I can say I was definitely not looking forward to seeing Paddington. When I first heard about it, sure, maybe. I vaguely remember child stories about the bear.
But then the film had drama. Colin Firth was supposed to be the voice of the bear, but then he left the project. They literally had movie posters with his name attached for a Christmas release at this point. But Firth left the project, mid production. Oh no. That can’t be good!
So I had a negative perception of the film. Turns out Firth left on his own because he just didn’t think his voice fit the bear at all. He was just too old. The bear had a youthful look and he didn’t feel right for the job. That’s fair I guess. Well, I saw it now damn it. And it is a 2015 movie instead of a 2014. And it is still very, very British.
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear…
The titular bear, Paddington (Ben Whishaw) didn’t always go by that name. No, he used to have (bearsound) as an identifier. Also he can talk. He was found by a geographer with the rest of his family. The bear family was unusually smart, so he taught them English. They also really seemed to like marmalade.
Eventually, disaster strikes their home, and Paddington is forced to flee the jungles. He decides to head to London, as long ago, the geographer told him he would always be welcome in the Greatest Britain. So he makes it to London, but no one immediately takes him in, like he thought would happen. But then eventually the Browns walk by. Henry (Hugh Bonneville) is against taking in a bear, but his wife, Mary (Sally Hawkins) insists upon helping him out. So they take him in for just one night. Well, he is a clumsy bear who knows nothing about human stuff, so a lot of shenanigans occur.
Eventually they find out he is slightly truthful in his tale of the geographer, so they let him stay. Yay a pseudo-home! Too bad he is also being… hunted! That’s right. A crazy taxidermist (Nicole Kidman) has found out about his existence and really wants to stuff him. Not a euphemism. She gets the help of one of the Brown’s neighbors, a crockety old man Mr. Curry (Peter Capaldi) to help her get that bear!
Also featuring the kids of Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin, and Jim Broadbent. Because Jim Broadbent is the most British man I can imagine.
Who has two toothbrushes and is DTF? This bear!
Now, I’m not racist, but that bear had way more pizzazz than I thought a bear could have. Hooray for pizzazz!
I actually found the movie quite enjoyable. It was jolly good fun. Did you see the bear in the bathtub? Hilarity, my good sirs! Hilarity!
This movie was obviously British, but it was also super British. The only thing missing was the Queen herself. There might have even been a Constable.
Kidman’s character felt maybe too ridiculous for my tastes, but the filmmakers were going for a cartoon feel so it all made sense. The family versus the bear dynamic worked really good as well, and I am happy to say the bear never raged out and killed a baby or anything. Overall, it is a decently enjoyable way to waste an hour and a half with the family. I bear no regrets.
3 out of 4.