The diversity Hugh Grant shows is wonderful.
Paddington knows Aunt Lucy would love the bookCourtesy of Warner Bros. Paddington 2 fits his sensibilities in more ways than one. Or Paddington should go back to Peru and meet the rest of his family. When the kindly antique dealer Mr. Gruber (Jim Broadbent) shows Paddington a handmade one-of-a-kind pop-up book depicting all the landmarks of London, the little bear decides it's just the thing for his Aunt, despite its steep price tag. Contemporary filmmakers were able to take Michael Bond's dated and nearly impossibly earnest creation and make it work for modern audiences thanks to just the right mixture of humor, whimsy and honest emotion.
Meanwhile, Paddington's surrogate family, the Browns (Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin) are back in free society trying to clear Paddington's name.
The bear turns a series of unfortunate events, fortunate every time just by the power of his good heart.
Poor Paddington is sent to prison where he lets a red sock get into the laundry turning all the black and white stripe uniforms black and pink!
A pop-up book describing London's iconic structures - which doubles as a clue book for a treasure, which the bear has no idea about - is what he narrows down to.
Grant does a breathtaking more-is-more performance here, creating an abysmal ham with haughty visions of grandiosity using his "acting" skills to don elaborate disguises. A little patience and a mess hall's worth of our hero's trademark marmalade sandwiches can mend even the hardest of hearts, in this case belonging to the most frighteningly intimidating inmate, the resident cook, played by Brendan Gleeson. To earn the money Paddington takes on odd jobs, resulting in adorable-and very British-hijinks that are some of the best comedic scenes in the movie. Peter Capaldi's odious neighborhood watchman, delighted to have cause for trumpeting his bigoted worldview, spits out Paddington's adopted surname -"Brown"- like the slur he wants it to be.
The integration of this CGI bear - complete with hat, duffle coat and Tardis-like suitcase (but not his signature wellies) - into an otherwise live-action movie is seamless, and the whole affair is utterly charming and lacking in that sort of frenetic busyness that infects too many kids' films these days. Paddington can be himself, an anthropomorphic bear everyone loves and indulges, because he's lifted by a brilliant cast.
EUR: Why should viewers go out and see "Paddington 2?". After all, it was Aunt Lucy (voiced by Imelda Staunton) who instilled him with the moral compass that gets his through life, and who's wisdom he can never resist sharing.
So what's new with Paddington 2?
The sequel also gets a stronger villain in High Grant's delightfully daft and dastardly Phoenix Buchanan, an aging thespian who has hung up Yorick's skull and given up Hamlet for dog food commercials. The film is a heartfelt effort to inject a dash of goodness into the world and leave behind a kind message. Of course, this is a children's movie, so situations and types are broad, but when it comes to its earnestness, nothing seems overblown. As we see in a gloriously animated sequence, in which Paddington finds himself happily lost amid the book's three-dimensional pages, it's the flawless gift for someone who, like Lucy, always wanted to visit the city but never got the chance. It's a attractive film, family-friendly or otherwise, that is not to be missed by anyone who enjoys joy. There are sly references to "The Great Escape", Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times" and other movie classics - but the nods are unobtrusive, so younger viewers won't feel left out of the fun. Do you wish everyone would strive for more kindness as Paddington does? And yes, if you're a fan of the BBC's "Top Gear" and Amazon's "The Grand Tour".