Diesen Monat gibt es zwei Filmbesprechungen, weil ich es im April irgendwie total verpeilt habe. Wie immer auf Englisch. Meine weiteren Ausführungen finden sich, wie gewohnt, auf Deutsch unter der Weiterlesen-Linie.
The film I am talking about today is Paddington 2. It was suggested by Dolby, and as she is the only one who has also written a review on it, you can find her review here. I am going to give a short overview of the film and some of my opinions and will then proceed to touch on some of the discussion points Dolby suggested in April. The first half of the review is spoiler-free, although when I start discussing some points Dolby mentioned (pointed out in the text), I will get spoilery.
Paddington 2 is about, you guessed it, the little bear called Paddington Brown. I have seen Paddington 2 for the first time, and have never fully seen the first movie (although I remember bits and pieces of it) which is not a problem. The film can easily be watched and understood on its own. Paddington lives with the Brown family in London and wants to get a birthday present for his aunt Lucy, the bear that saved Paddington’s life as a cub and lives, if I recall correctly, somewhere in South America. Paddington finds a suitable book in an antiquarian shop on the corner, which is way too expensive for him. So he sets off to earn a living to buy the book, and is then framed for stealing the book. With that event, the chase is on to find the real thief and clear Paddington’s name.
It’s a children’s movie and the stakes aren’t too high. Nevertheless, the movie is very well set up. Every character has a purpose and every plotpoint leads to something and is later solved. This also leads to some very nice inside jokes. Overall, I’d say the movie is very cute and funny. Paddington as a character is just kind and lovely, very honest and trusting. It gets him into trouble sometimes, but it also usually gets him out of trouble. It was nice to see such a kind and trusting main character whose only flaw seems to be to put too much trust in people.
I very much liked the red sock incident and Jonathan finding his way back to himself. I don’t know very much about animation, but for my taste, the animation was great. Paddington is always the same cute and looks relatable. The anatgonist is a very good one: you can spot him from hundred miles away and he is very unlikeable.
Let me touch on some of the things Dolby pointed out for discussion. As this is a review, I will discuss those points by myself, but feel welcome to comment on them.
One thing I already mentioned is the setups and payoffs during the movie. This is something I really liked about the movie because from a writing perspective, it is very well done. Every character has a talent or interest that comes in handy later on. Mary wants to swim from England to France which later enables her to save Paddington from drowning. Henry used to be a good thrower (but is in a mid-life crisis right now and doesn’t believe in himself anymore), and it later enables him to take out the bad guy. Jonathan likes steam trains (which is totally uncool), and it enables him to drive one (!!!) and save the day. Judy found an old printing press to make her own newspaper which enables her to print important information concerning the real thief and Paddington’s innocence. It was overall very well done, and also cute because there were hints throughout the film towards these incidents and their potential and they all paid off. It was honestly a joy to watch it.
Okay, let’s talk about the animation for a second longer although I am no expert. I’d say it was mainly Paddington who was animated. And then there was the book he wanted to buy for his aunt. It was a pop-up book (I love those!), and I think the film did a brilliant job with the book. When Paddington imagined giving the book to his aunt, the film takes the viewer into the book and puts Paddington and Lucy into it and animates them. I thought those parts were very endearing and I liked them very much. It mainly makes Paddington’s imagination and his joy more vivid.
One last thing I liked was how everyone got together in the end for Paddington. It was not only the Browns, but the whole neighbourhood (very cute small setups and payoffs) and Paddington’s prison mates. Very different people who came together to help the little bear. And the reason? Because Paddington was kind to all of them and brightened their days through very small acts of kindness. I think it’s a very good example on how you can build community through kindness, and how this community will eventually come together for one of their own. I very much appreciated that.
I think that’s all I have to say about the film for now. I liked it, but I don’t think I would watch it again, so I give it 3 stars.