Paddington 2 Screen 9 articles

Paddington 2


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  • It’s got one out-loud laugh, plenty of sincere cleverness, . . . and enough gyroscopic camera moves to make Max Ophüls jealous, but “Paddington 2” nonetheless feels dutiful and official, like Sunday-school homework. The extreme of niceness is built into the character of Paddington from the books by the late Michael Bond, but the director and screenwriter Paul King and his co-writer Simon Farnaby sweeten the movie even more than King and Hamish McColl did in the first film in the series.

  • It presents a righteous moral message that’s particularly appropriate for these troubled times. Just as the original pic made an impassioned case for accepting and welcoming immigrants, the follow-up makes a plea for kindness, civility and looking for the good in people at a time when rudeness, insults and prejudice based on appearances are on the rise everywhere we look. Paddington 2 won’t save the world, but its existence makes everything just that tiny bit better and more, well, bearable.

  • Paddington 2 struggles to keep a balance between plot and pleasure. But it’s still a cut above the majority of family entertainment, and director Paul King, who got his start helming the surreal cult comedy series The Mighty Boosh, continues to prove himself a confident and comparatively sophisticated stylist, employing cutaway sets, Rube Goldberg slapstick, animated sequences in different styles, and loads of visual gags to create the film’s dollhouse-storybook world.

  • The values that P2 champions are so completely out of step with the shitshow of contemporary America, particularly the political sphere, and one hopes that a film like this might offer a refreshing antidote. . . . Paddington 2 does remind us that civilization is about helping each other along, not strutting around while you're winning and grinding others beneath your bootheel. And for just under two hours, that's certainly a paws that refreshes.

  • Its confidence in sympathy and good manners saving the day and undoing the course of injustice is what makes it a kids’ movie. But what makes it appealing, no matter who you are, are the light comic touches undergirding it all, from Grant’s wittily egotistical conversations to himself in the mirror, to all the old-school visual comedy, like Paddington slinking upward through the gears of a huge clock, silent-movie style, to escape prison.

  • Director Paul King and his co-screenwriters Simon Farnaby and Jon Croker balance Paddington’s hapless clowning with a Chaplinesque positivity and pathos. There’s even a nod or two to Modern Times (1936). Heartfelt without being homiletic, the film cheers Paddington for his unfailing decency.

  • Both 2015’s Paddington and now its sequel Paddington 2 embody a kind of extreme empathy. They have their moments of spectacle — laugh-out-loud sight gags and genuinely exciting set pieces — but they’re also dominated by an overwhelming sense of kindness. They make us yearn to be better humans rather than badder badasses, and in today’s world, that feels downright radical.

  • The confectionary colors and toy-like design imbue the film with a vivid airiness. King’s most ambitious flight of fancy is Paddington’s swirling reverie of escorting Aunt Lucy through the pop-up book. They move through crowds of cardboard cutout people and pigeons and glide from, say, Piccadilly Circus to Trafalgar Square, as the camera never stops twisting and an unseen force turns the pages. The ride is haunting—a benign version of Poe’s “All we see or seem / Is but a dream within a dream.”

  • Such moments might come across as cloying if directed with a heavy hand, yet Paul King (who also directed the first Paddington film) maintains a light touch that’s all the more remarkable given the extent to which his work was mediated by the visual effects team. Like its predecessor, Paddington 2 moves fluidly from one episode to the next, with intricately connected plot points that combine to suggest a giant Rube Goldberg contraption.

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