“Perhaps you’d like an English name?” asks Mrs. Brown (Sally Hawkins). “An English name,” replies the talking bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw). “Paddington,” exclaims Mrs. Brown as she, along with her two children and her husband, prepare to take the young Peruvian bear who they found at a train station wearing a tag that reads “Please take care of this bear, Thank you” home with them for just one night in the family film, Paddington.
After suffering a tragedy, the young Peruvian bear with a passion for all things British travels to London in hopes of finding a new home. At first things aren’t going well at all for Paddington, with everyone ignoring him and just going about their business. But when Mrs. Brown sees the cute bear standing in front of the Lost and Found, she just can’t resist talking to him. Realizing he has no one in London to stay with, Mrs. Brown convinces her husband, Mr. Brown (Hugh Bonneville), to let the bear stay with them for just one night.
Wanting to make a good impression and hoping to win over the Brown family so he might live with them and become a member of their family, Paddington tries to get acquainted and situated but only ends up causing one disaster after another. The over=controlling and accident-obsessed Mr. Brown is determined to get rid of Paddington fearing he causes too many hazards for his children. But when he sees both Jonathan (Samuel Joslin) and Judy (Madeleine Harris) laughing and beginning to like the adorable bear, he slowly starts to reconsider.
Just when it seems Paddington might actually have a new family, a new threat surfaces when a museum taxidermist (Nicole Kidman) hears about some of the bear’s latest antics in the city and decides he would make a perfect addition to her collection.
Cute, funny, and occasionally silly, Paddington is a lighthearted, family adventure film that is sure to have the audience wanting their own Peruvian talking bear to take home. The film has marvelous CGI visual effects, and especially impressive is the bear itself. The interactions between the live actors and the CGI bear are first-rate, as is the overall look of Paddington. Ben Whishaw does a great job in providing the voice of the bear, bringing the little guy to life and giving him just the right innocent and curious personality. Hugh Bonneville is extremely comical and at times tender as the over-protective Mr. Brown who at first wants nothing to do with the strange bear but eventually ends up risking his own well being to save Paddington. The biggest laughs in the film are when these two characters are on screen together.
The one subplot which does not belong and at times makes the film just a bit too dark for young members of the audience is the taxidermist stalking and hunting Paddington to make him an unwilling permanent resident of her museum. Fortunately, the director and writers kept a cartoonish and wacky feel to these scenes effectively minimizing the dark subject matter.
Endearing, sweet, and zany, Paddington is a delightful, goofy adventure that is sure to entertain young children and their parents as they watch an adorable bear trying to find a new family all his own.
Paddington is rated PG for mild action and rude humor.
Running time: 95 minutes
Release date: January 16, 2015
– Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty
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