Paddington 2 review
Paul King’s Paddington was a revelation back in 2014, fusing a lovable character, great effects, a top-notch cast and more charm than a lesson at Hogwarts into a brilliant family film. King and Simon Farnaby’s follow-up cleverly opts not to be “bigger” than the original – as all terrible sequels claim to be – easily avoiding that pitfall and capturing lightning in a bottle for a second time.
The plot itself is still fairly lightweight (even if it does add to the bear’s origin story), as Paddington searches for a present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday and finds an expensive pop-up book of London created by the owner of travelling fair. The bear, currently living the dream as a member of the Brown family, embarks on a series of jobs to drum up the cash, leading to plenty of hijinks in the workplace. However, when the book is stolen, Paddington gets the blame, and is locked up for the crime.
It’s still refreshing to see an immigrant story not bogged down by the actions of swivel-eyed loons (although Peter Capaldi’s Mr Curry continues to make a case to be the next UKIP leader). Yet it’s the execution that carries this film. London looks amazing and King brings the same ingenuity of production design, with the animated pop-up book and a chase sequence both extremely well animated early on.
The new additions to the cast are a treat, too. Hugh Grant offers up more ham than your average tapas menu, which is spot-on for the elder thespian he’s portraying. But it’s Brendan Gleason’s prison cook who steals the show, as Paddington turns his environment from Oz to Wizard of Oz through sheer force of personality.
Brimming with as much charm as the original, partly thanks to the script and partly down to Ben Whishaw’s amazing delivery as Paddington, this is an entertaining film with a big heart.