All the situations that Paddington goes through in this movie teaches a lesson. In fact, the film builds on top of the characters and surroundings of Windsor Gardens in such a way that when Paddington disappears for extended portions of the film, the story makes a point to show the audience just what the world would be like without the superbly polite ursine youth to keep everyone on their toes. Surely it would be impossible for co-writer/director Paul King to pull that off again? I'm happy to report, it works.
I'll start by saying this: Paddington 2 is what every good sequel should be. Allow us to prescribe Paddington 2, a delightfully heartwarming tale about everyone's favorite marmalade-loving bear. One day Paddington, visiting the gift shop of Mr. Gruber (Jim Broadbent) in search of a birthday present for his aunt, stumbles upon a book filled with gorgeous pop-up illustrations of London landmarks. He can't afford it, of course, so he bumbles his way through a series of odd jobs in a collection of comedic montages. One of the people, Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), does not like him and has falsely accused him of stealing a very valuable book. But part of "Paddington 2's" appeal is this very simplicity, its earnest desire to be a fun and easily digestible outing for the whole family.
Reuniting numerous original film's cast while welcoming those in new roles, PADDINGTON 2 stars Golden Globe nominee Hugh Bonneville (DOWNTON ABBEY), Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (BLUE JASMINE), three-time Golden Globe nominee Brendan Gleeson (THE GUARD, INTO THE STORM, IN BRUGES), Oscar nominee Julie Walters (BILLY ELLIOT, EDUCATING RITA), Oscar victor Jim Broadbent (IRIS), and Oscar victor Peter Capaldi (short, FRANZ KAFKA'S IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE), with Golden Globe and BAFTA Award victor Hugh Grant (FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL), and BAFTA victor Ben Whishaw (THE HOLLOW CROWN) as THE VOICE of Paddington. Obviously. Who else could it be?
There's no end of trouble a little brown bear from deepest, darkest Peru can get into when let loose on the streets of London. Many children's films are cloyingly sentimental and saddled with group-written scripts that buzz around aimlessly like lightning bugs in a jar. It's proof that imagination and intent always mean more than budget. Like the first Paddington, the sequel has a Wes Anderson-style attention to detail and a keen eye for quirky visuals, thanks to King and his returning collaborators behind the camera (including, cinematographer Erik Wilson and production designer Gary Williamson). Within King's immaculately composed frames march some of the finest and funniest British actors alive. Brown (Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins) leading the charge, the race is on to clear this bear's good name, before it's too late. The movie's MVP is Brendan Gleeson, as the gruff yet soft-hearted prison chef with an all-timer name of Knuckles McGinty. More predictably, once imprisoned - in a grim Victorian fortress of a jail - he still manages to exert his trademark charm on all around him.
Emily Yoshida, Vulture: "The new Paddington follows the template of the first nearly to the minute, but manages to inject even more fun, freewheeling energy into each beat". There are slapstick hijinks and silly scenarios aplenty, but at its heart "Paddington 2" has something serious to say about making the world a better place through daily acts of kindness. There's no better time for a movie so dedicated to that simple and handsome theme, and few that can express it so well.
Paddington 2 is a delightful sequel that brings the Peruvian bear with a soft spot for marmalade sandwiches back to the big screen, with director Paul King once again calling the shots. At its basic level, it's just Paddington getting into mischief and being nice to everyone, and yet it's unbelievable how far that goes thanks to the film's wit and King's vibrant direction that comes off like Wes Anderson for kids.
Paddington 2 is nothing short of adorable! It's a attractive film, family-friendly or otherwise, that is not to be missed by anyone who enjoys joy.