Paddington 2: A funny and wondrous adventure
These days, CGI looks worn out. Deeply concerned with realistic and explosive tendencies, no thought is placed into the aesthetic and the beautiful. But while millions are spent on digitally removing Henry Cavill’s ‘tache, writer-director Paul King re-creates animation magic for Paddington 2. Completely settled in the Brown family residence in glorious London, Paddington (Ben Whishaw) seeks a birthday gift to send his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) in Darkest Peru. He finds an expensive pop-up book of London in Mr Gruber’s antique shop, but can’t afford it. The book is stolen and Paddington is blamed, leading to his unjust imprisonment.
Sequels bear the burden of inevitable scepticism, and Paddington 2 may well have fallen into disaster if King hadn’t returned. But these fears are relieved in the first ten minutes. Similar to the original film, the British director injects his stylish sense of fun and beauty, uncommon in family movies – closer to Wes Anderson than Disney. The Anderson flair has expanded: especially in the prison scenes, where one can taste the influence of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Every shot of Erik Wilson’s energetic cinematography has something to be excited about, as well as supplying an abundance of crazy, hilarious details.
The story doesn’t match the brilliance of the first and the poignant messages about acceptance (and immigration) aren’t nearly as prescient. Those messages are repeated in Paddington 2, but feel shoehorned into the script. The xenophobic Mr Curry (Peter Capaldi) hasn’t learned his lesson from the events of the first film, and now feels like a spare part. Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant) is the villain, hiding and deceiving through his performances – much like Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events. He doesn’t possess the fear factor of Nicole Kidman’s menacing Millicent, but he is a hilarious and essential presence for the delicious humour filling the movie.
Paddington 2 may not dethrone its predecessor, but there are many more laughs. There is always something to make the viewer chuckle, and the humour never alienates the parents. As with most sequels, there’s an attempt to be bigger. But it doesn’t reach ridiculous proportions (well, not for Paddington) and doesn’t hinder the story. It’s hard to see how anyone could forget their manners over this funny and wondrous adventure.
Paddington 2 is released nationwide on 10th November 2017.
Watch the trailer for Paddington 2 here: