The Cinefessions crew loves sharing their opinions on films, but not every movie can get the attention it deserves with a full review. Enter the Cinefessions’ Capsule Reviews. These capsule reviews cover five of the most important aspects of a film, which allow the crew to deliver their opinions on any movie clearly, decisively, and with brevity. These are not our full thoughts on any film, just a highlighting of the major pros and/or cons.
Ben Wishaw (Q from the latest James Bond films) voices Paddington, and really brings a pleasent level of charm to the role. Nicole Kidman, whom I’m generally not a fan of, is excellent here as the villainess. We also get Peter Capaldi (Dr. Who) and Matt Lucas (Little Britain) in small roles. Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) is Mr. Brown, the over-protective father/husband, and while he’s a bit off-putting at first, his character really grew on me, and he brings a great kind of energy to the film, which is needed in the final act.
Story & Script
Paddington tells the story of a young bear cub from Peru who is shipped to London during World World II in the hopes of finding a new home after his is ravaged by an earthquake. The film actually opens with an adventurer visiting Peru and meeting Paddington’s Aunt and Uncle. This is the building structure of the plot, and what drives Paddington to find a new family after he gives a wrong impression to his 24-hour adoptive family. The characters are all charming in their own way. The children start a little bratty, but turn warm and fuzzy once you get to know them, much like the first impression you would get from meeting a bear in person, I would think. It’s clear that was the intention – to make Paddington more human than the humans – and it helps make everyone relatable in some sense. The crazy antics feel just silly enough, and the villian, while mean, borders the fine line of comedic, much like Glenn Close in the 101 Dalmatians live-action film.
Paul King directs, and while I’ve never heard of his other films, mostly British I am sure, it feels like he has a great idea how to tell a CGI-heavy story while not insulting the audience. The pacing is spot on. I never grew bored, and the CGI looked great, which is surprising as the trailers were a bit disappointing in that regard.
I know nothing of Paddington except that he was a bear that wore a red hat. He’s the non-monkey version of Curious George in my mind, but that isn’t being fair because the Paddington we get here is both charming and naive, and the two work perfectly hand in hand. Most kids films fail to entertain on an adult level, but my audience was filled with adults laughing as much as the kids were.
While I don’t know if I would go see this in the theater again, I would love to own a copy and watch it when I need a bit of a cheering up. Paddington is one of those fun, feel good movies that don’t require you to think about anything.
I went into Paddington in a terrible mood, and no real desire to see it, but my theater wasn’t showing anything else at that time that I hadn’t already seen. What I got was the same warm, fuzzy feeling I got back in the 1990s when I saw Jumanji for the first time. While not the same type of film, Jumanji created its own magical world as much as Paddington does today, and I was reeled in, hook, line and sinker. I have no regrets dropping the $5 to see this in the theater. Paddington is one of those rare family films that adults can enjoy as much as their kids.