|Paddington is a wonderful little film.|
Directed by Paul King
Produced by David Heyman
Written by Paul King and Hamish McColl
Starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Nicole Kidman, and Ben Whishaw
The lovable bear of the children's literary world comes to the big screen in this charming family film. Deep in the jungle of Darkest Peru, Paddington (Whishaw) is raised by his aunt and uncle, who were visited by a British geographer in the past. A natural disaster soon strikes, forcing Paddington to relocate on his own to London, where he seeks to reunite with the famed geographer. Arriving in the big city, he is quickly taken in by the Brown family, at Mrs. Brown's (Hawkins) insistence and against Mr. Brown's (Bonneville) better judgment, and Paddington soon becomes part of the family. But a ruthless taxidermist (Kidman) is looking for a specimen of his kind. This could spell trouble for the bear, whose new family must fight to save him from being stuffed. In the end, this crisis just might bring them all closer together.
Books can be tricky to adapt to film, particularly children's ones. However, this adaptation is a delight for all ages. It's clever, funny, and endearing. There are inside jokes for adults, physical comedy gags for kids, and plenty of laughs and smiles for both. The below-the-line work is really incredible, with stunning visual effects used on the bear, gorgeous production design, and vibrant costumes. In addition, the casting is pretty spectacular, and in a totally unexpected way. Ben Whishaw is not an obvious choice to voice the beloved bear, but he's absolutely brilliant in the role. No other person seems fit for the part. The Browns, especially Bonneville and Hawkins, are well-cast, and the small appearances by British veterans are all part of the fun. On the whole, this a very effective little film, and it works on so many levels. Kids will like it, adults will like it. I know I did.
Oscar Tally: None (sadly)