I’ve personally always felt that no matter the age, humans are kids at heart. This is certainly the case when I’m reminded of my childhood, as for example if it wasn’t forBatman the Animated Series I’d never have a love for comics. This is just as president when it comes to the more innocent of childhood programs, with Paddington Bear being amongst the many that I enjoyed. So when I heard that Harry Potter producer, David Heyman, was bringing the loveable character to a new audience, I was excited to see what the outcome was. And I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed.
Following a visit from an explorer many years ago, the bears of darkest Peru have longed to visit the city of London. This dream becomes reality for one young bear, as following a tragic earthquake, his aunt chooses to send him to London, where she believes it to be safer. Finding the Brown family, the young bear quickly finds himself at home in the big city, with the family even giving him a name, Paddington. Despite finding fun, and mischief at every corner, the trip to London does have it’s downsides, with a museum owner named Millicent looking to stuff Paddington, and add him to her collection.
The film quickly goes to prove that it’s indeed one for all the family, as though the innocence of Paddington is aimed more towards children, the comedy will have both adults and children in stitches. The way that director Paul King captures both the acting performances, and the CGI presence of Paddington is truly astonishing, as though this line of filmmaking is in no way new to movie goers, it is never easy to pull it off in both a dramatic, and convincing way. Despite having a comic tone from start to finish, King’s direction certainly shows some more serious elements, with Paddington’s maturity, and the sinister overtone of the villainous Millicent allowing for suspense and drama.
Combining both voice acting, as well as live action, Paddington has an array of great British actors, with most playing they part perfectly. The standout amongst these is naturally Paddington himself, with the voicework of Ben Whishaw giving both maturity and innocents to the bear from Peru. Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins also give amazing performances as Mr. and Mrs. Brown, with the differing styles complementing one another. There was however one actor that I felt ruined this film, and that was Nicole Kidman (Millicent). Her performance in this film was extremely forceful, and though I don’t dislike her acting abilities in general, I can’t help but feel that she’s terrible as a baddie. Nevertheless, the remaining cast members made up for this, with other British actors such as Jim Broadbent, and Doctor Who actor Peter Capaldi being awesome throughout.
Though the film has brilliant comedy, it is let down slightly by it’s plot, which is pretty generic. Yes, the fact that the film is aimed at children means that the plot was never going to be over elaborate, but the overshadowing villain just felt too generic. Nevertheless, the success of the comedy will have all movie goes enthralled, especially younger audience member. The music of Paddington is handled by Nick Urata, and though I have nothing negative to say, I can’t say anything positive about it either, with it being very unmemorable. This in a way is a good thing, as though there are many great films that are remembered for their score, there are many more that are ruined due to bad music.
Paddington is easily one of the best family films in recent years, with the comical antics of Paddington making to a film that everyone will enjoy. It also proves to be a great nostalgia trip, as though younger viewers will enjoy the film more, older fans will certainly not be disappointed. Recommended.