Movie review: Paddington returns in earnest, endearing sequel

Fred Hawson

Posted at Feb 01 2018 11:43 AM

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I was introduced to the quintessentially British bear Paddington in his first film back in 2015. I loved that film and in fact it was one of my top 20 films of 2015. I was surprised but happy that they produced a sequel about our favorite teddy bear. This sequel was again directed and co-written by Paul King. For the local prints, Xian Lim had again been tapped to dub over the original vocals of Ben Whishaw. 

This time around, Paddington wanted to buy a gift for his Aunt Lucy for the occasion of her 100th birthday. He saw a charming pop-up book showing various London tourist spots in an antique shop and thought his Aunt Lucy will love it. However, when the store was burglarized and that book was stolen, Paddington was wrongly accused, apprehended and jailed for this crime. While Paddington tries his best to get through life in prison, the Brown family do their best to gather evidence to prove that their bear's innocence.

Among the noted British actors supporting Paddington in this sequel is Hugh Grant playing Phoenix Buchanan, a narcissistic actor who lived right across the Brown's house. Despite him going against Paddington, Grant made me laugh with his various eccentric actor idiosyncrasies and his donning of his old costumes. Another new face is Brendan Gleeson who played Knuckles McGinty, the cook of the prison who took a fancy to Paddington's marmalade recipe and becomes his friend. 

Reprising their roles from the first film were: Sally Hawkins, who was just nominated for an Oscar for best actress for her role in "The Shape of Water," was a gentle peaceful presence, reprising her role as Mrs. Mary Brown. Hugh Bonneville plays her straitlaced husband, Henry. Jim Broadbent also returns as the owner of the antique shop, Mr. Gruber. Imelda Staunton and Michael Gambon lend their voices to Paddington's dearest Aunt Lucy and Uncle Pastuzo. 

Through all his naive misadventures in this film, Paddington remains as endearing a bear as ever. One of the funniest scenes in the film was that one about the red sock getting mixed up in the washing machine where all the black and white striped jailbird uniforms were loaded with hilarious results. Only a kind and sweet cutie pie like Paddington can tame the most hardened criminals like he did here. 

Those climactic action scenes by the CG Paddington had on the train were also executed in the most fun and exciting manner. They were thrilling without becoming too seriously scary but certainly not too kiddie or safe. 8/10

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."