Paddington 2

Paddington 2 was probably one of my most looking forward to films for awhile. No, not some big superhero film, or a drama with all of my favorite actors. Paddington. Two.

The first one was just a delight. It was cute, funny, and it felt like the perfect family film. It didn’t help that Europe got it so much earlier than other parts of the world, so I heard about its praise, and I just wanted more.

Who would have thought that a little bear could bring the world together so much? Well, the makers of the first Paddington, I guess.

Family
A successful family film always needs a big family so everyone can relate to someone.

Things are changing in the Brown household. The kids (Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin) are changing their appearances and hobbies, the mother (Sally Hawkins) wants to go on adventures and is training to swim to France, and the father (Hugh Bonneville) is going through a big midlife crisis because he feels old and is missing promotions at work.

But Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is just chill. He is helping his neighbors, making the world a brighter place, and really just finding a place to exist. He does want to get a gift for his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) though, which leads him to a sweet pop up book of London! It is very detailed and it will let her experience London like she always wanted to. But the book is rare, so Paddington will have to get a few jobs in order to pay for it.

What Paddington doesn’t know, is there are others out there that will go to great lengths to get that book, even if it means Paddington ends up in Prison as a result.

Also starring Hugh Grant, Michael Gambon, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, and Brendan Gleeson.

Prison
Jails are just a red herring of course. Or a pink herring.

At the time of writing this review, Paddington 2 has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. And that isn’t based on only 20 or so reviews, it is based on ONE HUNDRED NINETY-SIX reviews! That is almost 200 people who agreed that it didn’t suck. Of course it doesn’t mean it is a perfect film, just everyone found it overall good and gave a positive impression. And that is frankly unheard of in this day in age.

Of course while watching it, I found myself chuckling a few times. Just the generic slapstick portions as Paddington flails about trying to do human things are worth it. The story goes really well together and ends with a lot of the pieces coming together quite nicely.

Most importantly, it is a film with a simple story and that works in its favor. It is slow enough moving that even those younger kids will be able to follow along and enjoy it, while not being too slow or boring for adults. The family was funny enough. And Grant was very good in his role, and at a very good age and time in his career to play something like he did.

It doesn’t resort to violence, it resorts to smarts, and maybe some bonking, but not an all out brawl.

Hooray!

3 out of 4.

Paddington

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 Bear
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.

Two Thumbs
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.

The Impossible

On December 26, 2004, a tsunami rocked the Indian Ocean and destroyed many islands and coastal communities. Over 230,000 lives were lost in a matter of minutes and it is one of the biggest natural disasters ever recorded in human history.

Honestly, I am surprised it took 8 years for a major movie to be made on the subject. After all, it only took 1.5 years to make a movie about the death of Osama Bin Laden, and a few months for a documentary on Michael Jackson.

Surfs Up
Don’t tell those people in the Chasing Mavericks movie. They would surf the fuck out of this surge.

The Impossible is specifically about a family from Spain vacationing in Thailand for Christmas. Henry (Ewan McGregor) is a businessman who works in Japan, and his wife Maria (Naomi Watts) is a doctor, but no longer practices to take care of their three boys. Their boys are Lucas (Tom Holland), then Thomas (Samuel Joslin), and Simon (Oaklee Pendergast).

Then you know, huge ass wave. Maria and Lucas get swept down the current, while Henry and the younger boys get stuck in the resort area.

Turns out the acting in this movie is pretty darn great. Naomi Watts? Definitely deserves her best actress nomination. From a loving stay at home mom, to a weak and powerless person, the transition was quick and amazing to watch. Her survival rested solely on the shoulders of her oldest son,as the two were now equals while they were alone in the desecrated landscape. Tom Holland has been in theater for awhile, but this was his first movie role, and it was similarly knocked out of the park. Large portions of the film were left to him to carry, and he made it his bitch.

Finally, Ewan McGregor acted pretty strongly in the film as well. Despite the disaster in front of him, he continued to try and fit into his role as protector and provider for the family. He had to make multiple hard decisions before they were reunited, separating himself from his children, looking for his wife and other son, and helping others along the way. Plus, as a bonus, his sob sounds identical to how it did in Moulin Rouge, even after eleven years.

Trees
First, this log. Tomorrow, the world!

Despite the strong acting from the main three, the film suffered elsewhere. I loved the realism in term of the flooding and its lack of heavy CGI to get the effect they needed. But I think the film took too many liberties when it came to the actual story. Most notably, before the reunion, there was a pretty long scene of the multiple groups wandering around the same hospital, but continuously missing another party by a few seconds. It really cheapened it for me, for a film that was priding itself in its realism.

I also didn’t like that it seemed to create false suspense by only showing a couple character for long periods of time…even though the trailer and true story aspect give away certain “secrets”. We can’t not know that members of the family survived the initial onslaught thanks to the trailer, so stop trying to make it seem that way.

The rating for this movie I also felt should have been an R. Based on similar scenes in movies, I think it all of it is a bit too much with all of the injuries that occur. I almost threw up on a quick flash of a leg injury, given the detail in the makeup.

As expected, The Impossible is an incredibly sad film, but at the same time, a bit of an inspiring one.

2 out of 4.