The title small bear of great humanity has settled in with the Browns, and is doing odd jobs around London to buy the perfect present for his aunt Lucy’s 100 th birthday. Then the gift, a beautifully rendered pop-up album, is stolen.
In addition to a wildly inventive script and seamless special effects, Paul King’s movie boasts an all-star cast that includes Ben Whishaw (voice), Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville and Imelda Staunton (voice). And Hugh Grant glows as the villain.
There’s a lot going on here, but the impeccable choreography, faultless timing and ingenious construction combine to make you forget (1) you’re at the movies, (2) that Paddington is animated, and (3) bears can’t talk.
This harmonious, totally immersive and satisfying experience is the feel-good movie of the year (we could all use one), and not just for kids. Note to guy readers: I know you’re way too cool to go to a heartwarming, whimsical movie about talking bears, but suck it up for a bit and go see this. You’ll be glad you did.
Better than the superb first film? Maybe. Academic. (104 min)