Often a film will touch many emotions from deep within. Laughter for one, tears for a second, and excitement for a third being amongst the most common.
What films don’t often spark is a feeling of nostalgia, where for me, this film did, something I hadn’t experienced from a film, in quite a while.
The film I am talking about is Paddington Bear, filmed in London and is based on the book by Michael Bond.
For me, I didn’t read any of the 70 titles, in any of the 30 languages, what I did do was listen to them on audio tape with my brother at my grandparents house (on my fathers side).
It is for these reasons that the film sparked memories of the past, as it was tradition that after a dinner consisting of chicken legs and latkes, watching episodes of The Crystal Maze, playing a game or two of New Market, we went to bed and listened to tales of the Peruvian, anthropomorphised bear that was found at Paddington Station in London by the Brown family after his Aunt Lucy goes into a retirement home.
Anyway, to the film itself, which was released with a great amount of noise, with 50 statues placed around London.
I really did enjoy it. It was a magical viewing similar to the feelings of viewing the Harry Potter films for the first time or Gravity for that matter. This was possibly due to the fact that the producer who produced these films also produced Paddington.
Paddington was of course, a computer generated bear, however its character, voice and personality was spot on. He was adorable, and I think everyone in the cinema would have gone out afterwards and bought a full sized teddy Paddington if they were available; however they weren’t, I checked.
During the 95 minute screening, there was laughter (with comedic moments suitable for all ages), there was mild peril (as Paddington tried to avoid the taxidermist from becoming a museum piece) and there was a bit of sorrow. The latter of these emotions came within the first 10 minutes or so as Paddington said goodbye to his family and got on the train to London. The whole scene was reminiscent of the Kindertransport during World War 2, perhaps what the initial 1958 storyline attempted to pay respect to.
The story itself was basic and easy to follow for the younger viewers, however there were still some surprising twists to the plot which weren’t revealed to the end. That said, it was delivered at a good pace and so unlike other films of this nature, it didn’t drag on at all.
Personally, I think the film was well cast with the soft innocent tones of Paddington being provided by Ben Whishaw, and key supporting roles including (but not limited to); Nicole Kidman (the taxidermist), Michael Gambon (the voice of Uncle Pastuzo), Imelda Staunton (the voice of Aunt Lucy), Hugh Bonneville (Mr. Brown), Julie Walters (Mrs. Bird) and Matt Lucas (a taxi driver).
Overall, I was very impressed. Its one of those films which our friends in the USA will like, and those in the UK who remember the original stories will love. There is nothing really bad I can say about the film and its certainly one the whole family can enjoy. I would go as far to say that if a sequel came out, I would be one of the first in line to see it.