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Paddington 2

February 24, 2019

Paddington 2 (2017)
Director: Paul King
Actors: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville

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Synopsis: Paddington (Ben Whishaw) gets into trouble when he’s wrongly imprisoned for appearing to steal a pop-up book about London for his aunt. The Brown family set about proving Paddington’s innocence while also uncovering the true perpetrator of the crime.

Review: Watching Paddington 2 is such a boon. It’s an oasis of gentility and niceness amid a world (and cinematic landscape) of increasing cynicism and narcissism, and, in its simpler guise as a form of populist entertainment, it’s an absolute 104-minute smile generator.

My criticism of some of the Pixaresque, part-animated and part-live action fare from across the pond, is that it’s almost always too clever and industrial. Paddington 2, however, has all that skill and proficiency, but its rhetoric is kind of perfect. Not a minute goes by without some intelligent flourish of animated craft, though it’s never technique for technique’s sake, but always serves to out the story’s general air of bonhomie – a word which is wittily spoofed in the film.

Two of the loveliest montages that are testament to all that is laudable about Paddington 2 are the sequence in prison where the hardened inmates have been inspired to turn the canteen into a fancy restaurant of gastronomic concoctions by Paddington, and a later scene where Paddington lets out a tear in his solitary cell, only for that tear to transport Paddington into a dream-world where he’s back in the Peruvian jungle and able to embrace his longed-for aunt. (February 2019)

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