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September 24, 2018

Paddington (2014) --- “This Little Bear Will Make A Big Splash And Start An Even Bigger Adventure.”

Plot Summary
After a deadly earthquake destroys his home in the Peruvian rainforest, a young bear (Ben Whishaw) makes his way to England in search of a new home. The bear, dubbed "Paddington" for the London train station, finds shelter with the family of Henry (Hugh Bonneville) and Mary Brown (Sally Hawkins). Although Paddington's amazement at urban living soon endears him to the Browns, someone else has her eye on him: Taxidermist Millicent Clyde (Nicole Kidman) has designs on the rare bear and his hide. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     After years of TV show adaptations, writer and director Paul King (Paddington 2) and co-writer Hamish McColl (Johnny English Reborn) bring Michael Bond’s creation to the big screen. Paddington (2014) is an inventive and masterpiece family film that maintains its innocence, charm, and child-like atmosphere. Most films that attempt at live-action animation tend to mess up in combining the two mediums because there is either not enough realism or not enough make-believe. However, director King and writer McColl have created a film that is magical and carries a sort of whimsy charm that allows you to take things seriously.
     Paddington follows the adventures of a very clumsy and lovable bear, of the same name, as he lives with his new human family in London. With humorous jokes and a heartwarming story, Paddington can relate to anyone. This is the film you can watch with your kids and they will laugh at the jokes and silly bear. When your kids are teenagers and you watch this film again, they will start to understand the family dynamic and the love within that family. But when your kids are adults and you sit down to watch this film, they will see it as a nostalgic piece of entertainment from their childhood. Much like Winnie the Pooh (2011), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), and Mary Poppins (1964), Paddington is an upbeat, funny, touching, and a very British film made to last for generations.
     The production values are excellent. From the moment Paddington arrives in England, the story establishes that while a talking bear may not be an everyday occurrence, it no less absurd idea. By establishing this early on, the filmmakers allow the audience to admire the vivid and colorful visuals, costumes, and special effects used throughout the film. The true test for the filmmakers lied in their ability to bring Paddington to life.
     The special effects team created a CGI Paddington that was able to interact with the humans and the real world around him; which sets him apart from most CGI characters. However, the true life behind Paddington is his voice.
     Ben Whishaw (The Lobster; Skyfall) replaced Colin Firth (Mamma Mia) as the voice of Paddington after Firth and the filmmakers decided that his (Firth) voice did not suit the character. This makes sense considering that Firth’s voice is more mature sounding and would not have suited the youthful bear. However, Whishaw has a youthful tone to his voice that gives Paddington an innocent and naïve tone. The rest of the cast deliver good performances. Sally Hawkins (Shape of Water) delivers an energetic and fun performance as Mrs. Mary Brown, while Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abby) delivers a sympathetic and stuffy performance as Mr. Henry Brown that downright hilarious considering the world he lives in. It is nice to see Hawkins and Booneville portray a married couple that is polar opposites of each other but they also complement each other as well. Mary encourages Henry to lighten up and enjoy life to its fullest, while Henry teaches Mary how to also be safe whilst having fun. Nicole Kidman (The Golden Compass) was funny as the villain who does a hilarious reenactment of Tom Cruise’s silent spy scene in Mission Impossible (1996).
     Overall, Paddington (2014) is a film that will entertain for generations and all ages; adults included. The humor is almost side-splitting and the story is heartwarming. It teaches us to be cautious, that not everyone has good intentions, but to also embrace life to its fullest. Have fun and go on adventures even if they turn out to be crazy and out of control. Make memories and tell your loved ones you care.

     I highly recommend this film, its warm and surprisingly mature with youthful antics and humor.

"Mrs. Brown says that in London everyone is different, and that means anyone can fit in. I think she must be right - because although I don't look like anyone else, I really do feel at home. I'll never be like other people, but that's alright because I'm a bear. A bear called Paddington."
- Paddington

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  9 of 10 star
Worth Buying:  9 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar 
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Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011)
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)
Babe (1995)
Babe: Pig in the City (1998)
Chicken Run (2000)
Christopher Robin (2018)
Flushed Away (2006)
G-Force (2009)
Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006)
Garfield: The Movie (2004)
Hop (2011)
Hotel for Dogs (2009)
Mr. Popper's Penguins (2011)
Nanny McPhee (2006)
Nanny McPhee Returns (2010)
The Nut Job (2014)
Paddington 2 (2018)
Peter Rabbit (2018)
Snow Dogs (2002)
Stuart Little (1999)
Stuart Little 2 (2002)
Winnie the Pooh (2011)

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