Friday, 5 December 2014

Paddington


As a beloved national treasure of children's literature, Paddington stories still to this day serve as a essential milestone in any childhood. This iconic bear from deepest darkest Peru makes his cinematic debut after a barrage of fuss caused by the BBFC's decision, (from earlier in the year) to upgrade the film's certification from an all inclusive U to a more grizzly PG rating. With Michael Bond's cherished creation obtaining affection from an extensive range of generations, Colin Firth's decision to 'consciously uncouple' from world's most recognisable bear, made it seem as though this modern re-imaging of Britain's most famous furry friend was doomed.

When a merciless earthquake destroys his natural habitat, Paddington sets off for London on the quest to find himself a new home. Upon arriving in the capital with the familiar 'please look after this bear' tag placed prominently around his neck, the young hero is quick to learn that London is a colder and harsher place than he had imagined. This image strongly evokes connotations of war time Britain with labelled children speedily evacuated to seek a safe new home in the country, far away from city life.    

After the Brown family consisting of a tense Mr Brown (Hugh Bonneville), the caring and nurturing Mrs Brown (Sally Hawkins), the eternally embarrassed Judy (Madeleine Harris) and the adventurous Jonathan (Samuel Joslin) discover the lost looking Paddington, they eventually agree to temporarily take the young bear under their wing until more suitable accommodation can be found. The moment Paddington's paw sets through the Brown's front door a series chaotic events ensue, including trying to escape the evil clutches of the ruthless taxidermist Millicent (Nicole Kidman).

Ben Whishaw eloquently captures young Paddington's innocent and wide eyed spirit, which ensures Paddington to be a firmly re-watchable family favourite for years to come. Along with a sublime supporting cast including Julie Walters' wonderfully hilarious performance as Mrs Bird and the uncomfortably creepy Mr Curry effortlessly portrayed by current Time Lord Peter Capaldi. Paddington succeeds in being an utterly charming re-imagining that fully embodies childhood adventure combined with trying to find your place in the world, with something for both adults and children alike. Be sure to seek out Paddington this Christmas time, for a festive family treat. Now where's my marmalade sandwich?

 ★★★★1/2
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