Paddington 2 (2018)
Starring: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters
Directed by: Paul King
Written by: Simon Farnaby, Paul King
Rating: PG Running Time: 1 hr 43 min.
My 2 Cents:
Paddington, looking for a gift for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, stumbles upon an antique pop-up book of London’s famous landmarks. To afford the book, Paddington takes on several odd jobs, but falls foul of a pretentious has-been actor, Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant) who needs the book to finance his one-man stage show.
The first live-action Paddington film was a wonderful surprise. An old British gem dusted off for a new global generation, and it was every bit as charming as the original 2D stop-motion animated TV show (which is paid homage in this sequel during a brilliant visual effects journey through the pages of the pop-up book).
Paddington 2 is every bit as good as the first film (perhaps even a little better), and it is as sweet as a marmalade sandwich. This should entertain the open hearts of both adults and children, and its superbly crafted story leaves no loose ends unexplored. It would be fair to say some parts of this film are a little predictable, but always in line with your hopeful expectations. This is still a journey worth taking.
Hugh Grant delivers one of the best performances of his career. He is equal parts the classic dastardly old-timey villain, and slimy self-centered thespian with delusions of grandeur. The supporting cast are also good, and the film’s well written screenplay makes sure everyone gets just the right amount of time in the spotlight. I was really pleased to see each character’s mini-arcs come full circle, resulting in some great surprises during the film’s excellent finale.
Paddington 2 works because every element in the production came together perfectly: cast, story, script, and the visuals. This isn’t a mindless firework show for babies, nor does it try to shoehorn in content only for adults. The story presents likable characters with clear objectives. This is what a family film should be, content that works for young and old alike, no silly tricks, just a lot of heart.