Are you looking for family wholesome, remarkable, and heartwarming filmmaking? Look no further than Paul King’s “Paddington 2.” A genuine children's film that is entertaining beyond the point of a demographic in which our protagonist Paddington (Ben Whishaw) finds himself as a popular member of the community he resides in with his loving family, the Browns. He desires to give his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) the perfect gift for her 100th birthday, but the one gift he has his eyes on ends up being stolen, with the only suspect to be found is Paddington himself (Ben Whishaw).
“Paddington 2” is the much-anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed and box office hit “Paddington.” With a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a $268,047,808 gross at the box office on a $55 million budget, “Paddington” was the children’s film that we didn’t know we needed, but the kid's movie we deserved, and the sequel is even better.
What the “Paddington” franchise does so well, is the filmmakers and cast behind these stories know how to treat their audience in both a fun and intelligent fashion. “Paddington 2” takes that ideology and extends it to points of sheer genius. The filmmaking on display and the genuinely masterful ideas behind the family-friendly slapstick comedy is some of the most entertaining family-friendly content in years. Technically speaking, the visual effects are nothing short of sensational. Every hair of Paddington’s (Ben Whishaw) fur is accounted for, the blend between him and his backgrounds is seamless, and the movements of the character are tangible. The CGI work behind Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is nothing short of perfection, and it allows for the audience to feel as if Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is a tangible being that makes it seem as if we could jump into the screen and join him along his journey.
Ben Whishaw has to be at the center of that praise though, because, while the visuals are outstanding, Ben Whishaw is the man that brings Paddington (Ben Whishaw) to life. The timing and gentle quality to be found in his voice allow for an authentic dose of a heartfelt essence to the character. I merely desired to shake his hand and join him for a cup of tea, or better yet, a marmalade sandwich. But, Ben is not the only one having a ton of fun here, as the audience did in my sold out theater viewing. Brendan Gleeson is having a ravishing time as well in depicting the character of Knuckles (Brendan Gleeson).
A mean old prison cook, who continually makes the same bowl of grumpy soup for the inmates that seems to be the cause for all of their grumpiness. After Paddington (Ben Whishaw) teaches him the recipe for a marmalade sandwich, mean old knuckles (Brendan Gleeson) melts into a gleeful baker who learns that love can be produced from good food. The delicious food made by these two friendly chefs leads to a comical sequence of watching a bunch of hard-nosed prisoners decorate their prison with bright rainbow colors and flowers to celebrate their tasty pastries. The simple and obvious humor made by the screenwriters portrays itself as pure genius, despite the familiarity to be found in this old-fashioned, slapstick, three stooges kind of humor.
The entire cast of the family returns for some good fun as well, with Sally Hawkins becoming a stand out once again, but Hugh Grant is the loveable villain of the film that overshadows are the previous villain with his loveable weirdness. There is a dose of maturity added to his character with that of self-reflection becoming the real enemy of a man who desperately desires to be back on stage. He’s a talented actor that is having such pleasure in partaking in this story, and it shows as the rest of the cast does as no matter if they're depicting a villain or a hero, they are having a blast in creating this incredible family film.
Paul King’s “Paddington 2” adds another remarkable chapter to the little bear of London's story. The freshness of the story has worn off a bit, and the story can become a bit too cartoonish at times for my taste, but the narrative maintains enough focus and integrity to its character that it’s hard to not seep into its loveable essence. The cleverness to be found in their references to classic films like “Modern Times” cannot go unnoticed, and the filmmaker's ability to provide a dose of maturity with that of some wholesome family fun is nothing short of extraordinary.
“Paddington 2” currently sits at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes with 144 reviews, and that trend will continue as this is a film constructed with the heart of a filmmaker desiring to teach children some important messages with the power of laughter. A key and fundamental essence of any children’s film that Pixar Studios and Paul King seem to be the only ones aware of. For those who are curious as to what I would score “Paddington 2’s” predecessor, I would probably give it an equivalent score to its sequel, because “Paddington 2” is no masterpiece, but its a scrumptious bit of fun.