City Press movie review: Paddington 2
Johannesburg - The small furry bear with impeccable manners and a sunny outlook on everyone’s character, who wears a red hat with a marmalade sandwich under it, is back.
Paddington 2, which concluded filming on the day Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear, died at the age of 91, is another delightful outing for the whole family.
This time, we find Paddington, voiced by Ben Whishaw, well settled into the Brown family. He’s a helpful part of the local community and everything is going swimmingly until he starts looking for the perfect gift for his Aunt Lucy, who is about to turn 100. He finds a great gift, a pop-up book about London’s attractions, but, while he’s working odd jobs to earn the money to buy it, the villain (Hugh Grant) has discovered the book is so much more... it is a treasure map.
So begins another adventure with Paddington ending up in jail, where he uses his marmalade sandwich to good effect to change Knuckles McGinty’s (Brendan Gleeson) outlook on life – and sandwiches. His time in the laundry gives the usual black-and-white convict look a lift, and he manages to convert an impressive selection of hardened crooks into empathic people-huggers.
It is impossible not to be swept up in this uniquely British tale, with wonderful performances from the Browns – Sally Hawkins (who breezed on to the international movie scene in the unforgettable and loveable Happy-Go-Lucky) and Hugh Bonneville, best known for his turn as Downton Abbey’s lord of the manor.
Grant, as the has-been actor and master of disguise Phoenix Buchanan, deserves a special mention as he camps it up. He is very funny as he slips from stage character to stage character in his pursuit of treasure. It is fitting that the man who has made his living out of being the very epitome of the self-deprecating Englishman love interest, should here be a pitch-perfect British villain for a British children’s story.
If you are lining up activities for the children’s holidays, put this on your list. It is an unapologetic ode to London, the one that boasts Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and The Tower of London, the one where everyone drinks tea if they have a shock and where a small furry bear from Peru can make a real difference. A welcome sequel – and there’s another under way.