Paddington 2 (pre-order ithere) is the sequel and follow up film to 2014’s surprise hit,Paddington. The film, directed by Paul King, proved to be a sleeper box office hit with children and adults. How does the second film hold up compared to the first?
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: A)
To be honest, I am not too familiar with the original source material by author, Michael Bond. I was more into the Berenstain Bears instead (everyone has a preference). However, that did not mean I could not enjoy this delightful film. The casting, the story, and the overall tone of the production puts this in the category of one of the best films I have seen this year (although it is considered a 2017 release, the film was not released in the US until 12 January 2018).
Paddington 2 picks up not too long after the conclusion of the first film. Our protagonist has settled in nice with the Brown family and within the community. His presence has breathed life into many of the locals’ lives and has sort of become the glue that holds the community together. Unfortunately, things start to go wrong for Paddington when he is framed for a crime he did not commit, and soon finds himself slapped with a ten-year incarceration sentence (probably the darkest element of the film).
How will our little friend survive in such a rough environment? Fear not, the film does not go into any dark territory with the prison subplot and, as always, Paddington is able to brighten up the entire atmosphere of the prison (even making friends with the most hardened criminal in the joint). The Browns, knowing that Paddington’s spirits are dimming the longer he stays locked up, race to find the real culprit who is responsible for the crime before they get away.
What made the first movie so charming were the performances from all involved. Ben Whishaw (the voice of Paddington) delivers a nuanced voice performance, aided with CG and animatronics. His vocals are the heart of the film. The adult cast also deliver in their roles, but Hugh Grant appears to be having the most fun in his role, along with Brendan Gleeson.
The film’s story structure is practically perfect as it knows where, and when, to shift tonal gears and is very aware of its surroundings. The film’s runtime is just where it needs to be; it knows when to cut off without wearing out its charms.
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR FAMILY?
Paddington 2 is rated PG for some action and mild rude humor. There is no foul language present at all. There are no innuendos present. Violence? The slapstick is so tame it puts a Bugs Bunny cartoon to shame in that department. There is only one scene (at the end) that comes to mind where I think it could come off as intense for young viewers, age 3 to 7. One of the things I loved most about this film is the fact a whole family can watch it and not have to worry about content. I honestly believe the PG certificate was “harsh” in this case.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
When a situation is at its darkest, or when the storms in our life are raging, always have faith and rely on yourself and those you love. Paddington’s attitude and cheery disposition is contagious, and we should always try to be an example, and let our “light” shine.
Justin Lozada is a financial systems instructor for the United States Air Force. He reviews Hollywood films atLetterboxd.