Morley Movie Review: Paddington 2

Morley Movie Review: Paddington 2

Pictures sequel Paddington 2 opens in North America theaters on January 12, and we got a chance to chat with the cast and crew. Since it's not every day a bear turns 100, Paddington decides the ideal gift to send would be a revered pop-up book of London, except there's a problem; the change stuck inside his ear isn't going to be enough to cover the expensive cost. With Paddington 2, King again attempts to make us fall in love with a city we have never lived in and is successful at it - all with the help of a wee bear. It's terribly expensive so the bear takes on odd jobs and isn't really successful at a lot of them. The film's plot provides a series of amusing set pieces for Paddington to get into insane antics, as he injects a dose of propriety into the dank prison culture by teaching a crusty chef named Knuckles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson) to make marmalade sandwiches.

Naturally, Paddington accepts that he must put in work to accomplish his goal and chooses to tackle some odd jobs (a haircutting disaster, in particular, is a standout comedic delight among many other adorably hilarious moments). The movie is full of bright wit and honest joy, as Paddington's innate kindness permeates all around him, providing a tired world just what it needs right now. But before he can buy the book, someone breaks into Gruber's shop and steals it. Paddington tries to catch the thief, but ends up arrested and jailed as the culprit. It's Paddington's impenetrable spirit, his striving to do right by the world, to "always see the good in people", even those who wish him harm, that is the biggest wish-fulfillment of 2018.

Paul King returns as director and co-writer for the sequel which finds Paddington (voiced again by Ben Whishaw) living happily with the Brown family, Mary (Sally Hawkins), Henry (Hugh Bonneville), Jonathan (Samuel Joslin), Judy (Madeleine Harris) and Mrs. Bird (Julie Walters).

This time, Paddington, all settled in with the Brown family, is looking for a flawless gift for his Aunt Lucy's birthday.

Yes, one of the year's - possibly decade's, time will tell - cutest and cuddliest children's films sends its protagonist to prison for grand larceny. Another bright spot here is Brendan Gleeson as Knuckles McGinty, an irascible jailhouse cook whose heart is softened by Paddington's famous marmalade sandwiches. After all, Paddington could have become just another bumbling, idiotic CGI creation getting into noisy mishaps, in the mode of Stuart Little or (shudder) Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Paddington 2 has done what many franchises couldn't: make a sequel about a fearless bear brilliant, lovely and better than the original. Will Paddington plus his family and friends be able to stop Buchanan? A feature-length film needs three acts of plot and, to that end, this franchise has introduced villains to Paddington's universe.

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Paddington 2 is nothing short of adorable!

It's that extra dose of creativity that elevates "Paddington 2" from the status of routine sequel to the kind of film parents will find worth packing up the kids for, even when the weather outside is still frightful.

Grant does a remarkable thing here: He makes the over-the-top pompous and vain character nearly likable. If his previous feature was visually inventive, Paddington 2 is King and company delivering pure eye candy without forsaking any substance.

In our cynical, defensive and divided world, it's great to celebrate a lead film character who shows us that kindness to all goes a long way toward a peaceful planet.

I recommend this light-hearted, feel-good movie to children of all ages, and they should even take their kids with them. As we see in a gloriously animated sequence, in which Paddington finds himself happily lost amid the book's three-dimensional pages, it's the flawless gift for someone who, like Lucy, always wanted to visit the city but never got the chance.

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