Paddington

"Excellent"

Paddington Review


It's difficult not to go into a movie like this with a sense of dread, as the beloved children's book becomes a live-action movie with a digitally animated, eerily realistic-looking bear. Thankfully, the task of filmmaking was given to the inventive Paul King (of Mighty Boosh fame), who made the charmingly surreal 2009 comedy Bunny and the Bull and brings a refreshingly unexpected comical sensibility to liven up this film's family-friendly formula.

It starts in darkest Peru, where a young bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) has been raised by his aunt and uncle (Imelda Staunton and Michael Gambon), who learned about London from a British explorer. Now in need of a new home, the youngster heads across the sea and takes the name of Paddington Station when he meets the Brown family: over-cautious dad (Hugh Bonneville), over-curious mum (Sally Hawkins), sulking teen Judy (Madeleine Harris), inventive pre-teen Jonathan (Samuel Joslin) and feisty relative Mrs Bird (Julie Walters). As they help him find the explorer, he has a series of adventures, unaware that the taxidermist Millicent (Nicole Kidman) is on his trail, determined to add him to the species on exhibition at the Natural History Museum.

This Cruella De Vil-style subplot would be seriously annoying if King ever let it take over the movie, but it always remains secondary to Paddington's mayhem-causing behaviour and his bonding with the Browns. It also provides some genuine tension in a climactic action sequence in the museum. But most of the film is dedicated to Paddington's comically ridiculous antics, and Whishaw voices him with just the right mixture of curiosity and hapless mischief to make him irresistible.

Meanwhile, the live-action actors throw themselves into the characters, willing to look deeply silly. Bonneville is terrific as the stern dad whose dignity is undermined by, for example, a bit of cross-dressing. And Kidman is also given a role with a mix of cat-like slinkiness and slapstick goofiness. Hawkins provides the warmth, while Walters and Capaldi (as a nosey neighbour) get the laughs. And Harris and Joslin are a lot sparkier than most movie kids.

Meanwhile, King directs the film with continual visual flourishes. The Browns' house is a masterpiece of production design, with character-defining elements in every room that look fantastic and actually add to the film's meaning. And the digital effects have a nice sense of detail that almost makes us believe that no one would bat an eye at the sight of a cute bear roaming the rainy streets of London. With a script packed with smart humour and witty innuendo, the film will keep both the adults and the kids happy. And the "love makes a family" message emerges without resorting to teary sappiness. Bring on the next adventure.



Paddington

Facts and Figures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 95 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th January 2015

Distributed by: The Weinstein Company

Production compaines: Heyday Films, StudioCanal, Costa Rica Filming Locations, DHX Media

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Millicent, as Mr. Curry, as Paddington (voice), as Uncle Pastuzo (voice), as Aunt Lucy (voice), as Mrs. Mary Brown, as Mrs. Bird, as Mr. Brown, as Mr. Gruber, as Taxi Driver, as Andre the Thief, Samuel Joslin as Jonathan Brown, Ancuta Breaban as Commuter #2, Daniel Westwood as Servant, Dominic Coleman as Policeman

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.