Take 2: Paddington
"I'll never be like other people, but that's alright, because I'm a bear. A bear called Paddington."
I don’t often watch things twice in such a short period of time but that’s life…
What strikes me this time around is the weakness of the plot compared to the marvellous attention to detail. Paddington’s issues with Nicole Kidman pale in comparison to the enchanting vision of London painted here.
I also loved the little tricks used to provide back story without reverting to simple flashbacks. The scene with the projector is beautiful, as is the train in Mr. Gruber’s shop. The doll’s house coming alive feels like a Wes Anderson trick but it’s not out of place. All these elements also help lift the film out of reality, making the whole notion of a talking bear more plausible.
The use of the scenery to convey emotion is also charming, and proves an easy way to give the film depth. The way the ‘found’ part of the lost and found sign lights up when the Browns meet Paddington; the leaves painted on the wall of their house falling off when he’s gone; it’s simple but effective and doesn’t feel like a gimmick.
If they can dial back the wacky plot then there’s material for a unique franchise here. However it’s going to take something special to maintain this level of creativity and a big part of me hopes they don’t make a Paddington 2…