Director: Paul King (2014)
In a huge bear hug of fun to warm your family, Paddington the loveable orphan bear from deepest darkest Peru makes his big screen debut.
This marvellously magical and funny adventure retains all the silliness and charm of Michael Bond’s original books. And hidden in the script is a hatful of kind messages, handed around as often as Paddington offers out his beloved marmalade sandwiches.
The computer-animated bear, endearingly voiced by Ben Whishaw, blends seamlessly into his real-life surroundings.
When a British explorer in Peru found a family of extraordinary bears, he left them with a passion for marmalade and a gramophone for learning English.
Years later an optimistic young bear stows away to find the explorer but London is not as warm and welcoming as he has been led to believe.
As in the book, he’s discovered at Paddington station by the Brown family who name him after the first sign they see and then take him home for the night.
Mrs Brown (a wonderful Sally Hawkins) and son Jonathan (Samuel Joslin) take a shine to the bear. But teenage daughter Judy (Madeleine Harris) is embarrassed while uptight Mr Brown (Hugh Bonneville) simply wants rid of him.
Mrs Brown helps Paddington search for the explorer but wicked Millicent wants to add the talking bear to her collection of stuffed animals.
She’s played by a snakeskin-clad Nicole Kidman, who’s always better when she’s being bad. There is a brief showing from Jim Broadbent as antiques dealer Mr Gruber, Broadbent channels Benny Hill’s performance as The Toymaker in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Paddington inadvertently causes mayhem in a series of imaginative stunts and the film romps along before the slapstick ending in an exciting night at the British Museum.
If young kids don’t enjoy this treat I’ll eat Paddington’s hat – and all his marmalade sandwiches.