a PADDINGTON 2 musing
When the first PADDINGTON film came out on this side of the pond in 2015, excitement in general was at a low here. The trailers didn’t look funny nor interesting, but after seeing reviews praise the movie, I wrote it off and basically just said “oh, that’s nice.” It wasn’t until the good buzz of PADDINGTON 2 that I finally gave the original film a chance, and I don’t know if I’ve ever regret anything more. (I definitely have, but just go with it…) I loved that everyone in the film didn’t acknowledge the weirdness of a bear just wandering around London; there was no explanation for it, and the bear was just there. It became a contemporary immigrant’s story through the eyes of a cute bear who just wants to bring happiness to people’s lives and be good.
PADDINGTON 2 carries over that endless charm without losing a step. The titular bear gets into more hijinks, which, gladly, aren’t just one-off gags, as they have consequences or come back later in the movie. On Paddington Brown’s quest (guys, he has a last name!) to work to get a book as a gift for his Aunt Lucy’s birthday, a devious man, Phoenix Buchanan, played by a devilishly hammy Hugh Grant, frames the bear and steals the book for his own purposes. Paddington gets sent to jail, and the Brown family is on the trail to prove his innocence. It’s a wildly weird plot for a children’s movie, but the best movies in this genre have deeper themes and something for the adults to enjoy. PADDINGTON 2 has that in spades, with its smart humor, commentary on immigrant life, and meta use of Hugh Grant’s star.
I fell wholeheartedly and unabashedly in love with this movie early on, when we’re transported into the pop-up book that Paddington wants to buy for his Aunt Lucy. It’s a simple sequence, but so effective in drawing so much emotion out because he just wants to do a good thing for her, and is so magical in its earnestness. It’s easily going to be a favorite scene for my 2019 Marzon-YEAH Awards, and with its wonderful, all-in cast, smart script and effortless charm, PADDINGTON 2 is going to be hard to beat for favorite of the year.
RATING: BEST OF THE BEST
(Refer to my rating system HERE!)