Swanner: Paddington 2 starts up where Paddington has settled into living with the Browns. He’s become apart of everyone’s life in the neighborhood, and all’s right with the world. With Paddington’s Aunt Lucy’s birthday approaching, Paddington wants to get her just the right gift. At Mr. Gruber’s antique store he finds a pop-up book of London. Aunt Lucy always wanted to visit London, so Paddington decides to get a job to buy the book. Unfortunately the pop-up book is stolen, the law thinks Paddington is the thief, and sends him to Jail.
Judd: Ben Whishaw returns as Paddington, and the movie is once again unfairly released in January. It’s apparent from the cast that the studio knows this will do very well across the pond, but thinks us uncultured Americans are too boorish to enjoy this charming children’s movie. There are no fart jokes or bears pooping in the woods to entertain our Southern citizens – though Padding does wash windows with his butt, so they are trying for some cross-continental humor.
Swanner: I do have to compliment Whishaw for his charming performance. We’ve talked before that Colin Firth was to have voiced Paddington originally but left the project having Whishaw his replacement. After seeing this sequel I don’t think either film would have been as good if Whishaw wasn’t attached. As you mentioned there’s a terrific all-star cast and Paul King returning as director.
Judd: The movie’s preview give most of the plot away, with Paddington dealing with prison life – which sounds much darker than the actual plot. Brendan Gleason plays Knuckles, who takes Paddington into his protection after Paddington teaches Knuckles how to make marmalade. Meanwhile, The Browns are trying to prove that “under-employed” actor, Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), is the actual thief. As in the first, the movie is sweet and endearing because it never goes silly or syrupy. It’s a movie for young children that doesn’t treat them like idiots – something most films of the genre can’t manage.
Swanner: I walked out of the film completely charmed; quite a bit like I felt watching the first films. This is what a children’s film should be like, teaching the lessons of how far you get with kindness, or how sometimes it takes a team to succeed. I hope the American film makers look at this film and see how you really can make a films that can entertain audiences of all ages.
Judd: Agreed. The first movie was a wonderful surprise, and it’s sequel is an actual shock that it it was able to match the lovely warm fuzziness of the first. As long as Paddington stays in London, and doesn’t yearn to have his manners ruined by the Yanks, I’m looking forward to any future adventures of the young bear cub.
Swanner: 3 ½ Stars
Judd: 3 ½ stars