Paddington 2 – Paddington’s beloved Aunt Lucy is turning 100 and, now settled with the Brown family, Paddington wants to get her a present to show how much she means to him. He settles on a rare pop-up book of her beloved London (that she has never been able to visit) and takes on a series of odd-jobs in order to save for it. But the book may contain more secrets than just London landmarks, and when a mysterious stranger steals the book Paddington’s life and that of the Brown’s are turned upside down.

Paddington 2 (2017) – Director: Paul King

Is Paddington 2 appropriate for children?

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Rating: PG

Running Length: 103 mins

Starring: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Hugh Grant

Genre: Comedy

REVIEW: ‘PADDINGTON 2’

After the surprise success of 2014’s Paddington – the first big screen outing for the classic character created by Michael Bond – a sequel was virtually guaranteed. But would the marmalade taste just as sweet second time around? The first movie had the benefit of the usual ‘becoming’ framing, where we find out how all the characters got to be their classic selves, safe in the knowledge that they will. It’s a harder balancing act to do the second time around, especially when Bond’s small and character based stories have to be meshed with feature film antics and modern excitement. Thankfully, ‘Paddington 2’ gets the tone every bit as right as before.

If we were to have a criticism it is that there is much less of the Brown family this time around and so their sub-plots are minimal at best (with Jonathan in particular having a ‘coolness’ crisis that never gets round to being a crisis). However, the new character sections shine out as Paddington once again has people eventually won over by his good manners and unending ability to take on the best in any scenario. Hugh Grant delights in playing a hammy and washed up actor who loves using his skills to fool those around him and lights up the screen whenever he is on, but he is also not overused to the point of the audience getting bored with his antics. And a bigger budget means more directorial flairs, like a truly stunning ‘pop-up book’ section where we get a tour de force of 2D London.

It’s easy to repeat a word like ‘charming’ to the point where it lacks meaning, but what Paddington 2 does so well is set the feel good factor against some genuine obstacles so that it never feels unearned. It isn’t insecurely ironic or tongue-in-cheek in an effort to hide any flaws under a layer of knowing self-deprecation. Instead, the movie is honest without being earnest. Heartfelt without being sickly sweet. It celebrates goodness with such good natured fun that it’s almost impossible not to be swept along with the joy of it.

CONTENT: IS ‘PADDINGTON 2’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

For the first half of the movie most of the ‘content’ we will mention was very mild but we mention it more due to the fact that certain behaviours may be imitable.

Paddington describes how he is getting used to life, but shoves two electric toothbrushes into his ears and then up his nose. He also drinks hot tea straight from the teapot spout.

Paddington has a coin ‘magically’ pulled from behind his ear. However, he then goes to store it inside his ear and is shown to shove it in there. At one point he playfully flings some scissors which get stuck in the roof, which we mention because if a child were to imitate throwing scissors then this could cause some damage!

Paddington is shown to be looking after a stray dog but we mention this as it may encourage children to approach strange dogs. Later on Paddington rides the dog like a horse which, although the dog is happy to be ridden, we again mention due to imitable actions.

A character punches a window in order to break it and steals an item from a shop. After an exciting chase, a character the audience knows to be innocent is arrested for the crime. Other characters who know the framed party are upset at watching them get led away in handcuffs and driven off in a police van.

Once imprisoned, the enormity of the situation settles on the falsely accused character. When a bedtime story request is denied they settle in to their cell, depressed and down.

Several prison inmates come across as aggressive, one snarls “How would you like to be buried in a very deep hole?”. The prison chef, Knuckles McGinty, is a character that all the others are afraid of, threatening things such as making a pie out of another character.

When reaching an agreement one character spits on their hand and proffers it. The other character, misunderstanding, then spits on the outstretched hand so that it is covered in spit. The profferer then retracts it and wipes it down in irritation.

One character is jealous of another’s performance and rewards and plots to steal them. They sabotage a rope by cutting it slightly so that, when used by the performer, it snaps and they fall to their death. We see them hit the ground with a thud and the voice over says that they went from their performance name of the ‘flying swan’ to a ‘dying swan’. When people rush to the fallen character they lift the person’s head but there is no movement or sign of life.

Due to a mix up one character is told ‘nice buns’ and they respond with thanks saying that there has never been any complaints about ‘Mr and Mrs Bottycheek’.

The imprisoned character is expecting a visit from family. They had been previously warned that they would be forgotten about but argued that this wouldn’t happen. However, the visit does not take place and the imprisoned character is crestfallen.

Various characters escape from prison and a promise of certain action is made. However, once they are out this promise is broken and one character is very upset. They separate out and there is 5 minutes of sustained sombre mood and sad music. One character leaves a voicemail message saying that they are now ‘on their own’ and it is clear they have given up. However, shortly after the call the mood is lightened.

An exciting action sequence at the finale of the movie culminates with one character being trapped in a carriage sinking underwater. Another dives under to try and free them but due to a padlock it becomes clear that neither can open the door. The sequence is undercut with sad music and slow shots. There is a 10 second section where both characters look at each other and silently acknowledge that nothing can be done. This is a very emotional moment that eventually breaks as new factors come into play.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?
VERDICT: IS ‘PADDINGTON 2’ FOR KIDS?

Designed with kids in mind and with tons of gags, warmth, and subtextual moral messages about being kind, polite, and good, ‘Paddington 2′ once again gets the formula right and delivers a genuinely entertaining film for all ages. As most of our points raised are to do with imitable behaviour then so long as an adult is present when young children watch to explain why things shouldn’t be done then we would recommend ;Paddington 2’ for all ages, although we would advise caution for those who are particularly upset by sad moments.

  • Violence: 1/5 (mostly verbal threats but one character is bodily lifted up in a threatening manner)
  • Emotional Distress: 3/5 (whilst there are few emotionally charged moments, the last Act of the movie has two that are long enough and well shot / acted / edited enough to have an impact)
  • Fear Factor: 1/5 (when the jail setting is first introduced the prospect of being in jail and surrounded by threatening people could scare)
  • Sexual Content: 0/5
  • Bad Language: 0/5
  • Dialogue: 1/5 (some verbal threats, one character says they will turn another’s brain into ‘mush’)
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of politeness, being good to others, finding the goodness in everyone, winning people over with kindness, family bonds, being framed for a crime you didn’t commit, wanting to repay good deeds with others, and the healing power of marmalade sandwiches.

Words by Mike Record

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