Animated films are a risk these days in terms of going to the theater, unless of course you are Disney in which case you are guaranteed quality. Other studios, however, struggle to find the balances in cuteness, kid vs adult, and storytelling vs. gimmicks. So, enter Paddington, the loveable, raincoat wearing bear who is hoping to make another mark in the theater. Can this CGI, anthropomorphic animal in a real-life cast filled world hit home again with a second movie, or have the morale antics been lost to the ocean Disney has crafted? Robbie K here with another review hoping to help guide your movie going pleasures. Let’s get started.
Animation/Acting: In the modern-day world, animation with computers has never been at its highest point. Paddington’s team continue to nail this category starting with the stunning, realistic design of the bear that dreams big and loves even bigger. His movements are fluid, not just limited to simple walking and blinking, but expanded to running, cooking, and even…washing windows with his butt. It’s impressive to see so much human in this animal, and maintain the realism of the bear anatomy. Even better is how well the cast is able to work with the animated star, flawlessly transitioning amidst the scene as if her were actually there. A strong shout out to the editing for the victory in this one, for executing a performance worthy of a kid’s movie.
Cute: In a kid’s movie like this, you want cuteness to be a factor, as this usually means a kid friendly film that little ones can go to. Good news parents, Paddington’s second adventure is just as adorable as the first. Outside of the adorable design, his big heart, voice acting, and even his mistakes are reminiscent of a new puppy without having to clean things up. My showing was filled with laughter at this adventure and awing when the heart filled moments come up. Yes, this film is certainly kid friendly and cute as a button.
Engaging characters: Yet despite being kid friendly, Paddington 2 is able to inject heart into the mix and create characters that older audience members will want to latch onto. Paddington himself evolves on new levels once again, expanding upon the lessons learned in the first installment, and tackling the cruel nature of the world. The rest of the family including Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville go through their own transitions as well, expanded enough to not be obsolete, but not so much to hog the spotlight. Instead new comers like Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson are the secondary characters who have more development, both going down same, but opposite paths that are entertaining to see. All the development goes with the flow of the story, and didn’t feel too much of a stretch for me.
Story/Presentation: Paddington’s story is not the first time we’ve seen to come to the theaters. Getting over this, the story is one that has many levels to it. Superficially, it’s a bear going on a journey to clear his name, all while looking precious in the process. However, moving in tangent with this film is a mystery centering around Hugh Grant’s character trying to uncover. In tandem with that is the family also trying to solve the mystery to potentially help their friend out. All these stories fit well together, and keep the plot in motion, never in static boredom and to have these decently balanced works for this reviewer. Yet, the biggest component of this story, is how heartwarming and emotionally packed it is. Like a good Disney film, Paddington 2 has those powerful scenes and sequences that hit my heart deep. Some are uplifting and laugh worthy, primarily those that involve politeness, respect, and love. Others are a bit sadder in tone, primarily in the struggles and setbacks where the look of disappointment on the little bear’s face brings out your empathetic side. Regardless of what scene affects you, the ability to illicit such a response gets points in my book, especially when you nearly make me cry. Paddington’s moral filled tale is not unique, but it certainly presented well to warrant an investigation.
Predictable: No surprise, Paddington’s kid friendly tale doesn’t have too many twists or turns that will leave you in shock and awe. Older audience members will be thankful at the fun this movie has, because in regards to story you can see everything coming within 30-45 minutes of it actually happening. This is of course difficult to do without going to the dark side, but still there could have been some slight twists.
Character Stupidity: With how much Paddington has done for his community, one would have thought the town would have been a little wiser in terms of the crimes at hand. Much of the cast is ridiculously ignorant or surprisingly dumb in the details and clues that are missed, or the fact that the police don’t warrant investigations. This approach does set up the stories that I described in the likes section, but you have to suspend your understanding of characters to accept it, amazing how fickle people can be.
Expanding More: This would be difficult to do in a movie, but I would have loved to see more of the secondary characters expanded the way Paddington was. Primarily, the jail scenes needed a little more spreading out, not only to give more time with the prisoner cast, but add a little more adventure to this movie. Expanding the struggles to obtain friends might have added a little more to the movie and made the hero’s journey a little more epic. In addition, Hugh Grant’s tale was the sillier of the bunch, and could have either used a few more stunts and examples to at least add a little more to his plot.
Paddington 2 is a prime example of what a kid’s movie can be when one pays tribute to all audience members. While the cute animation and characters who perform slapstick, silliness are good for your little ones, the surprisingly deep character and story really works to entertain the masses. British led movies continue to impress me and this movie is certainly great for all ages, perhaps even illicit a few tears upon first viewing. Still it has some work to be a perfect movie including mixing up some of the predictable plotlines, not turning their characters into doubting imbeciles, and expanding more on their new gimmicks. Overall though, this is the movie to see this weekend in my opinion and certainly one worth hitting the rental for, assuming you don’t hit the theaters first.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 8.0