Rated PG, 95 minutes (watched 1/24/15)
Paddington is a shockingly cute movie. OK, so “shockingly” may be a little too strong, but I enjoyed the 95-minute run and I did not expect this to be the case. Truth be told, I was only able to enjoy 78 minutes of it, but we’ll get to that.
Presumably, the story of Paddington is one well-known to families with young kids. I somehow missed out on that bit of childhood (I’m more of a Couduroy Bear man myself). Here’s the quick recap: Paddington is a bear. You probably gathered that from the poster. He loves orange marmalade, lives with a human family in London, has silly adventures and gets into comic trouble. Oh, and he keeps an emergency sandwich under his hat. Naturally.
Like marmalade, t sounds sickeningly sweet. But there was just enough bite in the kid-friendly humor and elegance in the direction that I left the theater wish for more. It’s too easy to make a kids’ movie that is mind-numbingly boring for adults, and it’s only slightly harder to make a movie that overindulges in winks at its older audience (think Shrek). What Paddington accomplishes is much more impressive: it’s 100 percent accessible for kids and adults alike. Nothing will go over – or under – anyone’s head.
Ben Whishaw, the voice of Paddington, gives him a bemused, innocent, good-natured aura that just worked for me. So too did Nicole Kidman’s over-the-top villain. Hugh Bonneville is also perfect as the overworked dad who is too serious to indulge in such silliness as a bear in the house. A BEAR, FOR PETE’S SAKE!
Paddington is a CGI creation, but I’ll be darned if he wasn’t a good one. The movie opens with a close up of a bear sniffing marmalade, and the image was so lifelike it made me think of our two dogs at home. Unfortunately, this made me panic with the notion that I’d left our Hank and Lola – who are very much inside doggies – outside. I abandoned Megan in her seat and ran home to check. As it turns out, I did let them back in AND learned it takes me just 17 minutes to get from my seat in Theater #6 to the car to home and back. I’m told those 17 minutes were adorable, and I don’t doubt it.
All that’s wonderful, but what’s the movie’s grade? I’m in a hurry here, buddy.
4/5. Very good.
Where do I know that guy from?
Ben Whishaw plays Q in Skyfall, the most recent Bond film. Oh, and Imelda Staunton and Michael Gambon, both of Harry Potter, voice Paddington’s relatives back home in South America. Julie Walter, the actress behind Molly Weasley, again of Harry Potter, plays the family’s house keeper.
What is the star’s spirit animal?
You think I’m going to say a bear, don’t you? Well, I’m not. The correct answer here is: Pigeon.
What color socks are you wearing right now?
Grey with purple dots.
One of the supporting characters is played by Peter Capaldi, Doctor Who himself! I suspect that his character here is merely a disguise and this is part of some weird Doctor Who spin-off. If we start seeing bears eating marmalade in the TARDIS, you heard it here first.
She says she quite enjoyed it as well. She thought it was “super cute” and enjoyed Peter Capaldi’s surprising appearance.
Heard any good jokes lately?
What do you get when you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?
Unrelated Word of the Day:
Fatidic: adjective \fay-TID-ik\ Definition : of or relating to prophecy Examples: I hope the dream I had last night about losing my wedding ring doesn’t prove fatidic.
Would the movie have been any better with the addition of Morgan Freeman as narrator?
Probably not. Wait, is there a British version of Morgan Freeman?