About the Films:
After a deadly earthquake destroys his home in Peruvian rainforest, a young bear (Ben Whishaw) makes his way to England in search of a new home. The bear, dubbed “Paddington” for the london train station, finds shelter with the family of Henry (Hugh Bonneville) and Mary Brown (Sally Hawkins). Although Paddington’s amazement at urban living soon endears him to the Browns, someone else has her eye on him: Taxidermist Millicent Clyde (Nicole Kidman) has designs on the rare bear and his hide.
Settled in with the Brown family, Paddington the bear is a popular member of the community who spreads joy and marmalade wherever he goes. One fine day, he spots a pop-up book in an antique shop — the perfect present for his beloved aunt’s 100th birthday. When a thief steals the prized book, Paddington embarks on an epic quest to unmask the culprit before Aunt Lucy’s big celebration.
What a pair of utterly delightful films these are! I have been meaning to watch Paddington for a very long time now so when I saw it on a special offer with the newly released to DVD Paddington 2, I thought I would take advantage and grab them both. My daughter and I enjoyed Paddington so much that we watched Paddington 2 the very next night.
For a start, he’s just such a cute bear. Even when he is doing the ‘hard stare’. He gets into all manner of mischief and nothing ever is straightforward for Paddington, but it all just works so well. It’s always funny, particularly Hugh Bonneville who plays Mr. Brown, with his overt risk avoidance (near on impossible with Paddington around) and his deadpan sarcasm. Mrs. Brown is just so lovely and big hearted and the children are like chalk and cheese but each compliment the other perfectly. And Judy, who learns languages with such proficiency that she masters ‘bear’ in no time at all. Very lucky for later in the movie as you will find out!
Right from the moment Paddington stands in Paddington Station waiting to find a home, it just completely cracked me up that he was a bear and no one was taking any notice! There were so many scenarios throughout both films where this was played on in such a clever way and it never failed to amuse me. This is definitely a film that has been made for adults to enjoy as well as children. And teenagers too, if my daughter is anything to go by!
I probably liked the first one a teensy bit more than the second, but truly, they’re both worth watching. Nicole Kidman is utterly terrific as the villian in the first one, the taxidermist intent on stuffing Paddington. I haven’t seen a villian in a children’s film played quite so well since Glenn Close played Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmations. But in the second film, our villian is played by Hugh Grant, and he is nothing short of sensational. I’ve always been a Hugh Grant fan but he seems to me to be improving with age. And then the second film also has Paddington dressed in prison stripes and again, how cute is this bear?!
It’s so nice to watch a true family film that has something in it for all ages. No swearing, nothing inappropriate, just a good story that is well cast and a very adorable bear. If you’re going to watch the first, you might as well watch the second because they’re a wonderful timeless pair. Highly recommended for all ages.
Now, if I could only remember which storage bag my son’s Paddington might be in…