Thursday, January 15, 2015

Paddington's warmth and charm make it from paper to the silver screen

Movie:  Paddington

PG, 1 hour 35 minutes

Grade: B+

In a Nutshell: This family-friendly tale begins with an amusing background story that sets the humor and tone for the film, which is based on the popular children’s books by Michael Bond.  Paddington bear is made entirely out of CGI and successfully exudes the warmth and charm his character is known for.

It feels very British and has some of the magical wit brought to us by the producers of the hugely successful Harry Potter movies.  Its tumble-of-fun action sequences are perfect for small children. Parents will be mildly entertained too.

Uplifting Theme:

·         Families stick together…with marmalade or without.
·         Families come in all shapes and sizes.   “Mrs. Brown says that in London everyone is different, but that means anyone can fit in.” – Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw)

Things I liked:

·         I loved how Paddington literally steps into a film, entering into a new world.  That’s what movies do for me and why I love them so much.
·         Great aerial and street views of London.  I’m going there in June with the fam!  So excited!
·         I love their spiral staircase in the Brown’s home.
·         I thought Mrs. Brown, the mother, (Sally Hawkins) was very sweet and optimistic.  She turns to jelly when Mr. Brown does something heroic.  Don’t all wives want to admire their husbands for great acts of courage and kindness?
·         I love how the flowers on the painted tree mural reacted to news.
·         Millicent calls the Natural History Museum “a cathedral of knowledge.”  True.
·         Some of the transitions were pretty clever, such as the doll house view of the Brown’s home at the end.

Things I didn’t like:
·         The bathroom scene when Paddington was “freshening up” after his travels was disgusting and messy, but evoked lots of squeals of delight from the young audience members.
·         The humor is pretty juvenile, although there are some funny lines that will go over children’s heads.

Interesting tidbits:
·         The fictional train station “Westbourne Oak” is actually the Maida Vale station.  Look closely and you’ll see the name clearly written on the red tiles.

Funny lines:
·         “Embarrassing, but tasty.” – Uncle Pastuzo (voiced by Michael Gambon)
·         “A wise bear always keeps a marmalade sandwich in his hand in case of emergency.” - Uncle Pastuzo
·         Seven percent of childhood accidents start with jumping.”  - Mr. Brown
·         “Stranger danger.  Keep your eyes down.  There’s a bear over there, probably trying to sell something.” – Mr. Brown (Hugh Bonneville)
·         “Grizzly?  Not particularly.  Mind you, I haven’t seen him in the morning.” – Mr. Brown while on the phone with the insurance agency to add coverage for the bear on the first night
·         “I gave up being surprised when they came up with the microwave oven.” – Mrs. Bird
·         “That was amazing.” – Jonathan Brown (Samuel Joslin)
·         “In one hundred yards, bare left.”  - Andre the Thief looks up and sees Paddington bear on his left
·         “It’s a hard stare.  My aunt taught me to do them when people have forgotten their manners.” - Paddington

Tips for Parents:
·         The villain (Nicole Kidman as Millicent) is a woman who wants to kill and stuff Paddington to keep in a museum.
·         There is an odd, sexual innuendo interaction between Mr. Brown and the guard of the archives in the museum.

·         Mrs. Bird (Julie Walters) gets a guard drunk.
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