Nothing but fuzzy feelings in ‘Paddington 2‘

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, February 14th, 2018 at 7:10 PM
Nothing but fuzzy feelings in ‘Paddington 2‘ by Hannah McDonald

Whoever said adults cannot enjoy children’s movies was a blatant liar and clearly had not experienced “Paddington 2,” the adventurous sequel about London’s most beloved bear. The PG fantasy film is full of life, laughs and situations only Paddington Bear would get himself into. 

On this journey, Paddington is caught in a stickier-than-marmalade situation while trying to buy the perfect gift for Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday. The heartwarming storyline has some ups and downs that are sure to poke at your soft sides while Paddington bumbles on through life. 

With a quick, “Jungle Book”-esque, flashback to give those who may not have seen the first film some context for the characters, the film was off to a strong start. From the beginning, the animation was flawless and intriguing. In many cases, one could not tell real footage from the computer-generated characters and scenes. 

The Hollywood Reporter described “Paddington 2” as “a work of art built up from thousands of tiny, thoughtful details.” From the dirty rip on Paddington’s red hat and the ruffled fur hiding under it, to his iconic criminal chase on the back of Wolfy, a neighborhood stray, this observation rings perfectly true. 

It was fine luck that this specific showing of “Paddington 2” was held in an empty theater; there were no expectations of when and where to laugh. Instead, one could laugh out loud at, not just some, but all the quirky, heart-crushingly adorable parts of the story.

The themes of love and family guide our plot and keep our little bear grounded. Sally Hawkins, recently seen in “The Shape of Water,” plays Mary Brown, the mother in the household Paddington has been adopted into. Her appearance is memorable, colorful and as wacky as Molly Brown’s hair, but nothing compares to the casting of Hugh Grant. 

Known for his roles in “Love Actually,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and “Notting Hill,” Grant puts on a show in “Paddington 2.” His diverse range is utilized as he plays Phoenix Buchanan, an eccentric actor past his prime, stuck in a life of faux-wealth and dog food commercials.

British writer and director Paul King clearly took inspiration from famed American aesthetic mastermind Wes Anderson. And whereas it could have appeared as ripping off Anderson’s iconic style, King keeps it to pure inspiration, only adding to the storybook type feel that floated Paddington along. 

The playful character design — each neighbor and family member with their own unique mini-story — and music pulls the story. The percussion heavy soundtrack is reminiscent of a sunny “Birdman” soundscape. 

All components combined, “Paddington 2” is just shy of magical. Throughout the entire movie, smiles were brought to faces and this viewer was fixed on the beloved protagonist. Without revealing too many spoilers it’s hard to note memorable scenes, but there is no doubt that one will leave the theater with a personal favorite that brings a chuckle when it crosses his or her mind, even days later. 

Hannah McDonald can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: film review

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