Paddington (2014) Review – Well Crafted Family Fare

paddington

Paddington is directed by Paul King who co-wrote the screenplay with Hamish McColl.  The film is based on the much loved character Paddington Bear created by Michael Bond.  King is best known for surreal TV comedies such as The Mighty Boosh and Come fly With me.  McColl’s previous writing credits include Johnny English Reborn (2011) and Mr Bean’s Holiday (2007).  Paddington is voiced by Ben Whishaw and features numerous well known British actors including Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins as Mr and Mrs Brown.  Look out the likes of Peter Capaldi, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Matt Lucas.

The film opens with Paddington’s origins in darkest Peru before a freak accident leads him to head to London and leave his family behind.  He runs into the Brown family at Paddington Railway Station who despite the reluctance of Mr Brown take him into their home.  His arrival captures the attention of a sinister employee at the National History Museum with a penchant for stuffing rare and exotic animals.

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I don’t have a whole lot to say about this film.  This generally means that for me I was neither excited or angered by it.  I found it a little boring but there is no doubting the quality with which it has been bolted together.  I think its pretty to look at and the way in which the CGI Paddington has been brought to life is as good as anything in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014).

The film relies on a series of well worn thematic paths.  The husband and wife are polar opposites – he is a risk assessor while she is a free spirited hippy type.  Mr Brown isn’t getting on great with his two children because they view him as too uptight and he needs to loosen up a bit.  So despite the destruction he brings Paddington is able to bring the family closer together.  The film relies on slapstick humour so is young-kid friendly and has a traditional sensibility about it as unlike the Pixar films it doesn’t attempt to introduce any adult-orientated comedy.

I am baffled by the PG rating as I couldn’t see anything that was likely to unsettle even the most nervous.  Apparently the BBFC makes reference to infrequent mild language because the world ‘bloody’ can be heard uttered at one point.  Crikey, how the hell did The Wolf of Wall Street  (2014) get any certificate?  I would recommend this movie to families looking for some inoffensive Christmas entertainment or anyone with a nostalgia for this character.

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