Wednesday, January 21, 2015

[Review] Paddington

I'll be honest--I was completely unfamiliar with the beloved children's story character, Paddington, aside from seeing the stuffed animals on toy shelves when I was younger. What I do know is--this CGI & live action cinematic telling of the cuddly bear is as charming as can be.

Paddington (voiced by Ben Wishaw) lives with his family in a forest in Peru. Early on, their home gets pulverized by an earthquake, and Paddington relocates to London. He eventually gets (temporarily) adopted into a human family, much to the dismay of Mr. Brown (Hugh Bonneville), the cautious father in the household. Pretty soon, the fish-out-of-water story ensues. But of course, bear-out-of-forest story is more fitting. The little bit of crisis arises when we learn that a villain taxidermist (played by Nicole Kidman) is tracking him down for her collection of rarities.

The previews might lead you to believe that this is a typical throwaway family-friendly film getting dumped into January, but that certainly isn't the case. I mean, it's VERY friendly, but it certainly isn't a throwaway. The story smears on plenty of sweet humor, warm cleverness, and lots of care. And surprisingly, it's also really visually creative--from its candy-coated colors to its cozy set designs. And there are actually some nifty and whimsy Wes Anderson-esque tricks tossed in.

Paddington is a fuzzy tale of belonging, and it should be a joy for all ages. It's full of heart, and it's just hard not to like. If this film doesn't tug at your heart strings, I don't know what will.


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