Paddington 2: This Time It’s Personal… no, that was Jaws IV: The Revenge, but both feature individuals who are little alien in their respective environments because they’re getting hassled by ‘the man’.
There’s a complex plot about how Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday is coming up, and the little bear cub decides he should get her a present, the ideal one being a particular pop-up book he comes across. In keeping with my favourite Sorry I’ve Got No Head sketch, when it comes to the price of the book, I don’t think you’d get much change from… ooh, a thousand pounds! Paddington then decides a number of summer jobs will help fund this. I’d love to know what hourly rate he was charging, since he almost gets there. Perhaps it had London-weighting?
When Aunt Lucy arrives, there are certainly some glorious vistas as the picture pays homage to Michael Bond’s original cartoons with everyone other than the bear and Aunt Lucy portrayed as thin, paper, static characters.
As for the film, it does feel like little more than a series of set pieces, such as the barber shop, the window cleaning sketch, chasing after the thief, etc, plus lots of cast members are brought in for very underused roles, such as the grumpy Ben Miller, and newspaper seller Jessica Hynes, who forgets to take any money for Paddington’s paper. Perhaps he’s running up a tab, who knows… this isn’t explained. You could, in fact, say these characters were paper thin like the characters were in Michael Bond‘s original cartoons… (no, you shut up)
Young kids will really enjoy it since it’s really aimed at them, while those who were young at the time of the original and have since aged a bit might be like Jonathan Brown and find it “not cool”. I did think the first Paddington was good, but felt there wasn’t really any need for a sequel, although I knew that in the age of Hollywood’s bean counters, if they have a success, they’ll milk it for at least a trilogy.
It hammers home an anti-immigration message (from Peter Capaldi as Mr Curry, who wasn’t really ‘comedy nasty’, but came across more as just ‘nasty’), as well as promoting the assisting of a criminal. Okay, those might seem quite a stretch as it’s meant to be a fantasy and not reality, but as well as hoping for a bit of believability in what I was watching, it was the overabundance of CGI which meant that Paddington 2 lost me early on and didn’t really get me back. At times, it got quite ropey, especially a scene of someone casually walking along the top of a speeding train(!)
A resolution, late on, also stretched credibility so much that I could hear the Earth crack. I’ll explain that in the spoiler segment below. However, given how fanciful Paddington 2 becomes, I expect 2020 will see the bear return in Paddington 3, going into space and/or travelling through time, no doubt bringing Uncle Pastuzo back to life so Michael Gambon doesn’t have to suffer the indignity of being relegated to a flashback scene. Or, perhaps, Paddington will join The Avengers.
There’s also a mid-credits scene which would’ve been best served shown fullscreen rather than stuck to the side, windowboxed. Even on a 50″ TV, it’s quite small. I’ll add that in the spoiler.
However, as an adult male, I haven’t got a complete heart of stone, and I did laugh a few times, although when it came to all the sight gags, you can tell what’s going to happen a mile off.
The rest of the cast relies on old stalwarts like Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent topping up their pension. Brendan Gleeson and Hugh Grant are quite entertaining, though, and it’s nice to see April from Peep Show again, aka Catherine Shepherd, albeit briefly.
The film is presented in the theatrical 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and in 1080p high definition and for a Blu-ray of a modern film, you’d be surprised if the picture wasn’t spot-on, but then all the cast were shot on digital cameras and everything else was CGI aplenty, so it’s going to make the best of the bright daytime scenes, in particular.
The sound is in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (and 7.1 Dolby Atmos, if you have enough speakers), and everything in Paddington’s world zooms about in all directions with the soundscape following accordingly, along with a pleasing score.
The extras are as follows:
- Paddington 2: The Challenges of making the film (4:24): Animation director Pablo Grillo talks through the pre-viz shots and turning them into the main feature, but this is rather too short. As for the total amount of man-hours spent rendering Paddington’s CGI effects? I know I said there’d be a lot… it’s 75 years! As a bonus extra, you can see this below!
- Phoenix Buchanan – Rain On The Roof (1:31): The mid-credits scene which I said should be fullscreen? Well, here it is 🙂
- BAFTA Q&A (34:03): with David Heyman, Paul King, Simon Farnaby, Hugh Grant and Pablo Grillo, answering questions aplenty, and the first they address is the fact this film strays quite far from the original stories. I did enjoy this Q&A a fair bit more than the film!
- Audio description: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
- Audio commentary: from director Paul King.
The menu features clips from the film set to a brief piece of the theme, subtitles are in English only and chapters are the usual lacklustre 12. There are also trailers before the main menu for films I won’t name since they should be in the extras menu, as well as a mobile phone game which, for the same reason, I normally wouldn’t mention, but I will because I can’t really recommend it – Paddington Run. You know Temple Run? Yep, it’s that.
Running time: 104 minutes
Released: March 12th 2018
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: 7.1 Dolby Atmos, 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Paul King
Producer: David Heyman
Screenplay: Paul King (based on a story by Hamish McColl and Paul King, based on the character, Paddington Bear, created by Michael Bond)
Music: Nick Urata
Paddington (voice): Ben Whishaw
Henry Brown: Hugh Bonneville
Mary Brown: Sally Hawkins
Phoenix Buchanan: Hugh Grant
Knuckles McGinty: Brendan Gleeson
Judy Brown: Madeleine Harris
Jonathan Brown: Samuel Joslin
Mrs Bird: Julie Walters
Mr Curry: Peter Capaldi
Uncle Pastuzo (voice): Michael Gambon
Aunt Lucy (voice): Imelda Staunton
Mr Gruber: Jim Broadbent
Mademoiselle Dubois: Marie-France Alvarez
Dr. Jafri: Sanjeev Bhaskar
Colonel Lancaster: Ben Miller
Miss Kitts: Jessica Hynes
Mr. Barnes: Robbie Gee
Steve Visby: Alex Jordan
Mr. Giuseppe: Enzo Squillino Jr
Judge Gerald Biggleswade: Tom Conti
Nelson: Sam Payne
Nelson’s Mother: Catherine Shepherd
T-Bone: Tom Davis
Phibs: Noah Taylor
Spoon: Aaron Neil
Famer Jack: Nicholas Lumley
Charley Rumble: Virgile Elana
The Professor: Jamie Demetriou
Madame Kozlova: Dame Eileen Atkins
The First Madame Kozlova: Jennie Legat
Barry the Security Guard: Simon Farnaby
Second St Paul’s Guard: Dan Antopolski
Jimmy the Snitch: Robert Stevenson
Squeaky Pete: Geoff Banks
Double Bass Bob: Emeson Nwolie
Mad Dog: Deepak Anand
Johnny Cashpoint: Stephen McDade
Sir Geoffrey Wilcott: Cal McCrystal
Felicity Fanshaw: Joanna Lumley
Postman: Joel Fry
Dozy Policeman: Justin Edwards
Felicity Fanshawe’s Assistant: Kya Garwood
Steward: David Sant
Gertrude Biggleswade: Maggie Steed
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.