Sunday, February 01, 2015

Paddington (2014)

     Paddington (2014) [D:Paul King. Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, and  Ben Wishaw voicing Paddington] I like Paddington Bear very much. Created by Michael Bond and starring in several books as well as an animated series for children’s television, he’s a hapless but friendly furry person whose enthusiastic naivete gets him into all kinds of scrapes. Here, sent to England by his Aunt Lucy after an earthquake destroys his home in “deepest Peru”, he yearns for a proper home and a family. He gets both, of course, but not until getting into all kinds of scrapes and being nearly murdered and stuffed by an ice-cold villainess.
     I enjoyed this movie. The makers wisely decided to play Paddington’s naivete for laughs while accepting the improbable premise at face value, and taking Paddington’s predicament seriously. Well done special effects, a narrative pace nicely tuned to children’s need for time to absorb plot-points and adults’ quicker uptake of the subtext, very well done animation, and characters complex enough to make us care for them but simple enough that we recognise the stereotypes immediately. Not the greatest movie ever made, but a well-crafted entertainment with hardly a false note. ***

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