PADDINGTON 2

Cert PG 95mins Stars 5

The small bear with the huge heart returns with the family film of the year in another fabulous and funny adventure.

Mixing live action with CGI, it’s a wonderfully enjoyable and brightly coloured romp through a picture postcard pretty London and beyond.

Ben Whishaw once again voices our marmalade sandwich-loving hero, breathing a gallant humanity into the superbly animated bear. He’s settled into life with his adopted family in their comfortable corner of London. Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins return as the Brown family along with the rest of the original cast.

Our furry friend from darkest Peru is accused of stealing a valuable children’s pop-up book. So his family and friends must rally round to unmask the real thief and prove Paddington’s innocence.

2014’s first film was an unexpected delight and a huge box office hit. This joyous sequel is even better, in large part due to having a more entertaining villain. Hugh Grant demonstrates his genius for light comedy as a devious actor fallen on hard times.

He’s the film’s most valuable addition in a brilliant cast of determined scene stealers such as Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Tom Conti.

The production design delights in analogue technology, with an obvious love of wheels, cogs, gears and locks. An enormous printing press competes for attention with glorious steam locomotives.

With a blissfully absence of smart phones or laptops, this is a film to inspire children of all ages to build, draw, cook and sew. It is a tremendous antidote to the digital demons of the recent Emoji Movie.

There’s an emphasis on good manners, kindness, friendship and sunny optimism. Though it’s careful never to mention Christmas, the script’s message of love and peace to all persons and bears is perfect preparation for the festive season.

 

 

 

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