Paddington 2 review
A couple of years ago, the world got an adaptation of the Paddington stories. Unlike a lot of other children stories adaptations, it was clear that the bear's optimistic nature wasn't just going to translate to the character, but to the entire film. Oddly, seeing a movie with such a cheery nature was rare. In the age where the idea of good "storytelling" is to keep going dark, Paddington enforces the notion that there is a lot of good in the world that we seem to have a hard time finding. I too believe that the world would be a better place if we had more people that were just as supportive as Paddington.
What I also liked about both the Paddington movie and stories is that they do acknowledge that there are bad people out there. They do understand that not everyone is going to give in to a sunny attitude. They even show that Paddington himself questions his positive persona and whether it's the best way to respond to situations. It's a story that may not offer something big to think about, it just feels like a nice breath of fresh air that we don't see as often as we should. That's why I'm glad to see his further adventures in Paddington 2.
Paddington (played by Ben Whishaw) seems to have everything he wants; his human family, a neighborhood full of friends, and most importantly, everyone's happiness. He now wants to get a special present for his Aunt Lucy's one-hundredth birthday. Given she's always wanted to come to London, he finds a pop up book that he thinks would finally show her the beauty of the city. The problem is when he tries to buy it from the antique shop, the owner Samuel (played by Jim Broadbent) tells him that it's rare and will cost a thousand pounds.
Paddington takes this time to get a variety of jobs to raise the money. At the same time, he remains supportive of his family's goals; Henry (played by Hugh Bonneville) wants a promotion at his job, Mary (played by Sally Hawkins) is getting ready to swim the English Chanel, daughter Judy is running her school's newspaper, and son Jonathan is trying to become a musician. Things reach a breaking point when Paddington is accused of trying to steal the book and is sent to jail. While he tries to make the prison a better place, the family tries to catch the real thief, a struggling actor Phoenix Buchanan (played by Hugh Grant).
Paddington 2 is proof that with proper care, a sweet character not only can pull off a sequel that's just as good, it might be even better then the original. The first Paddington is certainly a great movie, though it did embark on a lot of "fish out of water" tropes that you see in stories about people moving. Here, Paddington is faced with further challenges about whether he can help everyone. He also goes through more "fish out of water" elements in the prison, but they feel harder then before.
The story is elevated thanks to two people. Ben Whishaw continues to take a character, that could have been a bland ray of sunshine, and gives him a sense of honesty that makes his optimism more genuine. I think it's the fact that you see him work hard to try and find what makes people think better for themselves. The other is Hugh Grant who is just fun as the over-the-top villain. He's hammy, but in a way that does manage several laughs. You can tell he's having fun making this guy arrogant.
The story itself is also interesting. Paddington's original goal was simply to get a present, but he's also forced to confront just how mean the world can be. He finds most of his answers in the prison he's sent to. And I do like just how far his human family sets to get him out. Even the climax, which is a lot more action orientated then I would expect from a Paddington movie, get in a thrilling train chase. This is the kind of story that children and their parents will like.
I'll give this five Paddington hats out of five. It relieve me to know that there are storytellers out there that want to show that there are good people out there and are fully aware that they too have their struggles. Paddington is a character that we all need to have to show how much care can provide. Go see this and get a smile. Maybe a pop up book as well.