Think of the greatest sequels of all time: ‘The Godfather Part 2,’ The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘The Dark Knight.’ ‘Paddington 2’ is now way up there on this list. Mmm! Maybe that’s laying it on a bit thick; nonetheless, ‘Paddington 2’ is still a great sequel. What does lay thick literally is how Paddington spreads that orange marmalade on bread like a Michelin star chef. You can’t help but develop a craving or have a curiosity to taste some as this is one of the film’s promotions.
From the trailer, we are aware that our hero is incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit. To see him feel the fear of imprisonment and then work his way up to protection and popularity with his inmates is hilarious as he befriends the tough prisoner chef; ‘Knuckles’ played by the brilliant Brendan Gleeson. The duo makes marmalade sandwiches, decorate the prison cells and make a British prison so homely that you’d want to commit a crime to stay at Paddington’s prison resort. Yes! Paddington touches the lives of anybody he encounters and always brings out the good in the bad.
The premise is where Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen. A pop-up book that explains the landmarks of London is our main prop of the film. Obviously, there’s more to this book than meets the eye, especially, when our main villain Hugh Grant bends backwards to steal it and frame Paddington as the culprit. Once we see Paddington hilariously put on trial and then incarcerated, the adventure to clear his name begins.
This sequel is a great come back for Hugh Grant replacing Nicole Kidman as our antagonist. Grant is not afraid to make fun of himself as the washed-up actor in desperate need of money. To see his many disguises in order to steal and sleaze his way out of sticky situations is so typical of Hugh Grant that he is able to do what he does best: Be himself and stick to his conventions of his style of acting but make it more child-friendly.
The special mention of the film must go to Ben Whishaw. There is something so endearing about his innocent voice that when he brings Paddington to life, he lights up the hearts of the viewers that we become so captivated. This is a family film, hence to see a lot of pantomime business of the bear’s antics is hilarious. His clumsy persona is so sweet, but his determination to make others happy is what defines our British cultural icon as a true treasure. The Brown family from Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins and their two onscreen teenage children are a great supporting act to our protagonist.
Nevertheless, it is the constant comedy, light-hearted entertainment and excellent cast that make ‘Paddington 2’ a worthy sequel. The original 2014 film achieved 5 star reviews due to much tension, especially when Paddington is about to fall into a raging pit of fire in slow motion. The sequel attempts to do something on that scale with a similar scene but fails to make us sigh in terror as there is lack of tension compared to the first. This is the only minor criticism that can be easily forgiven. The many adult prison jokes and homages to prison movies are what make the sequel accessible for adults as well as the target audience of children. Be prepared and expect the visual imagery to see him clean windows with his furry bum to stay drilled into your head forever.
Aly Lalji | [rating=4]
Animation, Family, Comedy | UK, 2017 | PG | 10th November 2017 (UK) | Studiocanal | Dir.Paul King | Brendan Gleeson, Sally Hawkins, Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville, Imelda Staunton