A reboot of Paddington back in 2014 was unexpected and its success seemed shaky when Colin Firth who was to play the voice of the bear decided to withdraw from the film. In many ways it was a blessing in disguise when Ben Whishaw took over. His mellifluous honey sweet tones are ideally suited to the amiable bear. The film was a huge success especially in the USA so a sequel was quickly green lit.
It’s a credit to writers Paul King who co-wrote the original and Simon Farnaby that their sequel is perhaps even better. Farnaby was also behind the comedy magic of Mindhorn one of last year’s best comedies and brings the surreal humour to the sequel. Perhaps more importantly it’s a testament to the light comedy genius of Hugh Grant playing a foppishly vain faded actor, the villainous Phoenix Buchanan, who all but steals the film effortlessly outshining the rest of the cast with ease. If anything that is one of the faults of the film in that the recently Oscar nominated Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Hugh Bonneville w (Viceroy’s House) – ( who you can see introduce the film on the AnyGoodFilms YouTube channel) and especially Julie Walters are barely given a look in. That said there is a plethora of famous faces from the British acting fraternity that includes Sanjev Bhaskar, Ben Miller, Jessica Hynes, Jim Broadbent, Tom Conti, Peter Capaldi, Eileen Atkins and a funny cameo from Simon Farnaby who kids will know from the excellent TV series Horrible Histories.
The much-anticipated sequel to the worldwide hit family film finds Paddington happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington spots a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief…
Certainly one of last year’s best family films the dvd / blu ray release is almost as much of a treat. A Directors Commentary with director Paul King is entertaining with some interesting insights into making the film although he can’t resist some pointed comments about Paddington’s immigration status with regard to Brexit. A brief featurette about the making of the film and its challenges is a little bit middle of the road which focuses mainly on the animating of Paddington within the film it still has enough in it to maintain interest for tweenies keen to know how it was all done.
Added to this is a BAFTA Q&A with the incredibly prolific producer David Heyman (Fantastic Beasts, Harry Potter films) Paul King, Simon Farnaby, Hugh Grant and effects man Pablo Grillo.(You can also read our interview with Visual Effects Supervisor, Glen Pratt here). It’s Hugh Grant and Simon Farnaby who shine here with Grant denigrating himself as an actor. He’s unnecessarily self deprecating about himself in the film as once again it proves what a superb light comedy actor he is as seen with his unjustly ignored performance in Florence Foster Jenkins proving that the Oscars overlook many of the best performances in comedy dramas. Topping all of this is ‘Rain on the Roof’ song and dance number in its entirety as seen in the end credits of the film which is a little bit of a filler but decent nonetheless.
This was an unusually superior sequel (and the original film was very good anyway) and has done well making $217m worldwide to date and hopefully will prompt a third film.
A highly enjoyable family film which doesn’t outstay its welcome and though it perhaps could have done with a few more extras its likely this won’t leave your player with it continuously being rewatched.
*****FIVE FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT PADDINGTON 2*****
- The author of the Paddington books Michael Bond died six months before the film was released and never got to see the completed film.
- Paddington’s travel through the cogs of ahuge lock was influenced by a similar sequence in the Charlie Chaplin film Modern Times.
- A poster for Paddington 2 can be seen in the train station in The Commuter.
- Writer Simon Farnaby has a different film in both the first and second Paddington film.
- ……um….it was a sequel……um…to Paddington…..(‘You’re fired!‘ – Ed)
Certificate PG – Running Time 103minutes
Here’s the trailer…….