95 min - Comedy | Family
Review: Matt Mungle
There are few animals cuter than a little bear. Put that little
bear in a red hat and rain jacket and the cute meter is off the
chart. The new family, comedy PADDINGTON succeeds mainly because
of the little bear that generations have grown up with. He now
has his very own film and will certainly entertain the younger
members of the family while bringing a bit of nostalgia to the
Paddington Bear (voiced in the film by Ben Whishaw) first graced
the pages of children's literature in 1958. This film takes a
modern approach to the story while keeping the characteristics
in tact. Here we first find Paddington living with his Aunt and
Uncle in the deepest parts of Peru. When a violent earthquake
destroys their home young Paddington Bear heads off to London,
a place he only know about from his Aunts stories. When the Brown
family invite him to stay with them he wins their hearts in spite
of some mishaps and learning curves. Throw in an evil taxidermist
(Nicole Kidman) and you have quite the comedic adventure.
The mix of live characters and computer animation is a good choice
for the movie. The cast do a fine job of interacting with Paddington
who is a combination of computer-generated imagery and animatronics.
He is very 3-dimentional with excellent facial expressions and
texture. This will enhance the entertainment value for the young
viewers and the slapstick antics are aimed right at the tots in
the audience. The set design pops with vivid colors which also
help in drawing attention to the screen.
Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) is the patriarch of the Brown
family. He is not happy at all about having a bear in the home.
He is a bit over protective of his kids and prefers things to
be in neat order. His more free spirited wife (Sally Hawkins)
however is more willing to embrace Paddington and welcome him
to the family. Hawkins seems more at ease in the role than Bonneville.
Though he does a fine job at being the overbearing buzz kill there
are times he seems more rigid; especially when reacting to computer
elements that aren't really there.
The movie stays pretty true to the book and Paddington thankfully
isn't modified or updated to fit the current times. He still remains
very classic and timeless. Fans of the stories will appreciate
seeing the bear they grew up with being recognizable; including
his love of Marmalade. PADDINGTON is rated PG for mild action
and rude humor. It is safe and fun for any age group. Even when
the sadistic taxidermist is trying to capture Paddington the level
of fear and dread is minimal. The humor may be a bit too cute
and predictable for older audiences with a story line that isn't
geared for the parents. Still it offers a clean and safe movie
option for the kiddoes. I give it 3 out of 5 train stations. The
film looks amazing and kudos for keeping Paddington classic but
few less site gags may have helped; says the old guy. My two year
old on the other hand is all for it.