I was hugely surprised at just how good the first film was and was tentatively cautious when this sequel was green-lighted that perhaps it might cheapen Michael Bond’s beloved family friendly creation.
However, fear not, for this sequel is absolutely terrific on all levels. Firstly it is as funny and witty and as brilliantly animated as the first film. The excellent cast from the first film is also enhanced by a superb turn from Hugh Grant, who hasn’t been as good as he is here in a long time. In fact it is quite clear to the viewer that Grant is thoroughly enjoying himself by playing against type and sending himself up as a faded egotistical actor and total cad who sets Paddington up to be the fall guy (or should that be Bear?) for a dastardly deed. There is a touch of the pantomime villain to his performance, but it works splendidly and it fits his character perfectly.
Maybe it could have been ever so slightly longer and would have again liked to have seen more of Mr Curry and his acrimonious relationship with Paddington. Everything else is magic.
‘Paddington 2’ once again looks great. It’s beautifully shot and vibrant in design with a little bit of grit and Paddington as to be expected couldn’t have looked more perfect. The music score is suitably soothing, rousing and whimsical, while the direction keeps things moving at a bright and breezy pace. A pace that never slows down but doesn’t ever feel too hasty either.
A large part of that is the character of Paddington himself. Can’t fault his design or Ben Whishaw’s beautiful voice acting, nor can one fault his truly adorable personality, absolutely love how he tries to still remain even in the grimmest of situations and he is easy to root for and love throughout. The story may on the slight side structurally but has a lot going on, without being cluttered, that makes it very much eventful and to me there weren’t any tonal issues.
Every ounce of the heart, charm and fun seen in ‘Paddington’ is here and everybody gets a chance to shine, especially Mr Brown and Mrs Bird of Paddington’s family. The new characters are great additions, with a superior villain and the character of the cook Knuckles being one of the film’s nicest surprises. Only Mr Curry could have been done better.