Paddington introduces us to the title character (voiced rather effectively by Ben Whishaw) while he's living in the jungles of Peru. It's marmalade day and he's quite possibly the happiest bear alive. That's when disaster strikes, forcing poor optimist Paddington to escape onto a boat and journey to England, where he hopes he will find an explorer (Tim Downie) whom his uncle and aunt were once visited by. Instead, Paddington is taken into the home of the Browns, a family of four, each with a different opinion of Paddington. But while this is occurring, Millicent (Nicole Kidman), a museum taxidermist, is attempting to kidnap Paddington and stuff him.
Ignore all the poor advertising this film received for Paddington is a blast! While the first two trailers for this film were just cringe worthy, the third trailer wasn't. Instead, it showed us the entire movie (and for that reason, I've embedded one of the not-so entertaining trailers after this review). I went into Paddington with neither high expectations, nor low ones. I went in open minded. I'm happy to say that I came out feeling rather pleasant and with a smile on my face. Ben Whishaw, the voice of Paddington, suits the role rather well, providing a talented voice performance and one that actually sounds like Paddington. For that, let's just be thankful that Colin Ferrel decided to pass on the role. Despite being a decent actor, he's not one to play a friendly bear with an addiction to marmalade.
The scenes I speak of that were shown in the trailers, especially the moments shown below, aren't actually as bad when put into the context of the film. There are still some silly moments and nonsensical ones too, but this a film about a talking bear, for goodness sake. There's a scene involving Paddington in the bathroom, a bathroom that he then goes on to misuse and flood. In the trailer this scene didn't seem to work too well, particularly when cut between a phone conversation (although yes, that conversation does unfortunately happen in the film too). When seen on screen, this scene works, and it even got my audience laughing rather rambunctiously.
There are some truly heartwarming and heartbreaking moments in Paddington. It's a film that not only pleases young ones and adults alike, but it's also a film that has a rather large heart. Paddington knows how to crack a smile and, on occasion, even a belly laugh of two. It's a sweet and thoughtful movie, even with a few moments that are possibly too dark for children to understand. Oh well, I'm sure they'll still have a ball, despite probably not knowing what Nicole Kidman's character is all about. Well, aside from the fact that she's evil.
Despite following a formulaic storyline, director Paul King appears to be sending a short and sweet love letter to the beloved character. He's not ruining the character, nor improving him. He gives us the same old Paddington in a presentable, hilarious and precise way, giving us all of his famous traits without ever forcing any of them in. Sure, there's a few clichés here and there, but when a film can be as funny as this, I don't really mind all that much. I seem to be becoming a bit more lenient with clichés as of late, but oh well. I guess films are just starting to use them more effectively.
Anyways, Paddington is the reason I love going to see family friendly films. While there have been animations that are more enjoyable this year, making a kids film that's not only good, but great, and most certainly worth buying on blu-ray, is something I don't find too often. There's a couple, sure, but there's not one that will probably end up being as rewatchable as Paddington will be. It's a fun time at the movies no matter how big or small your screen is. My rating is there, but I never implore anyone to base whether or not they should see a movie on how high I rate a film. Decide on what I say, not my rating. After all, I gave Nympohmaniac a higher rating and I'm not telling you to rush out and see that. Watch Paddington instead.
To sum up, Paddington's advertising doesn't do it justice for the film is somewhat of a love letter to the title character, featuring an effective cast, plenty of heart, some gut busting moments and humour that appeals to both adults and children.
3 1/2 Stars