Synopsis: From the beloved novels by Michael Bond and producer David Heyman, Paddington tells the story of the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) who travels to the city in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined – until he meets the kindly Brown family who read the label around his neck that says “Please look after this bear. Thank you,” and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist.
Release Date: January 16, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Animation, Comedy
Since his creation in 1958 by children’s author Michael Bond, the character of Paddington Bear has been the subject of more than twenty books and three different television series. It seems only fitting that the lonely little bear should get his own big-screen movie. It may have taken more than fifty years, but Paddington is here.
Paddington starts in Darkest Peru with a British explorer stumbling upon a highly intelligent family of bears. The explorer lives with the bears for a while, studying their lifestyle, but eventually has to return to London. As he is leaving, he tells the bears to look him up if they are ever in England. Years later, the bears lose their home when a catastrophic earthquake hits their forest. The youngest bear, Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw from Skyfall), sets off for London to find his explorer friend, with a marmalade sandwich in one hand and a “please look after this bear” note in the other. He stows away on a boat and reaches the train station in London, but has nowhere to go from there. Luckily, he meets the Brown family: father Mr. Brown (Hugh Bonneville from “Downton Abbey”), mother Mrs. Brown (Blue Jasmine‘s Sally Hawkins), daughter Judy (Madeleine Harris from “Man Down”), and son Jonathan (The Impossible‘s Samuel Joslin). Feeling sorry for the poor bear, the Browns take Paddington into their home and give him a place to stay. With the help of the Browns, Paddington hopes to locate the explorer, but their searching arouses the suspicions of an evil taxidermist named Millicent (Nicole Kidman from Stoker) who wants Paddington for her own selfish reasons.
The easiest way to describe Paddington in a single word is “Fun,” and yes that’s with a capital F. Writer/director Paul King (Bunny and the Bull) and co-screenwriter Hamish McColl (Mr. Bean’s Holiday) capture all of the charm and magic of Michael Bond’s classic Paddington books in a delightfully original story. Visually, the movie is stunning; King crafts the film to look almost like one of Wes Anderson’s later works, and Paddington Bear himself is brought to life with a keen mixture of Ted-like CGI coupled with some creative animatronic puppetry. The characters are all likeable and relatable, except for that of Nicole Kidman’s Millicent, who isn’t supposed to win any fans. The story, part thrilling mystery and part heartfelt drama, is easy enough to follow for the kids, but clever enough to engage the adults. Make no mistake, Paddington is unquestionably a children’s movie, but it earns its PG rating with some mildly suggestive violence and language. The “blue” areas function to keep mom and dad entertained without being offensive as they watch the film with the kiddos. Paddington is a difficult movie to watch without a silly grin on one’s face, no matter what age the watcher might be.
Whether the viewer is nine or ninety, there’s plenty of stuff to laugh at in Paddington. The characters themselves provide a lot of humor; Nicole Kidman’s Millicent is such a cookie-cutter stereotype villain that one can’t help but find her comical in a moustache-twisting way, and the interplay between the naive Paddington and the uptight Mr. Brown is incredibly amusing. Paddington’s life in the city is full of fun fish-out-of-water humor, such as his first experiences with vacuum cleaners, escalators, and toothbrushes (which he hilariously calls – and uses as – earbrushes). Even when the bear and his co-stars aren’t being wacky, there is an abundance of hilarious sight gags throughout the movie to keep the comedy rolling. The best part is that Paddington doesn’t rely on raunchy potty humor; it’s all just loads of good, clean fun. And it’s all hysterical.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Paul King
- Screenwriter(s): Paul King
- Cast: Nicole Kidman (Millicent)Ben Whishaw (voice of Paddington)Imelda Stanton (voice of Aunt Lucy) Hugh Bonneville (Mr. Brown)Michael Gambon (voice of Uncle Pastuzo)Sally Hawkins (Mrs. Brown)
- Editor(s): Mark Everson
- Cinematographer: Erik Wilson
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Nick Urata
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA