Paddington 2 (2017)
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“Paddington wouldn’t hesitate if any of us needed help!
He looks for the good in all of us.”
We have an annual tradition. The last day of the year we go to the cinema with the whole family to end that year with a cozy family film. This year the kids had their minds set on an adventure of the adorable and over-friendly British bear Paddington. To be honest, I was reluctant to watch this movie and I intended to use the full duration of this film to make up for my sleep shortage caused by the Christmas holiday. But I have to admit that I actually enjoyed Paddington’s adventure. Better yet, there were even times when I laughed out loud. And believe me, that isn’t something I do often during a film.
A good indication wether the film was a success or not, are my two children. Full of excitement they were watching the film without fidgeting in their chairs and without nagging for another snack constantly. I hadn’t seen Paddington’s first film, unlike my two little brats. I can only remember the hilarious bathroom scene where a terrible amount of water was used. I was hoping this film would be packed with such crazy situations and that it wouldn’t be a corny, honeyed tearjerker. And you can rest assured. There are plenty of those crazy situations. From the beginning it became clear that we would see a series of visual jokes Buster Keaton would be jealous about. From two adult bears rescueing young Paddington in the Amazon forest to the mess Paddington caused during the execution of his jobs. Jobs that he has to carry out so he can buy a huge picture book for his aunt’s birthday. A picture book that has hints so you could find a treasure (something Paddington doesn’t know of course).
In terms of acting, it’s mainly that of Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson I liked the most. Hugh Grant as the narcissistic-minded Phoenix Buchanan whose house is full of self-portraits. Perhaps the subtle humor won’t be noticed by the younger viewers, but the way the actor Buchanan demonstrates the exaggerated portion of self-mockery, can be called truly brilliant. Obviously, the way he tries to discover the clues in several London landmarks is rather exaggerated. But the entertainment value is of a very high level. It ‘s also a joy to watch Brendan Gleeson as Knuckles McGinty. He’s the frightening cook in the kitchen of the prison where Paddington ended up. And he runs that kitchen like a real tyrant. The fact that Paddington’s fellow prisoners look rather pink in their prison outfit because of Paddington’s clumsy behavior and then they demonstrate their pastry skills, isn’t top-class humor either. But again, the entertainment value is shockingly high.
All in all, this is a successful family film every person of any age can enjoy. And the release date is also chosen strategically. After all, it’s the Christmas period. However, I don’t think it will match the success of “Home Alone”. I’m sure we’ll still see the latter on a multitude of television channels every year. Unfortunately, because I like a bit of variety. I had a double feeling about the ending. At first I thought it was an artificial trick to get the audience into a sentimental mood. But then it took a completely different turn when I heard the reaction of my youngest son, who, after his mother told him how it would end, replied surprised : “How did you know that, mum ?”. At that moment I think jealousy came into play. I realized that I had lost the wondering and amazement that a child experiences. I am rarely surprised by a film. Most of the times I can predict the ending of a film in advance and I realize afterwards that I’m analyzing the film instead of enjoying it. And that little boy is overwhelmed by that self-evident ending. A film with lovely Paddington made me realize this. A film is a weird medium.
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Lovely. Paddington 2 is one of those films that warm your heart. It has a wonderfully whimsical story. It's funny because, at certain times, I thought about how wonderfully outrageous some of the scenarios were (like the prison scenes). But at the same time, I never questioned that this was a real little bear who could walk and talk and loves marmalade. I thought that was brilliant. I felt immersed in the world of Paddington's London. And the cast is truly amazing. Sally Hawkins is particularly charming as always. And Hugh Bonneville, Brendan Gleeson, and Hugh Grant are also standouts. Whether you have a kid to take with you or not, I highly recommend seeing Paddington 2.
Paddington 2 has all the whimsy of the original film, though there's necessarily less of the bear's misunderstanding of everyday human things and of Brown's funny reactions to it. I miss it. Still, there's no lack of charm coming from the cast and story, and Hugh Grant makes a delicious villain, quirky and funny, even if his link to Paddington isn't as strong as Nicole Kidman's in the first film. And then there's the subtext. The original was more easily described as an immigrant's experience, but the racial profiling that befalls the bear in this one isn't as solid. All this to say it's a SLIGHTLY lesser film than the original, but only slightly. It still has the humor, heart, and visual inventiveness of the original, and the plot is tightly constructed, with nary an early detail not made relevant later on. This is proving to be a thoroughly lovely series about a kind young bear who turns everyone into their best selves. Surely, there's room for more stories in this world.
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In 8 official lists
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This movie ranks #75 in Pixar Directors Recommend: Films for Kids Under 13
This movie ranks #78 in A.V. Club's The Best Movies of the 2010s
This movie ranks #87 in Reddit Top 250
This movie ranks #93 in Rotten Tomatoes's Top 100 Movies of All Time
This movie ranks #250 in TSPDT's 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
This movie ranks #494 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films: 1001-2500
This movie ranks #760 in Box Office Mojo's All Time Worldwide Box Office
This movie ranks #957 in Sight & Sound's The Greatest Films of All Time