I was waiting for Paddington for a long time and went to see it in the cinema on the first day. Truly, this is a movie for anyone who likes adorable bears, values family and likes funny situation comedies, oh, and marmalade (this movie has lots and lots of it). I loved everything about it and hope they will make another part, as they could only include a small portion of Paddington’s adventures 95 minutes.
Are you familiar with Paddington? If not, let me introduce him. Paddington is a bear from the darkest Peru and he has come to London in search of a new life and a new family. He is kind and caring, only his understanding of modern big city life is a bit… different. He has no idea how to use tools and appliances, but he speaks English very well and has learned good manners from his aunty. He was created in the late 50s by Michael Bond and has been a beloved children’s book character ever since. This is not the first time Paddington has been animated, but this is the first movie on such scale.
One thing I absolutely love about the movie is the pre-story of how Paddington ended up at the train station. It is very emotional and beautifully made. The movie features some of the best moments form the books but has more to the story than you would expect, like a villain – crazy taxidermist, who wants to add Paddington to the collection of Natural History Museum (played by Nicole Kidman). To be honest, the movie has an excellent choice of actors – a good set of very British actors. Hugh Bonneville (Earl of Grantham from the Downton Abbey) is an excellent Mr. Brown and Sally Hawkins is a very nice Mrs Brown (I remember her from Happy-Go-Lucky). Julie Walters is a very fun Mrs Bird, but she still has that Mrs Weasley attitude. Also, Peter Capaldi (yes, the Doctor) appears as the grumpy neighbour Mr. Curry. A surprise for me was to find out that Ben Whishaw, who is the voice of the lovely bear, played the murderous Jean-Baptiste Grenouille in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. Also, Jim Broadbent (you might remember him as Professor Horace Slughorn in Harry Potter movies) is a perfect Mr. Gruber (oh, this funny German accent) and Matt Lucas, who plays the taxi driver (but you might remember him as Tweedledee / Tweedledum in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland or Mr. Toad in The Wind in the Willows), has a small role, but you can recognise him instantly.
I really love how the animation is put together with live actors. It is very easy to believe that Paddington is real – he has facial (or should I say muzzle?) expressions, but they are very bear-like. The Peru scenes are beautiful and very imaginative in terms of creating intelligent bears in the middle of a jungle. The humour is simple but very funny, and the emotional moments are truly touching. A bit of adventure, a bit of sadness and a pinch of danger makes Paddington a perfect holiday movie for the whole family. I rate this movie by 9 out of 10 (I would liked to see a bit more of the situations I remember from books). Don’t forget to keep a marmalade sandwich in your hat for emergencies!