Magazine article Screen International

'Paddington 2': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Paddington 2': Review

Article excerpt

The marmalade-loving bear returns for another adventure in this exemplary sequel

Paddington 2

Dir: Paul King. UK. 2017. 103 mins

Fans who have been awaiting second helpings of London’s most notable import from darkest Peru will be delighted to hear that Paddington 2 is as irresistible as the dessert trolley our hero pilots, and as sweet as the marmalade that perpetually clags his fur. An exemplary sequel, the film retains the innocence and beguiling lack of cynicism of the first film, but moves on to explore other motifs. And if thematically it’s not quite as timely as the first film - the pro-immigration stance of the original is even more pertinent now in post-Brexit Britain - the film’s message of decency, honesty, mutual respect and, above all, good manners feels like a balm for troubled times.

In the colour palette and in the precision of the framing, the film has an almost Wes Anderson feel at times

Loaded with charm, the picture promises to at least match the impressive numbers achieved by its predecessor. The film’s not-so-secret weapon - he has already featured in an eye-catching marketing campaign - is Hugh Grant, on uproarious form as nefarious luvvie Phoenix Buchanan. Word of mouth, the Grant factor, plus the audience goodwill carried over from the first film should mean that Studiocanal have a hit on their hands.

We are reunited with Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw), now happily ensconced at Windsor Gardens and part of the Brown family. A pirouetting camera dances through a story set up, the visual choreography and densely detailed production design evoking something of the charm assault of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie. Paddington, it becomes clear, is the glue which sticks the neighbourhood together.

Dutiful nephew that he is, Paddington is preoccupied with finding the perfect present for his beloved Great Aunt Lucy. In a dusty box in Mr Gruber’s (Jim Broadbent) bric-a-brac emporium, he finds the ideal gift - a handmade pop-up book featuring scenes from London. A gorgeous, Gondry-esque animated sequence sees Paddington explore the pages with his much-missed only relative. …

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