This hugely-anticipated sequel to the popular family adventure is even better than the original, and that’s saying something! Paddington 2 works exceptionally hard to make sure it’s not just retreading on old ground. Director Paul King returns and brings with him new energy and purpose wrapped up cosily in the familiar warmth that surrounded the first Paddington movie. Mindhorn’s Simon Farnaby along with Paul King and Jon Croker have written a classic, and done real justice to the late Michael Bond’s beloved creation, delivering a film he would be supremely proud of.
We join everyone’s favourite bear (once again voiced by Spectre’s Ben Whishaw) as Paddington is looking for the perfect gift for his Aunt’s upcoming 100th birthday. He finds a wonderful pop-up book of London but when it’s stolen from Mr. Gruber’s shop, he is framed for robbery and thrown into prison where he meets some colourful characters, including a prison cook with anger management issues (Brendan Gleeson – Hampstead).
Determined to clear his good name, the Brown family – Dad Henry (Hugh Bonneville – Viceroy’s House), Mum Mary (Sally Hawkins – X+Y), the kids Judy & Jonathan (Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin) and Mrs. Bird (Julie Walters) team up with the local neighbourhood to find out the real culprit of the theft, the nefarious actor Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins).
Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins are brilliant as usual, especially in a hilarious flashback to when they first dated (soundtracked to perfection by Boney M’s ‘Daddy Cool’). There’s rich support from Brit treasures like Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters and Jessica Hynes but it’s Hugh Grant that steals the show as the chameleon-like Phoenix Buchanan, donning on lots of weird and wonderful disguises throughout the film.
With an ensemble like this, the comedy just flows effortlessly. Packaged in a gorgeous-looking film that plays to its quirks, there isn’t a downside to Paddington’s second big screen adventure. It’s a cliché but it really does have something for the whole family to enjoy, from its wonderful visual style to its naturally funny belly-laughs and whole-hearted sentiment.
Extras on the Blu-ray include a Director’s Commentary, ‘Rain on the Roof’ with Phoenix Buchanan, Paddington 2: The Challenge of Making the Film featurette and a BAFTA Q&A with David Heyman, Paul King, Simon Farnaby, Hugh Grant and Pablo Grillo.
Paddington 2 is just the tonic you need during these winter months. It’s an endlessly watchable family classic with marmalade jars full of seasonal fun and frolics. In these dreary, uncertain times it’s so refreshing to get a family adventure that ticks all of the boxes. And any movie that can make London look so magical on-screen is always worth its weight in gold. Paddington 2 is simply unmissable and without doubt one of the finest films you’ll see all year.
Cast: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Jessica Hynes, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Joanna Lumley, Peter Capaldi, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Ben Miller, Claire Keelan, Meera Syal, Tom Conti, Robbie Gee, Sanjeev Bhaskar Director: Paul King Writer: Paul King, Simon Farnaby, Jon Croker Released By: Studiocanal Certificate: PG Duration: 103 mins Release Date: 12th March 2018