Paddington - Online Review

'Paddington is not a terrible marauder of childhood pleasures, nor the best thing since sliced bread (with marmalade in between), rather, inevitably, it is somewhere in between'

From the #CreepyPaddington debacle to near-universal acclaim and an incredible box office, it is difficult to think of a film that has run the gamut of reactions more completely in recent years than Paddington. Perhaps it is no surprise therefore to find that Paddington is not a terrible marauder of childhood pleasures, nor the best thing since sliced bread (with marmalade in between), rather, inevitably, it is somewhere in between.

Notably produced by Harry Potter honcho David Heyman, Paddington stands apart from that franchise due to its lack of creativity and its skewed, child-friendly age appeal. Whilst youngsters will lap this up, there is little here for the teen market, nor for those a little bit older. There's nothing wrong with playing very young, but Paddington fails to tread the line the Potter series did so successfully and the simple bear sometimes comes across as annoyingly cute. He's also stuck in a mundane plot, reliant on Nicole Kidman's villain becoming increasingly dastardly.

Happily, it's certainly not a total loss. Set pieces in the Brown household bathroom and, later, The Natural History Museum work really well and the script often has moments of lovely humour. It doesn't have the rib-tickling amount of laughs it should, but that doesn't stop Paddington (voiced well by Ben Whishaw) using two toothbrushes as ear cleaners being funny. Hugh Bonneville is granted the best lines whilst Sally Hawkins is left rather in the straight role, something she does brilliantly.

Director Paul King also dispenses with a lot of the emotion early doors, at least leaving you in no doubt of all of the character's investment come the conclusion. The payoff though is that that very conclusion feels a little flat; an inevitable happy ever after moment, with even bits of the villain's inevitable downfall rendered slightly obsolete and reliant on Julie Walters getting drunk to work.

It's entirely pleasant, occasionally anonymous stuff, with little to no evidence of the occasionally tortured production history (which saw Colin Firth have a 'conscious uncoupling'), nor of a level of aspiration that would have taken this further.




Paddington was playing on Blinkbox.


By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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