Monday, January 15, 2018

[Review} Paddington 2


2015's Paddington was an immensely delightful surprise, and thankfully, its sequel (simply titled Paddington 2) continues with that same sweet tradition, and this time it might even be better -- for this film truly is the cinematic equivalent of a warm and cozy hug.

When we reacquaint with our furry bear companion Paddington (softly voiced by Ben Wishaw) he's now well-adjusted (for the most part) to his life in Windsor Gardens. He's even taking on odd jobs in order to save up for a special gift for his dear Aunt Lucy, who's about to celebrate her 100th(!) birthday. But things go awry when the gift is stolen by a villainous con-artist (played by Hugh Grant), and poor Paddington is framed and sent to prison. From there, he must find a way out, while hoping his beloved adoptive family, the Browns (Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins), won't forget him.

This lovable and emotionally-stirring endeavor gracefully carries over the irresistible charm that made the first one so great. It's marvelous. It's wonderful. And it's the proper recipe of whimsy, laughs, and heart. At times, the film even reminded me of Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel with its old-fashioned quirk and playful verve. The visuals are utterly splendid, and there's a particularly exquisite animated sequence that unfolds in the form of a pop-up book -- it's awe-inspiring, really. Combine all of this with the fun, slapsticky romps of humor, the elegant musical soundtrack, the narrative's good-natured spirit, and you have a real treat for the senses and the soul.

Paddington 2 is that rare family film that delivers equal enjoyment for all, whether you're a few years old or turning 100 like dear Aunt Lucy. It's impossible not to root for. The story's life lessons are agreeable and universal -- without ever being too... *ahem* ...overbearing. The message is pretty simple: Spread kindness like marmalade. It can go a long way.

* 9/10 *

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