Paddington (Film Review)

Feb 14, 2015
'Paddington' is the kind of family movie that used to be more popular few decades ago. I mean there are more movies like this today, but they often get even lazier by relying too much on the cuteness of the talking animals and having uninspired humor and forced pop culture references (e.g. 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' movies.) Paddington is refreshing for just being loyal to its own magic. It fully embraces its weird but quirky personality, and yet provides the right amount of heart in the end. It's nothing transcendent to the genre, but this is a better example of a movie that is best treated for the whole family.
The film aims to relive the classic appeal of this type of movies. It does hold the same formula, like how the family slowly earns their love to the friendly creature they discovered, and the plot involves a lot of crazy antics, plus the villain is terribly campy who apparently belongs in a cartoon. But the movie never underestimates itself into a mediocre fare and instead finds creative ways to move through its story. It takes place in a delightful world that perfectly fits in their constant absurdity. It shows a lot of imaginative visuals and comically thrilling set pieces. But this frantic lightheartedness doesn't betray its center. Paddington doesn't get the warm welcome he expected in his first visit in London, until the people around him learn what kind of a bear he truly is. It gets a little predictable, but that clear message of acceptance is delivered with sincerity, even from the very start, which makes it quite nice anyway.

The local version has Xian Lim voicing Paddington Bear instead of Ben Whishaw. The vocal performance is okay, though it sometimes feels a little less heartfelt in his line deliveries. It's much more intriguing to know what kind of warmth Whishaw provided in the original version. The actors onscreen brought plenty of charm in its playfulness: even with the earnestness that defines the strict father, Hugh Bonneville is committed to be silly in some of the character's comedic scenes. And Nicole Kidman is appropriately over-the-top as the main villain.
People might think that 'Paddington' is kind of dated, at glance, but the filmmakers have real love to the material and this genre, thus make it work in this context. Even with its childish cartoon-like madness, it never tones itself down, and instead makes something truly fun out of those silliness. Again, it never really break any grounds, but it's such a heartwarming little film, giving you a real reason why you should love this character, other than just being another cute talking animal.

'Paddington' is now showing in cinemas nationwide locally distributed by Captive Cinema!
Mirzel Torres is an avid moviegoer and watches anything that caught his attention. You can see him roam in cinema houses every week, and read his reviews on his blog.
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