It doesn’t seem like three years since we were all charmed by the first cinematic outing of a small bear called Paddington from darkest Peru and his adventures with the Brown family but it is and the sequel Paddington 2 is out next week to prove this.
Paddington managed to be charming, set in it’s own world, an England that doesn’t exist now and probably never really did. A good childrens film constructs it’s own world and then exists within it; an excellent childrens film constructs it’s own world and adheres to all the rules that it creates for itself, making something that could be absurd (the prison for example), seem perfectly plausible in the confines of the movie.
I’ll get this out of the way right now, Paddington 2 is a wonderful movie; you might have guessed from the title. I’m pleased to say that we (the kids and I) are not alone in thinking this as there are plenty of 5 star reviews from professional movie critics out there. But as a regular paying punter for the cinema, Paddington is definitely the sort of movie I would pay to take the kids to see.
The danger with sequels are studio execs sitting there are thinking, “this aspect of the movie made the original great, what we need to do is turn that aspect up to 150% because that will make the film better.” That approach almost always ruins a movie. Paddington 2 doesn’t do this, although it does have a song and dance number, and ups the number of toothbrushes Paddington inserts into his ears to two.
Following Paddington’s desire to get his Aunt a nice 100th birthday present, the movie turns into a chase/prison escape caper, with some great performances from the likes of Hugh Grant, all of which don’t matter because Brendan Gleeson steals absolutely every single scene he is in as Knuckles McGinty, the fearsome prison chef. Don’t get me wrong, everyone else is great, but Gleeson transcends great and moves into an entirely unknown realm of awesome. The climatic steam train chase sequence is a perfectly pitched level of mild peril (the flaming chimney sequence in the first film was perhaps a little too perilous for smaller kids), that is patently absurd but fits into the movie world perfectly.
There are some great set pieces, a midlife crisis for all us dads to empathise with, and Paddington’s strong morality to see everything right in the end.
Paddington 2 is out on 10 November, book some tickets now, as your kids (and you) are going to love this film.