In a world, that can be really cruel, ugly and sad, movies like Paddington might feel almost disingenuous at times. As we are so wired to always be suspicious about everything and everyone, films like this one are here to remind us, that some genuinely good people still exists, alongside talking bears, who really love marmalade. Although the jury is still out on that one I think.
Paddington could have easily gone the other way, where everything would be way too sweet to take seriously. But it never does. I guess that might have something to do with the opening scene, where we are reminded, that even in this beautiful, colourful world, there are stakes. And because of the caricature of a villain, portrayed quite well by one of my all time favourites Nicole Kidman, the “evil” is almost always looming behind every corner. But despite that, I think of Paddington as movie about family and kindness, rather than good vs evil. As that is the main point of the movie, if you show somebody a bit of kindness, they will be kind to you.
What really impressed me was the CGI. Sure, you can tell the main character is “a bit” animated, but over the course of the movie, you kind of forget that you are basically watching animation. Because the effects are so good, and Ben Whishaw does such an amazing voice work, you soon accept the fact that yes, talking bears do exist, they are really friendly and they really love (and apparently can make) marmalade. Only long after the movie was over, I’ve realised that’s why this movie (and its sequel) are so beloved – because we have reached the age, where if done properly and with care, you can have animated character to be your main protagonist, surround them with bunch of actors and you might just have a great family film on your hands.
Speaking of cast, that’s another strong point. Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent in the main roles simply shine, especially you can believe that Hugh and Sally have been married for some time. I did like the fact how they went with the stereotypical “strict dad, not-so-strict mom”, as this movie presented a perfect example of incorporating this trope. The dad isn’t just strict for strictness sake, he’s a logical business man, who’s having a hard time with ageing, while the mom is free spirited artist, looking for an adventure. We tend to forget that even stereotypes can be done well enough to propel the story forward.
If I were to be really nit-picky about this film, my only tiny gripe with it would be the lack of proper suspense. Almost every obstacle is solved within couple of minutes, so the stakes that do exist in this movie, are as tiny as Paddington himself. And I do understand this being targeted specifically at families and (mainly) children, but believe me, today’s kids can handle much more than when I was growing up, around 20 years ago now. But it’s really tiny gripe, as this movie really is fun, sweet, innocent fairy tale about a talking bear, who makes everyone he encounters into a better person. Well, almost everyone.
Overall, Paddington is one of those movies that’s surprisingly hard to review, as you either buy it (everything is sweet and world can be better place if we are nice to each other) or you don’t. And I bought it, don’t get me wrong, but then, you struggle with writing anything meaningful, as you desperately wish to live in this film, where people truly are kind, if you show them a bit of kindness too. And unfortunately, the cold harsh reality is that plenty of times, that’s just not the case. But that’s not Paddington‘s fault.
That’s all for this one! Did you see it? What did you think about it? Let me know!
Until next time,