By Miles Barber (CE ‘18)
Paddington 2 is the sequel to the delightful Paddington from a couple years back. For those unfamiliar with the classic British character, Paddington is a sentient talking bear who, after being separated from his Aunt Lucy, immigrated to London and was adopted by the Browns, an adorably dysfunctional British family.
This time, Paddington decides to get a job so that he can purchase a gorgeous pop-up book of London for his Aunt Lucy, who has never been to London but always wanted to go. Unfortunately for Paddington, another person is after the book. That person comes in the form of Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), a delightfully vain actor who, now past his prime, is determined to reclaim his fortune by stealing the pop-up book.
This film is simply a delight from start to finish. I can’t tell you how many times I smiled while watching Paddington 2. From its warm colour palette to its bright lighting, this film is such an optimistic film whose central character and surrounding family have hearts of gold. Everything that they do seems so honest and uncynical that it was incredibly refreshing, especially for a sequel.
Hugh Grant completely steals the show in a role it seems he was born to play. His vanity is personified by the dozens of pictures of Hugh Grant strategically placed all throughout his house for maximum comedic effect. He has a room full of costumes on mannequins that he talks to with various accents; it’s all comedic gold! To make things even better, his over-the-top character is perfectly in place within a story that, for all intents and purposes, is a screwball comedy with a dash of adventure.
The story may be a little too ridiculous for some, but embraces the comedy and fills in the gaps with heart. Add in colorful characters, a blend of animation styles, pure optimism, and a touching ending and you have a really delightful film. The only thing that takes away from this film is an overuse of computerized effects, which at times were a bit distracting. Apart from that, this film is near perfect.