Friday, January 12, 2018

Paddington 2 Review: A Sequel Rich with Charm and Delight!

The new year is underway and for moviegoers this usually means a slow start to the cinematic calendar. However just because the beginning of the year tends to look unenthusiastic for movies does not always mean that there are no films worth checking out. A cased point of this would be the family adventure: Paddington. The iconic bear with a love for marmalade made his movie debut back in 2014 (well 2015 here in the States) and found a home on silver screen thanks to the warm reception from both critics and audiences. Naturally because of the film success Paddington would continue his celluloid journey with a sequel which has now made its way to theaters. Directed by Paul King Paddington 2 continues the escapades of Paddington and the Brown family in another adventure through London. I recently saw Paddington, and enjoyed it I might add, so I could get an idea of what to expect for this new family film. The end result was a movie that had as much charm as its predecessor.

The movie’s plot centers on Paddington (Ben Whishaw) who wants to buy an expensive pop up book for his Aunt Lucy’s (Imelda Staunton) birthday. However things go astray for Paddington when he is framed for stealing the book and it is up to the Browns to clear Paddington’s good name as well as find the real thief. The story to Paddington 2 played out expectedly, and whether that is a good or bad thing is the latter in my book. There were few surprises to this tale while certain plot points were too reminiscent to that of first movie. Yet despite being sticky in certain areas this plot had plenty of merits to it. The story’s  adventurous aspect flourished as there was never a dull moment in this sequel. Though the movie spends a lot of time with Paddington behind bars the plot never wavered as it had good pacing and moments to keep the main concept interesting. The tale to this family adventure was one filled with character and entertainment and this did just enough to make the new chapter in Paddington’s journey a memorable one. 

One of the things that I liked about Paddington was its cast. There was a sense of character to the ensemble that allowed everyone to stand out. Thankfully this quality was not forgotten in the cast of Paddington 2 as they had both presence and chemistry that made even the most minor character to feel important. Ben Whishaw shined once again as Paddington. Whishaw’s performance brought both innocence and sophistication to the bear to the point where having the character in prison still allowed Paddington to show off his charm. Along with Paddington was the ever enjoyable Brown Family. Although their individual progression was lost in the shuffle each family member was still a delight; whether it was Henry and Mary Brown (Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins) or the scene stealing Mrs.Bird (Julie Walters). Along with these principal characters was a supporting cast that feature fun performances from the likes of Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Brendan Gleeson and of course Imelda Staunton. Last and certainly not least was Hugh Grant as the actor turned thief Phoenix Buchman. Grant’s role as Buchman was entertaining to say the least as the notorious actor allowed Grant to showcase his range while making the antagonist a great addition to the cast.
Of all the things that made Paddington standout none may have been more apparent than the movie’s sense of spectacle. The film’s unique visuals gave it moments that were filled with magic and creativity. So it was pleasing to see this aspect return in the sequel. The sequel’s visuals brought some elements from the first film, such as the dollhouse sequence, but it also implemented new techniques like the use of 2D animation. This direction allowed to the movie stand out in its presentation as well as break away from its predecessor. Another highlight for Paddington 2 was its comedy. The humor featured a sense of variety as it blended silly antics with clever delivery.  The score by Dario Marianelli was another highlight for the movie. The music featured a number of different tunes-from tracks that were fun and uplifting to ones that were touching. In many ways to the music to Paddington 2 exceeded the compositions of its 2014 counterpart as it was a score that was both fitting and memorable.

Paddington 2 was just as much of a delight as its predecessor was. Although the likes of story could have been stronger it did not take away from enlightening factors such as the cast, effects and presentation. Through its sense of adventure Paddington 2 managed to be an experience where I found myself entertained, charmed and having a strange urge to try a marmalade sandwich.

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