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Paddington 2 - Film Review

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by Douglas Sutherland-Bruce (subscribe)
Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published December 10th 2017
As much fun as a marmalade sandwich
When Michael Bond created Paddington, the Peruvian, marmalade sandwich-eating bear in 1958 I very much doubt that he would have guessed that this would be the start of a fifty-nine career with book sales in excess of thirty-five million, published in nearly twenty countries, in over forty languages, and have inspired pop bands, race horses, plays, hot air balloons, two movies and television series.

Paddington 2, Studiocanal, Hugh Bonnington, Michael Bond, Eileen Atkins, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Brendan Gleeson
Paddington 2 (Photograph courtesy StudioCanal)


The reason why is not hard to find - Paddington is sweet, lovable and charming, just quirky enough to be engaging without overt sentimentality.

And so are the films.

In 2014, StudioCanal obtained the film rights and made the first of, so far, two films, Paddington and Paddington 2. Michael Bond was 88 when the first was made and had a small cameo part as the 'Kindly gentleman'.

Paddington 2, Studiocanal, Hugh Bonnington, Michael Bond, Eileen Atkins, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Brendan Gleeson
The statue of Padding Brown at Paddington Station (Photograph courtesy Wikimedia Commons)


Bond died, aged 91, earlier this year but his creation lives on, drawing new audiences and readers every day.

Paddington was a huge success, due mainly to how faithful it was to Bond's vision, a very great deal of money spent on CGI and casting the best of British acting aristocracy.

Sequels seldom live up to expectations, but this one does, and more. All the original cast are here - Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, Dame Julie Walters, Sir Michael Gambon, Peter Capaldi, Jim Broadbent and especially the voice of Paddington - Ben Wishaw.

paddington 2, Studiocanal, Hugh Bonnington, Michael Bond, Eileen Atkins, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Brendan Gleeson
Paddington 2 (Photograph courtesy StudioCanal)


In this instalment, the original cast are joined by celebrity villain, Hugh Grant and tiny cameos with Dame Eileen Atkins, Joanna Lumley, Ben Miller, Tom Conti and others as well as Brendan Gleeson as 'Nuckles' McGinty.

In addition, there is another, even bigger star - the City of London. This is a joyous romp and an affectionate tribute to the mother of cities.

Everyone involved very evidently had a good time and so will you.

The film opens with Paddington settled into the Brown household and making a life and a routine. His Aunt Lucy's (Imelda Staunton) 100 birthday is coming up and Paddington wants to get her a really, nice present.

The story is pretty much irrelevant, but it involves an ageing, fading great actor (Hugh Grant) on the track of a pop-up book bought by Paddington from Mr Gruber (Jim Broadbent) which contains a treasure map. He does this by adopting a range of disguises and costumes.

Paddington 2, Studiocanal, Hugh Bonnington, Michael Bond, Eileen Atkins, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Brendan Gleeson
Hugh Grant in Paddington 2 (Photograph courtesy StudioCanal)


When our dear bear Paddington is wrongly convicted of the theft by an irascible judge (Tom Conti) and sent to gaol for ten years - naturally, being Paddington, he makes new friends and when they break out the plot takes a few twists and turns.

It's just a glorious, affectionate tribute to everyone's childhood favourite.

If you think you may be too old to enjoy Paddington 2, you're wrong - but take your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, neighbour's children or anyone, really, but do go.

Paddington 2 opens in Western Australia in cinemas on December the 21st. Book early.

Very Highly Recommended Indeed.
Paddington 2, Studiocanal, Hugh Bonnington, Michael Bond, Eileen Atkins, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Brendan Gleeson
Paddington 2 (Photograph courtesy StudioCanal)
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*Douglas Sutherland-Bruce was invited as a guest
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Why? A glorious joyous affectionate romp
Cost: Various - see website
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