A very belated and brief review of Paddington 2…
Sequels are nearly always rubbish aren’t they? Generally there to cash in on their predecessor’s success, even on the occasions you can tell the film-makers have tried their hardest, they very rarely recapture the original magic.
For children’s films, the Holy Grail, the great exception to the rule, is the Toy Story trilogy - each subsequent film achieving the seemingly impossible feat of bettering the previous one. So, then, is the sequel to the much-loved and critically adored Paddington fail or Grail?
Amazingly, Paddington 2 is even better than the first film - it’s a fast-paced rollercoaster ride, brimming with charm and packed with genuine laugh-out-loud moments.
Paddington 2 sees the loveable bear framed for a crime he didn’t commit by the dastardly Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), a narcissistic faded actor with a grand plan to reverse his fortunes - and with only Paddington standing in his way to stop him.
Grant, channelling his full inner Roger Moore and not remotely afraid to poke fun at his own expense either, absolutely steals the show. He clearly had a whale of a time playing the pantomime villain and it shows every second he is on screen (a word of warning, don’t leave the before the end credits have finished rolling or you’ll missed an absolute treat).
Grant aside, the original cast are all back once more. Ben Whishaw’s voicework for the naive and innocent Paddington is still perfect. It’s a mark of how good the film is that you quickly forget you’re watching a CGI bear - you’d have to be a real cynic not to be swept up in its spell. What’s more, the final chase scene is as exhilarating as anything you’ll see in an Indiana Jones or Bond movie.
When I saw Toy Story 3, the audience spontaneously erupted into applause at the end - something l’ve never witnessed before or since. For a split second, at the end of Paddington 2, I was sure the audience was about to do the same. However, the brief ripple of half-claps quickly subsided and failed to take over the room. It was, though, somehow appropriate. Like Mr Brown, the audience was being properly British and we just don’t do that sort of thing here.