Paddington Bear has been one of the UK’s best loved characters, with his cute blue duffle coat and wellington boots. The old children’s classic has been brought back to life in this 2014 film, with a cast of top British actors. The film has been received very well from professional critics and audiences alike, and even managed to warm the heart of this cold-hearted sceptic. A perfect film to see at Christmas time (which is when it came out)!
Our hero travels from “darkest Peru” to London, in order to find a home. He is confused by modern London, as it isn’t the place he expected to see. Manners and etiquette have gone out of the window, meaning Paddington has been misled about how easy it would be to find a home. Eventually, the kindly Mrs. Brown takes him in temporarily, even at the protests of her reluctant family. On their quest to find the one person Paddington knows could give him a home, they have to avoid nosey neighbours, Cruella de Vil type villains and the authorities. A talking bear in a duffle coat surprises everybody, and his attempts to navigate modern London are hilarious.
With such a wonderful premise, you need top actors to make sure they do the story justice. Voicing Paddington is Ben Whishaw, recently seen as the new Q in the James Bond films. The Brown family are made up of Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey’s lord of the manor), Sally Hawkins and their two delightful children. Their neighbour, Mr. Curry, is played by Doctor Who himself – Peter Capaldi. Harry Potter actors Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent also have some parts in the film. Playing the evil villain is Hollywood star Nicole Kidman, who is out to get Paddington because he is worth a lot of money.
Paddington is brought to life by the magic of computer-generated imagery (CGI for short), and animatronics. This is a little bit like robotics, so somebody moved a model of Paddington about, and CGI added the finishing touches to create this realistic and fluffy little bear. The film is set in modern-day London, and our hero can be seeing flying across the rooftops with just an umbrella to keep himself airborne. He goes down the stairs of the Brown’s household in a bath, and though he makes some enemies on the way, he manages to endear himself to all by the end of it.
The film was made as a co-operation between British and French media companies, and is the biggest-budget film made by French company StudioCanal. The film’s distinctly European feel has proved popular with American audiences in particular, as it seems to reflect stereotypical British ideas and their perception of Britain as a country. It’s charming, funny, witty, sweet and ultimately a heartwarming tale. Even if you don’t think you’ll enjoy it, watch it anyway. It’s a harmless way to spend a couple of hours, and you might even find yourself falling in love with it as the story progresses.
Image from: http://www.reelcinemas.co.uk/films/paddington-f119521.html