Paddington 2 - a delightful sequel that beats the original.
"So this is Christmas and what have you done Another year over, a new one just begun And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun The near and the dear ones, the old and the young…"
John Lennon's opening lyrics to his yuletide favourite could suffice as a review of this utterly charming, funny and warm hearted family film.
Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen by a once famous actor played with tongue-firmly-in-cheek by Hugh Grant. Adventure ensues including Paddington spending some time in jail. As one expects, everything is resolved before the end credits.
Paul King returns once again for director duties and creates a film that is freed from the weight of the freshman film's origin story. Now we get to see Paddington in his daily life. The sequence of his morning ritual is a choreographed joy. Ben Whishaw once again provides his vocal talents for our funny, clumsy bear. It has to be one of the best pieces of voice-casting in decades. It's hard to imagine anyone else voicing the bear. Peter Sallis' casting as Wallace in Nick Park's films, is the only other film where voice talent and character are perfectly matched.
The same family of actors return for this outing however this is a Paddington film. This is his adventure. Guest turns from the ever-likeable Brendan Gleeson as "Knuckles McGinty" give this film a warmth and a success that is greater than the sum of its parts.
The near and the dear ones, the old and the young will all have fun.