The question we should be asking is why did it took so long for a Paddington Bear movie to be made?
Apparently, the rights was not easy to negotiate, but it’s all worth the wait. The movie is awesome entertainment for all ages and is a visual delight with beautiful special effects and animations:
Paddington is a 2014 comedy film, directed by Paul King, written by King and Hamish McColl and produced by David Heyman. The film is based on Paddington Bear by Michael Bond. The film stars Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi and Nicole Kidman, with Ben Whishaw as the voice of Paddington.
Paddington Bear is a fictional character in children’s literature. He first appeared on 13 October 1958 and was subsequently featured in more than twenty books written by Michael Bond and first illustrated by Peggy Fortnum. The friendly bear from deepest, darkest Peru–with his old hat, battered suitcase duffle coat and love of marmalade, has become a classic character from English children’s literature. Paddington books have been translated into 30 languages across 70 titles and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
The movie looks set to further revives Paddington Bear’s popularity globally.
Paddington Bear is brought up the old British ways by his aunt and uncle in darkest Peru who learned their mannerism from a British explorer who stumbled there. He is always polite – addressing people as “Mr”, “Mrs” and “Miss”, rarely by first names – and kind-hearted, though he inflicts hard stares on those who incur his disapproval. He has an endless capacity for getting into trouble, but he is known to “try so hard to get things right.” He wears a hat which he can raise like a classic Englishman when he meets someone.
He was discovered in Paddington Station, London, by the human Brown family who adopted him, and thus he gives his full name as “Paddington Brown”, making him a brown bear named Brown. When the Brown first found him, Paddington had a note attached to his coat that reads “Please look after this bear. Thank you.”
Bond has said that his memories of newsreels showing trainloads of child evacuees leaving London during WWII, with labels around their necks and their possessions in small suitcases, prompted him to do the same for Paddington. He had based Paddington Bear on a lone teddy bear he noticed on a shelf in a London store near Paddington Station on Christmas Eve 1956, which he bought as a present for his wife.
I have read several of the Paddington Bear books to my son and am familiar with the stories. They are mostly quite simple, emphasizing on the klutziness of Paddington, his do-good ways and how he still manage to save the day at the end of it all.
In the movie, a modern narrative was spun to weave the tales together. All the classic scenes are packed in the movie. We get to see Paddington in a policeman costume, visit the Buckingham Palace and interact with the guards, among other iconic moments from the books.
What I really like is the strong characterisation for each of the characters in the movie. Each of the Brown family has strong personalities which were all brought out fully. Nicole Kidman made an awesome villain by the way.
There were liberal use of special effects to remind us we are viewing an animated movie, but these were used to great effects, bringing out the charm of the city of London and the power of imaginations. Cuban musicians interspersed the narrative, charming the audience with joyous, soulful singings.
Everything was so lovable about the movie. A recommended watch for sure!
Paddington is now showing in Singapore cinemas. Go catch it at a Shaw cinema near you! 🙂