Film: Paddington

"Long ago, people in England sent their children by train with labels around their necks, so they could be taken care of by complete strangers in the country side where it was safe. They will not have forgotten how to treat strangers."

A bear’s Peruvian home is destroyed so he sets off to London to seek a new life.

Like the rest of the world I was sceptical about a CG adaptation of such a beloved character. Like the rest of the world, I let out an audible gasp in the first ten seconds when I saw just how good the animation actually was.

Paddington shows off technical wizardry from the get-go and doesn’t let up for the whole film. A lot of care has been put into every visual aspect and it really helps translate the warmth and delicate touch of the original books. You can see and almost feel every hair in Paddington’s coat, it comes out of the screen like a 3D movie.

Mighty Boosh director Paul King was a bold choice for the production, but it pays off. Not only does he display an intricate knowledge of the source material, his vision and attention to detail serve to capture the essence of Paddington. The Brown’s home becomes ours for the duration of the film, a critical concept to capture yet not an easy feat to pull off.

The plot veers off into wacky life and death situations, not something that really happens in the books and sure enough those are perhaps the weakest parts of the film.

Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins play the Browns and they manage to paint a charming picture of middle-class family life. There’s no attempt to pretend the family aren’t wealthy which I have to applaud - so many films seem to assume normal people can afford a central London townhouse.

This is a lovely, naive, innocent film that successfully brings the brilliance of Paddington to the big screen. The message is simple, easy to understand, easy to get on board with and not overbearing.

By some miracle Paddington avoids almost all tedious tropes that one can expect of such an adaptation. King instead opts to stick to his vision for the film, in doing so he’s made a truly original, entertaining picture. A surprise hit.

Paul King | 2014 | IMDB | Wikipedia