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article imageReview: ‘Paddington 2’ continues to bring out the best in everyone Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jan 12, 2018 in Entertainment
‘Paddington 2’ is another sweet and funny picture in which the adorable bear continues to enchant everyone he meets, which proves to be a handy quality in prison.
For several years now, studios have been reaching into the past for inspiration with varied results. Trying to recreate the magic of something to which people may already have an emotional attachment is a difficult task as nostalgia is a powerful drug. Yet, occasionally they prove successful and the final product strikes just the right balance of respectful and fresh. This was the case with the first Paddington film, in which the most loveable bear in a pea coat finds a home in London. Now, in Paddington 2, the delightful cub’s happiness is threatened when he’s framed for a crime.
Paddington (voice of Ben Whishaw) has really settled into his new home. He spends a lot of his time at Mr. Gruber’s (Jim Broadbent) antique shop, where he’s recently been searching for a birthday present for Aunt Lucy (voice of Imelda Staunton). Finally, the perfect gift arrives as part of an estate sale: a pop-up book of London created by a famous circus performer. However, when washed-up actor Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant) hears of its discovery, he’s willing to do anything to obtain the unique book… including framing an innocent bear for its theft. Paddington is sentenced to prison, where some hardened criminals don’t take kindly to his kindness… not right away anyway. In the meantime, the Browns doggedly search for the real robber in order to clear Paddington’s name.
The opening scenes in the film demonstrate the talking bear has become an integral part of the community. He’s friends with all the neighbours — except Mr. Curry (Peter Capaldi), but that man never liked him anyhow — and has a daily routine that keeps everyone in good spirits. At home, he’s a full-fledged member of the Brown family, even partaking in the gentle ribbing of Mr. Brown. Though he’s established his own uses for the electronic toothbrush, he’s mostly adapted to life in the city. Unfortunately, all of this is upended when Paddington is falsely convicted; even though it’s somewhat peculiar that he’s not sent to a juvenile detention centre instead. In any case, he quickly learns there are no bedtime stories in jail and most people aren’t interested in making friends… which doesn’t mean it can’t happen eventually.
These narratives are absolute fantasy, but they’re also so lighthearted and heartfelt that it’s difficult not to accept and enjoy them. It’s completely outrageous that Paddington should transform his prison into a floral lovefest, but it’s also completely endearing. The films’ intention is to make audiences smile and they do so frequently and unfailingly. It has the feel of being a classic family movie without being overwrought or overtly magical, capturing the tone of similarly wholesome pictures from the ‘50s and ‘60s. All the returning actors continue to be wonderful, including Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins (who is again caring for a somewhat helpless creature), while Brendan Gleeson and Noah Taylor join the cast to play the hardened criminals whose soft spots — and love for culinary arts — are revealed by Paddington. Moreover, Grant is his ever-charming self as he attempts to evade capture and find a hidden treasure via the pilfered book.
Director: Paul King
Starring: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant and Hugh Bonneville
More about Paddington 2, Sally Hawkins, Hugh grant, Hugh bonneville, Brendan Gleeson
 
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