Film review: Paddington (4 out of 5)

A scene from the new Paddington (tm) movie. (c) P & Co Ltd/SC 2014
A scene from the new Paddington (tm) movie. (c) P & Co Ltd/SC 2014

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some stage film-makers decided that children’s movies should also have elements that adults will enjoy.

It’s usually the mums and dads that have stumped up the cash so why shouldn’t they also be entertained?

So now family films are exactly that - with something for everyone.

And Paddington is a perfect example.

There’s slapstick comedy to keep the younger audiences captivated and there are some excellent throwaway lines that have adults chuckling.

Paddington does have a PG rating for ‘extreme dangerous behaviour, mild threat, mild sex references and mild bad language’ - but I have to say that based on that criteria there should be a warning before most TV adverts and children’s programmes!

The movie sets the scene in darkest Peru where a young bear embarks on a trip to England. He’s been told he’ll receive a warm welcome and find a home.

When he arrives on Paddington station the situation is very different, though.

Finally, he is taken in by the Brown family where his adventures begin.

Ben Whishaw is the voice of Paddington and is excellent.

The CGI bear is remarkable and has some superb expressions.

Hugh Bonneville is very good as Mr Brown and in one scene you’ll see him dressed up as never before!

In fact, the supporting cast is like a who’s who of UK acting talent.

One of my favourites, Sally Hawkins, is Mrs Brown and we also have the likes of Peter Capaldi as an annoying neighbour, Julie Walters as the Brown’s home help and Jim Broadbent, Matt Lucas and a host of other familiar faces in cameo roles.

American Nicole Kidman (although of English, Irish and Scottish descent) plays the ‘baddie’ and while she is a great actor the role is arguably the weak link.

Adding this element of peril gives the film some exciting moments but I’m not sure we needed it.

Paddington proves he can keep us entertained and charm his way throughout the movie - no need for a mad taxidermist.

While director Paul King is fairly inexperienced as far as mainstream movies is concerned, he has some very good touches and uses a few unusual camera angles in this project, so a name to look out for.

Overall this is a great, charming fun film that does full justice to a much-loved character.

Film details: Paddington (PG) 95mins

Director: Paul King

Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol