Not So Christmas 2: Paddington (2014) Review

Time for something a little more cheery than a murderous barber!

Paddington is a live action comedy film based on the Paddington Bear Character who was originally created by Michael Bond.

The original stories involve Paddington being a polite young bear trying to live a life in London and learning lessons while always having the best manners, in the stories he is living as an adopted son to the Brown family who give him the name Paddington Brown as his bear name is too difficult to pronounce, the 2014 film adaptation uses this story as its premise and expands upon it.

The movie opens with a family of bears in Darkest Peru, they live on a diet consisting of only Marmalade after an explorer gave them some during a visit.

This explorer told the bears that they would always be welcome in London if they were to ever visit and this message is remembered by Aunt Lucy who sends Paddington to London after their rainforest home is destroyed and his uncle is killed.

While Paddington stows away to London, Aunt Lucy chooses to live in the home for retired bears as she is too old to go along on the trip.

Similarly to the original story’s in the movie Paddington is adopted at the train station by the Brown family however there are some major differences to the characters helping to give them more personality.

Without including Paddington there are 5 members of Brown household, Mr Brown an overprotective and anxious father, Mrs Brown a very caring and nurturing woman, Jonathan Brown a young boy with a love of science and space, Judith Brown a teenage girl with an attitude and is easily embarrassed, finally there is Mrs Bird an elderly relative who lives with the Browns as a housekeeper.

The three adult family members are really great in this, the two younger actors do a good job as well but they are not very memorable compared to Mrs Bird and the two parents of the Browns house.

Mrs Bird portrayed by Julie Walters is great in this and is played as a very caring but over protective nanny, she is a bit of a bad ass and doesn’t take crap off of anyone.

My favourite performance in the movie though was a tough choice between Hugh Bonneville as Mr Brown and Sally Hawkins as Mrs Brown but I think Sally takes the cake for me.

She really does a grand job of portraying the character and has quite the important role in the film as she is the one who really fights to keep helping Paddington to find the explorer who will give him a home, this gives her character a little bit more screen time than the rest, Mr Brown also has his own scene which is very funny but I did prefer the more serious scene we had with Mrs Brown in the antique shop.

Scarlet Johansson plays the role of the films villain and quite the nasty character she is too, she is obsessed with taxidermy animals and goes as far as murdering endangered species if she needs too, she wants to add Paddington to the collection for personal reasons (which I wont go into as it would ruin the films twist), during this scene we see a vison of a dead Paddington posing on a tree which is a quite a horrifying sight and probably what gave the film its PG 13 rating.

The film is very funny and uses innocent humour that is not played for huge laughs but its the perfect timing that makes the jokes work so well, the hard stare is a classic and re-used in the sequel but probably my personal favourite comedy moment is the flashback to when Mr Brown used to be a free spirit and cool biker and was changed into the worrying dad the literal second his first child was born, its pretty silly humour but it works very well in this.

I think to me Paddington feels like a holiday film because of how innocent and sweet the story is, it reminds me of Christmas movies not necessarily in its theme but how it feels, it definitely has a slightly magical and whimsical feel to it and I always seem to stick it on around this time of the year.

Paddington is a wonderful movie and my favourite adaptation of the original storybooks, I think for a adaptation this is a great example of how to do it correctly because a lot of the time adapting something to screen fails to capture the same vibes as the original, however Director Paul King and the cast did a phenomenal job of bringing the Marmalade loving bear to life and sticking so closely to the original source material with only a few new additions being added on.

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