Paddington (2014)

Oh dear, I’m almost teary eyed. Paddington Bear was, and still is, very  precious to me (and my inner child) because like many people, I grew up with the books as a child. So the idea of a Paddington movie where he was entirely CGI immediately had me on my toes. These things usually don’t end well, they very often seem to completely miss the point of the source material and instead try to remake the property modern and hip to the new generation of kids. When I saw the trailer, it seemed to prove all my fears true, they were going to do all the typical clichés, add a completely contrived villain plot to make it more cinematic, go for easy lowbrow laughs, etc. Basically doing everything that I tend to find alienating about modern kids movies. Of course I’m no longer the target audience so this is to be expected to a degree, but still, you do kinda wish that they would be able to capture the essence of the property. After all, I’m still able to enjoy things like Doraemon or the Lego Movie, because they’re fun no matter how old you are.

So, long preface being now over, it was an absolutely tremendous relief to find that Paddington does in fact keep all the charm of the books while still updating the story to the big screen and set in modern times, being entirely enjoyable for kids and adults alike. In hindsight, it’s clear why the trailer was the way it was. You had to appeal to kids. I just wish they’d had tried to add some of the charm so cynics like me would have been easier swayed to go see it. Now, of course not every joke hit its mark with me, but I didn’t care. Paddington and the Browns were simply just too charming and I was having too much fun.My only real gripe (and this is a very minor one) was that it took so long for Paddington to get his iconic blue coat. Silly, I know, but he just isn’t complete to my mind until that adorable Peruvian bear is properly dressed for British weather. I can’t even remember where I walked out of the cinema smiling so much. I felt like a kid again, all warm and fuzzy and ecstatic inside, almost giddy even. I can’t say enough good things about this movie. It just gets everything right. I’m glad it’s done so incredibly well, hopefully we’ll get a sequel or two, with the same level of quality.

Even Nicole Kidman’s character and her evil subplot that builds up the big climax at the rooftop of the museum was good. Great even. Like I said, I had my doubts about the whole stuffing Paddington subplot, it seemed uncharacteristically malevolent to me, but the second she was shown to sneak through an air duct to the train station’s monitor room, shoots the men on duty with tranquillizer darts, and act as if this was all completely normal to her, I was sold. It was so goofy yet entirely appropriate to the tone of the movie. And Nicole didn’t even ham it up, just did it straight and it worked, by God how well it worked. She wasn’t scary, or too evil, she just hit the right pitch and never let go of it.

So yeah, brilliant movie. Would watch again multiple times. Preferably on a cool, dark autumn evening cuddled inside a warm blanket, with a hot cup of tea in hand,  perhaps with a side order of a marmalade sandwich (for in case of emergencies) for that ultimate comfy, feel good mood and atmosphere, just perfect for watching something so nice and adorable.

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