Paddington

I really like the Paddington books – they’re a staple element of childhood – so I was unsure whether the new film would do them justice. I hoped for something like a cartoon animation of the best moments from the series: Paddington and the dentist; Paddington and the psychiatrist; Paddington does Mr Curry’s gardening; Paddington and the shopping trip; etc.

The film was not at all like that; but it was great fun! It’s more satirical and realistic than the books, giving a detailed background to Paddington’s appearance in London, and presenting the Browns as much more suspicious of a strange, talking bear than they are in Michael Bond’s world. The film is also set in present-day London, which, perhaps surprisingly, mostly works quite well. It contributes to the kind of humour adults can appreciate too, in lightly mocking current English society.

I wasn’t a fan of the villain sub-plot, although I can see that the Cruella De Vil element is perhaps necessary to make the film gripping enough to appeal to children. I also found elements of the modern setting rather irritating, chiefly (the classically teenage) Judy’s interactions with her mother. At points, too, being a children’s film of a Disney-esque variety, it was a touch too saccharine. However, overall, the film is laugh-out-loud funny. Indeed, at points I was crying with laughter! It also gives glimpses into the tragedy of life in modern Western cities, such as the first scene at Paddington station.

If you like children’s films (especially Disney), and like innocent-hearted comedy, I’d recommend going to see Paddington. I don’t find much comedy funny (unlike real life!), but some of this was irresistibly so. This trailer captures the brand of humour in the film (and summarises several of my favourite scenes), so it’s a good test for whether you’d enjoy it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFuzMlfZGWM

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