movie film review | chris tookey

Paddington 2

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  Paddington 2 Review
Tookey's Rating
10 /10
Average Rating
8.32 /10
Ben Whishaw , Hugh Grant , Brendan Gleeson
Full Cast >

Directed by: Paul King
Written by: Paul King

Released: 2017
Origin: UK
Length: 105

A pompous, vain, greedy but undeniably versatile actor (Hugh Grant, pictured in three of his costumes) frames a mild-mannered talking bear (voiced by Ben Wishaw) for the theft of a valuable pop-up book.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Enchanting, magical and heart-warming are adjectives too carelessly used by critics, but they apply to this movie. Not many films are completely successful, but this one is. It is, first and foremost, a joyous childrenís film, which will entertain even very small kids without unduly terrifying them, unless of course they are traumatised by the sight of Hugh Grant dressed up as a giant spaniel. But I imagine that image will be more traumatising for Hugh Grant than for anyone else.

For adults, itís a feelgreat movie every bit as adorable as Babe and the Toy Story movies. Its timeless messages about the importance of family, friendship, kindness and good manners are refreshing and likeable whatever your political and social beliefs - and that may be the reason it achieved an enviable 100% appreciation on the Rotten Tomatoes film review website.

Visually, itís an improvement on the very good first film, with beautifully lit scenarios, a delightful pop-up book motif and spectacular production design (I particularly enjoyed the witty costumes). Add to this slick, speedy and enjoyably eccentric direction, an intelligent, cleverly constructed screenplay with enough warmth to power the national grid, and a splendidly English sense of humour, and you have the recipe for a perfect film for all the family - and all individuals, come to think of it.

The acting is terrific, too - broad but without any of the condescension that disfigures too many kidsí movies. Ben Wishawís softly bearlike voice beautifully captures the naivety and goodness of Paddington Bear, and thereís an outstanding performance from Hugh Grant as the bad guy of the piece (indeed, he must be one of the most lovable bad guys in the history of cinema). I also enjoyed Brendan Gleesonís turn as a menacing fellow-convict whom Paddington converts to the delights of marmalade sandwiches.

The notion of a London in which people behave as though a talking bear in a duffle coat is perfectly natural is, letís face it, far-fetched; but the movie - helped by some extraordinarily lifelike animation which makes Paddington a touchingly real presence - carries that off with impressive ease.

Films as light-hearted, good-natured and playful as this never get nominated for Oscars, let alone win them, but this strikes me as not only the most charming but also the best movie of 2017, sneaking in ahead of Three Billboards and easily outclassing The Shape of Water. We live in dark times, and a movie that can brighten lives and lift spirits is greatly to be welcomed. If only Vladimir Putin were to watch this, he might even lighten up and stop trying to assassinate innocent people.

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