Paddington (PG)

In a word: Delightful

Paddington

"In addition to a heart-warming story, Paddington manages to show off modern London while maintaining the old world charm that makes the Paddington Bear series so adored in the first place."

A staple in any child’s bookshelf, the Paddington Bear series has been a treasured part of many a readers’ upbringing, including myself. So when the advertisements for Paddington were first aired, I was wary. How would our famously fuzzy friend come to life on the big screen? I must admit I am very pleasantly surprised. Paddington is a delight for all ages.

Opening the film in “Darkest Peru”, the audience is introduced to a British explorer who meets a pair of brown bears with an affinity for languages and marmalade; Paddington’s Uncle Pastuzo and Aunt Lucy.

Years later, after an earthquake destroys our Peruvian protagonists’ family home, he seeks to find a new one in London, where a “warm welcome” was promised by the kindly explorer all those years ago. Stowing away on a boat bound for London, Paddington finds himself perched on his suitcase on a train station platform. The rest is history.

An adaptation of the beloved children’s series by Michael Bond, director Paul King introduces Paddington Brown to a whole new generation of fans. Brought into the 21st century with the help of a digitalized face-lift (courtesy of British company Framestore), Paddington is voiced beautifully by Ben Wishaw, whose somewhat childlike tones help to create a star who is the depiction of innocence and charm.

Featuring the talents of actors Hugh Bonneville, Nicole Kidman, Michael Gambon and Julie Walters, Paddington may well be ranked among the best films of this year. I laughed, I clung to my seat, I very nearly cried (at the hands of a digitalized bear, might I add)....all the hallmarks of a great film.

The only person, both on-screen and, dare I say, off, who isn’t taken by Paddington’s sweet-as-marmalade demeanour is the film’s antagonist Millicent, a taxidermist (played by Kidman) with evil intentions for the much-loved bear.

In addition to a heart-warming story, Paddington manages to show off modern London while maintaining the old world charm that makes the Paddington Bear series so adored in the first place. Through the constant trademark drizzle of England, the use of colour in the film is visually captivating, reminiscent of the original illustrations by Peggy Fortnum.


Engaging, endearing and high energy, my only criticism of the film is that it’s perhaps a little predictable. But I quibble. In truth, the end result is a film as universally loveable as its star.

King and his crew have, thankfully, heeded all warnings to “please look after this bear”.