Culture&Arts

Paddington 2 is a warm and fuzzy joy

Paddington 2 is a warm and fuzzy joy

This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who saw Paddington. To get in the mood for more bear-ish mischief, check out the featurette above.

The storyline is funnier, more engaging, and even more heartwarming, if that were possible. Paddington, whimsically voiced by Ben Whishaw, is now practically family with his guardians, the Browns (Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville as the artistic mom and square dad, Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin as their inquisitive journalist daughter and railroad engineering prodigy son), who appear live-action.

It's not just the Browns who have accepted and benefitted from his presence. It's the woman who gives Paddington a ride on her bicycle in exchange for a marmalade sandwich. While searching for the flawless present for his beloved Aunt Lucy's hundredth birthday, Paddington spots a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber's antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it.

After their visit from the explorer from England, Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) and Uncle Pastuzo (Michael Gambon) are planning their trip to London. There's something special about that pop-up book indeed, so much so that someone is moved to steal it from Mr. Gruber's.

As far as sequels go, this one doesn't get anywhere that we would particularly like to go.

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You know a movie knows what it's doing when it casts Brendan Gleeson as a surly prison chef named Knuckles McGinty. But those baddies do what they're supposed to do, which is allow Paddington's commitment to decency, thoughtfulness and impeccable manners win the day under any circumstances. To Paddington and Paddington 2, there is no difference. Brown adds just the right hint of the fantastical to the action, while Grant's diabolical Phoenix Buchanan delights in a final, scene-stealing production number.

Bilge Ebiri, Miami New Times: "Aside from being a disarming, refreshing wallow in kindness, Paddington 2 also has the benefit of being well-constructed and exceedingly well-performed".

In one memorable sequence, a London pop-up book comes to life. Let us know what you think. They play with the paper pigeons in Trafalgar Square and jump onto a double-decker bus that looks as if it has been colored with crayon. One advisory. If you haven't seen Paddington in its 2015 theatrical release or recent life online (it's now a featured title on Netflix), you're not ready for the second chapter. Rather than falling into the sequel trap of retreading the character development of the original, Paddington 2 builds on the familial bond forged in the first film. Family means no one gets left behind. Not even the reigning champs of PG cinema could resist the temptation to simply rehash old characters and plotlines and coast by on good vibes. Though I doubt anyone will remain amused for too long with the strained attempts to alchemize animation tropes into a full fledged feature films.

If you're caught up on season two of "The Grand Tour" (Clarkson's follow-up to "Top Gear", with fellow hosts Richard Hammond and James May), Hugh Bonneville guested on the Christmas episode. Brown is having a midlife crisis; Sally Hawkins's warm Mrs. Ben Miller plays Colonel Lancaster, a stoic neighborhood man who suffers from depression. Paddington 2 leans a little heavily on its simplistic message: There's good in everyone. But part of "Paddington 2's" appeal is this very simplicity, its earnest desire to be a fun and easily digestible outing for the whole family. Vibrant and kind, it imagines a better world for all of us.

Emily Yoshida, Vulture: "The new Paddington follows the template of the first nearly to the minute, but manages to inject even more fun, freewheeling energy into each beat". May this franchise go on forever.


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