Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Nearly every aspect of Paddington is as charming as the internationally-adored Bear himself. Whether it is the Story, the Characters, or its fluid Adaptation, the Movie excels across-the-board as they revitalize a treasured Tale, yet still manage to capture his very essence. Children and Adults alike will find pure joy in seeing this on the Big Screen.
Paddington (Ben Whinshaw) is forced to leave his Family from Darkest Peru following a devastating earthquake. From there what begins is the adventure of a lifetime as he travels to London to arrive at his final destination, Paddington Station in search of a new Family. Trying his absolute best to be everything Explorer Montgomery Clyde (Tim Downie) taught him to be: charming, sincere, humble and polite. Paddington tries to find himself a new home and luckily for him, he catches the eye of Mrs. Brown (Sally Hawkins) who convinces her unpleasant Husband, Mr. Brown (Hugh Bonneville) to take-in Paddington at least for the night. Some mischief ensues throughout the night as the Family has conflicting opinions on welcoming the Bear for the night. Jonathan Brown (Samuel Joslin) embraces the loving Bear while his Sister, Judy Brown (Madeleine Harris) is not as thrilled at all. As time goes on, Paddington works his charm and changes the hearts of those around him, except for one Person, Millicent (Nicole Kidman) a Taxidermist whose mission is to add Paddington to her Collection.
Everything about Paddington works to complete delight. The performances overall are fantastic, led by Ben Whinshaw, who is perfect as the lovable Bear. This Voice Work truly-encapsulates the charm and whit of the beloved Character. Meanwhile, Bonneville‘s transformation from upright, foot-down and generally grumpy Mr. Brown to someone loving and caring is one of the most heart-warming things about this Film. Sally Hawkins is a perfect casting choice, giving us some of that bubbly magic we saw from her in Happy-Go-Lucky, breathing a modern lighthearted spirit into Mrs. Brown. Nicole Kidman‘s Millicent takes the Movie at moments too far into the melodrama, perhaps not the best fit for the Story’s tone and this is ever-apparent when she and the Bear are paired together in scenes.
Paddington is an International Treasure and we are proud ot say this Adaptation hits the Bullseye, leaving us smiling ear-to-ear the entire day. Fans of the Franchise will be thrilled with Director Paul King and Screenwriter Hamish McColl‘s faithfulness to the Source Material.
eOne Pictures releases Paddington on Friday, January 16, 2015.