-loving Peruvian bear who has now become a permanent resident in Windsor Gardens, London along with The Browns—returns for another adventure in this bear-y merry sequel.
While having been entirely integrated into human’s life and become a local hero, Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) is still the bear he used to be—the little bear saved and adopted by the late Uncle Pastuzo (voiced by Michael Gambon) and Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton). For Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington is keen to give her a unique pop-up book about London, the city of her dream. The lil’ bear will do anything to finally buy the book from Mr. Gruber’s (Jim Broadbent) antique shop; even when what he’s done gets him entangled into a malicious conspiracy orchestrated by a villainous former actor, Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant).
Paddington 2 is about bringing back the most uplifting aspects of the predecessor—from the dynamics of Brown family to Paddington’s clumsy recitals of Aunt Lucy’s advices. The Browns have changed a lot since the last time we see them; but, the warmth remains with them. Sally Hawkins’ Mary is still the heart of the family, while Hugh Bonneville’s Henry keeping it hot and Julie Walters’ Mrs. Bird cool. While The Browns is the core, the whole neighborhood (more than just Peter Capaldi’s Mr. Curry) is also involved in the story as well, making Paddington 2 a subtle integration of fantasy elements into real-life hullaballoo.
Director Paul King makes every moment in Paddington 2 as hilarious and pleasant as possible. From Paddington’s bizarre tenures in Giuseppe’s barber to his literally off-the-wall cleaning job, King wraps them with hilarity. Even, the villainous M.O. conducted by Buchanan is fascinating to follow; as the peculiar Buchanan roams around London for a treasure hunt. When Buchanan’s evil plan finally brings Paddington to prison, there’s a slight of sentimental moment; but that doesn’t stop the little bear to keep partaking in breathtaking adventures adorned with water-colored sets and symmetrical shot which might remind you to Wes Anderson’s works. It’s a never-ending fun bonanza with the little bear at the center of it.
Hugh Grant takes up the villain mantle fluently from Nicole Kidman in the first film. His character gives a strong resemblance to Lemony Snicket’s Count Olaf in level of annoyance; but, still, Mr. Buchanan is an interesting character to follow. He’s deep into method acting that characters he ever played (from Scrooge in Christmas Carol to Hamlet) start manifesting within him.
Buchanan isn’t the only enticing character in this sequel. Brendan Gleeson’s Knuckle McGinty is also an exhilarating beast tamed by Paddington during their tenure together. Tom Conti’s Judge always leaves guilty-pleasure impressions in his appearance. The rosters of pink-clothed inmates (which include Game of Thrones’ Noah Taylor) bring more colors to this already vibrant fantasy. Even, Richard Ayoade’s cameo makes Paddington 2 lit.
Definitely coming back stronger than the predecessor, Paddington 2 is charming and marmalade-sweet as much as it is hilarious and satisfying. It’s a bear-y merry British family drama at its most entertaining level.
Paddington 2 (2017)
Animation, Family, Comedy, Adventure Directed by: Paul King Written by: Paul King & Simon Farnaby based on “Paddington Bear” by Michael Bond Starred by: Ben Whishaw, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson Runtime: 103 mins