Title: Paddington 2
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Director: Paul King
Music: Dario Marianelli
Cinematography: Erik Wilson
As a rule of thumb, like gold dust that a movie sequel can top its predecessor apropos of quality since it is disposed to rest on the latter’s laurels, Paul King’s PADDINGTON 2 is an exception, although if truth to be told, the first one doesn’t necessarily set up a rather insuperable grade, itself is a passable family fare targeting audience of lower age group with a predilection for animated, fluffy anthropomorphic bears, still, this sequel manages to amp up its aesthetic flair while cleaving to an unashamedly family-friendly tenet like its antecedent.
Paddington (voiced by Whishaw, proffering soothing cadence to a jaded ear), now lives harmoniously with the Browns, and buckles down in earning enough dinero to buy a pop-up book of London for his auntie Lucy’s (Staunton) upcoming centennial birthday, only is summarily sent to the prison under wrongful conviction of pilfering the said book, whereas the Browns are concertedly combing through clues to sniff out the real burglar, a narcissistic has-been actor Phoenix Buchanan (Grant), who believes the book will lead him to a hidden treasure which can resurrect his dead-end career from debasing dog-food commercials.
Apart from several endearing comic skits (including one about Paddington working in a barbershop) and a stupendous passage in the pop-up book with cut-outs, it is Paddington’s penitentiary adventure inducing most amazement from disbelief-suspending spectators, not just for its knowing emulation of Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL (2014), in particular, the cliché jail-springing sequences, interlaced with a homage to Chaplin’s MODERN TIMES (1936), but also the candy-striped tableaux, the epicurean revamp of the ghastly prison menu and Paddington’s new-found friendship with a fellow jailbird, the rough diamond Knuckles (a disarmingly huff-and-puff Gleeson in a cook’s hat), all bundled together to melt our hearts with its salutary if saccharine condiments.
The original cast returns with upgraded fervor to right any wrong standing in their way, Sally Hawkins as Mrs. Brown is submersed into another waterlogged scenario to rescue a beloved one, and a starchy Hugh Bonneville is tasked with a split leap to bowl audience over, but the spotlight is resoundingly cast upon the newcomer, Grant’s delectably cutesy antagonist, burlesquing away in full throttle, and belatedly, ludicrously finds his feet and audience when being cooped up, please stay put when the closing credits roll.
Apparently, Paddington’s bearish otherness is a thinly veiled metaphor of an immigrant of any persuasions, PADDINGTON 2 reinforces the benign message of inclusion and acceptance that propitiously, may sow its seeds in any labile young hearts of its core audience, a beneficial indoctrination by way of fairy-tale artifice, that ought to summarize its universal appeal and grant a pardon for its blatant wanderlust endorsement suspiciously bankrolled by London’s tourism bureau.