James Gilmore reviews the most successful British family film of all time
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The new Paddington movie is officially the most successful British family film of all time. And it totally deserves that title. Following a tremendous box office opening this past Christmas, the film has finally made its home entertainment release just in time for the summer – so, having been sent a copy, I sat down with the family to see what all of the fuss was about.
I do not envy anybody tasked with the job of turning a much loved, sacred children’s character into the subject for a family film. Some have done it well (e.g. Harry Potter), some have done it decently (e.g. SpongeBob) and some have done it awfully (e.g. Garfield). Luckily, Paddington and Harry Potter share the same producer (Heydey Films) so, in a way, this was destined to be a success.
With an all star cast, the ‘new Paddington’ is by far the most lovable furry animal on screens today. I have never wanted to cuddle my dog so much after watching this new release! I find it difficult to call him the ‘new Paddington’ as director Paul King has done a stellar job at keeping him as close to the original as possible (including the red hat and blue duffle coat).
It truly is one of the fastest 120 minutes you will ever encounter. It hits all of the marks – the moment it feels right for a baddie to appear, Nicole Kidman turns up as the evil taxidermist who you love to hate. The moment you’re in need of an inspirational speech, Hugh Bonneville is standing at the top of the Natural History Museum exclaiming his love for the bear. The film never leaves you waiting and there isn’t a moment when there isn’t a smile plastered across your face.
Ben Wishaw as the voice of Paddington the Bear seems to be the perfect choice to bring the bear to life. His voice expertly accompanies the very life-like CGI animations which, at many times, really do make you wonder whether the bear is real or not!
There is not a flat performance in the whole film – although, Sally Hawkins does steal the show for me, playing Mary Brown. You can’t help but love her and thank her continually for being the person to recognise Paddington in the first place! Hugh Bonneville also performs tremendously as Henry Brown, although his performance is very similar to his other appearances, and Julie Waters is in perfect place for the comic relief.
If Paddington stole the box office during Christmas, it is sure to steal the box set this Summer. Make sure you get your hands on the most lovable family film now, before everybody does!
‘Paddington’ is out now on DVD/Blu-ray from all good retailers.