Paddington Bear is a familiar character to many generations. He has appeared in books, as plush toys, as comic strips on stamps and even on the Google home page. The story of Paddington Bear has been told many times in print but this is the first Paddington feature film, and it’s a winner.
The adorable bear starts his adventures in the deep Peruvian jungle and travels to London, with plenty of marmalade in search of an explorer who once befriended his aunt and uncle. In the story familiar to us all the bear arrives and sits in Paddington railway station with a sign around his neck requesting that someone ‘please look after this bear’.
Finding a new home is not as easy as Paddington first thought and he is given a temporary place to stay by the Brown family. The most laughs in this film centre around Paddington trying, rather awkwardly, to fit into the Brown household and there are plenty of jokes and visual humour for both adults and children to enjoy.
The animation is terrific and has been produced using computer generated imagery by Framestore and animatronics by Nick Dudman. It’s all very convincing and often quite easy to forget that the bear is not actually real.
Paddington features Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Samuel Joslin and Madeleine Harris as the Brown family whose highly organised lives are turned upside down by the accident-prone bear.
Nicole Kidman is deliciously evil as Millicent who wants to capture and stuff poor Paddington, and she is well supported by Peter Capaldi as Mr Curry. Director Paul King has kept the villains soft enough and the comedy clean enough for even very young children, making this film suitable for just about everyone.
With plenty of action and comedy and an absolutely adorable bear, this is a wonderful retelling of a classic tale and is something the whole family will enjoy as a perfect holiday season outing.
Reviewed by Ceri Horner
Score of 10: 8