Paddington (2014) Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris Movie Review

Paddington (2014)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Paddington (2014)

A 21st Century Bear

When disaster strikes in Deepest Peru, a young Peruvian bear with a suitcase stocked with marmalade stows away on a boat and eventually arrives in London at Paddington Station. When Mrs. Brown (Sally Hawkins) spots this lost bear standing on the platform she persuades her husband, Mr. Brown (Hugh Bonneville), to let him stay with them for the night after giving him the name Paddington. Of course having a marmalade loving bear living with you is not without its problems but eventually the reluctant Mr. Brown is persuaded by his wife, children and housekeeper, Mrs. Bird (Julie Walters), to make Paddington one of the family. But it seems someone else is interested in this talking bear from Deepest Peru, Millicent (Nicole Kidman), who resents that her explorer father was mocked when he returned from Peru and told his colleagues about the talking bears.

I am going to tell you right away that "Paddington" was never going to win me over like it did others for the simple reason I grew up watching the TV series which ran from the 70s into the 80s and still have wonderful memories of the bear from Deepest Peru in his blue duffle coat and black hat, yes he wore a black hat not a flamboyant red one. But whilst this 2014 incarnation of "Paddington" didn't fill me with the same joy it filled others there is no denying that it is an enjoyable family movie which not only gives us the Paddington bear back story but then gives us a typical bad guy storyline in the tradition of Cruella de Vil.

Nicole Kidman in Paddington (2014)

I actually think that was part of my issue with this version of "Paddington", other than the hat change, as the whole story idea of trouble from a wicked woman is so old hat that I kind of wanted something different. I also wanted more humour and less of the predictable slapstick and chaos you get from having a fish out of water bear in your home especially the sought which borders on not being enjoyably stupid.

But that actually leads me to what is my major issue when it comes to "Paddington" because at times the story and the humour seems to be there purely to showcase the work of the whiz kids who created the CGI version of Paddington. Now there is no denying he is an impressive collection of pixels and the detail is at times astonishing but some scenes add nothing other than to scream look at how clever we are to do this. And to be honest the Paddington in this movie just didn't deliver that warm, fuzzy cuteness which made the TV series I grew up watching.

What this all boils down to is that there is no denying that "Paddington" is a good movie made for a 21st century audience who find themselves being impressed by CGI animation. But for me Paddington will always be the fluffy creation from the 70s TV series and this lacked that cuteness and warmth which was a big part of my childhood.