When an earthquake hits the area of Darkest Peru, marmalade-obsessed Paddington (voice of Ben Whishaw) is left without a home. He sets off for London to find a new place to live, hoping that somebody will take him in.
I went into Paddington thinking I would not enjoy the film (Fun story: I went to this movie because of a school field trip). Based on the books written by Michael Bond, we are told the story of a bear who causes mischief in a London home because, well, he’s a bear. How many times have we seen this set up before? Paddington, sadly, is quite predictable, if you’re an adult. However, the movie succeeds in one major department.
Paddington is charming.
I’m not just talking about the titular bear, I am discussing the movie in general. If this were American-based, I feel like it would lose points. But the British nature really helps it, probably why the cliches of family film wither away as time progresses. And the bear himself, who looked rather “meh” in trailers as far as special effects, is captivating and adorable. In fact, I have to applaud the writers for moving away from classic “kid film” gags like potty humor and throwaway jokes. Hey, any movie that throws in Indiana Jones and Mission: Impossible references subtly get my approval.
While I wasn’t really won over by Whishaw’s voice over for Paddington initially, it does seem to blend better once real action starts happening. I was thinking that Paddington would sound more child-like, but once the initial resistance wears off, it works out pretty well.
The movie does tend to drag when the focus isn’t on Paddington and his new found family. Nicole Kidman plays the villain of the film, and she looks like she’s having a blast. However, she completely rips off Cruella De Vil and isn’t as entertaining as the aforementioned villain. Kidman’s character is basically a plot convenience to wrap the story around.
When the focus is on the bear and family, that’s where the movie is most entertaining. You can’t help but feel the warm nature the movie outputs. It’s sweet, not unlike a jar of marmalade. All in all, it’s an enjoyable family film that works mostly because of the family core.
Also now I want marmalade.
Rating: 7 out of 10