Movie Review – Paddington 2
On January 18, WBOC aired “Pinocchio’s Journey to Delmarva,” which was about the trip an Andean bear made from Ecuador in South America to Salisbury, Maryland in the United States. That same week had also seen the release of this new film from the United Kingdom about a similar Andean bear who made a trip from South America to a predominantly English-speaking country. In this case, it’s from Peru to London, England. Both bears have a first name that starts with the letter P. Instead of Pinocchio, the bear here is named Paddington. I reviewed the previous film and really enjoyed it.
This sequel is fine, but it didn’t impress me as much as the first one did. The jokes or the comedic set-pieces didn’t seem as funny. The opening five minutes of the previous film are funnier or more inventive than the whole of this sequel. Nicole Kidman was also a better villain in the first than this one. She was more of a threat than the villain here. I certainly laughed more in the first film than in this sequel.
It’s not as if the antics in the first film were any more clever, but somehow they felt fresher. That level of juvenile slapstick humor isn’t often embraced. Yet, done again so soon still makes it seem rather stale, if mainly because it doesn’t go bigger with the Rube Goldberg-like way Paddington messes things up. I almost would have appreciated something akin to the opening to Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).
That kind of escalation might have helped to pique my interest here a bit more. As it stands the plot and the action are rather lame and boring. The prison sequence is not as daring as it could have been. We don’t even get to know what the prisoners are imprisoned for. Given the disposition of some, one would assume violent offenses, but perhaps not, though the desire to break out would also assume that their offenses aren’t simply civil, or frame jobs in the case of Paddington.
Yes, Paddington is framed for a crime. He’s falsely convicted and sent to prison. None of which is done cleverly. He’s supposed to be guilty of thievery, but the stolen item is never recovered. If he stole something, why is it the police didn’t find the item on him? Then, how could he be sentenced for such a lengthy period based on not possessing any stolen property? Hugh Grant is great as the villain here. It’s just the script and direction by Paul King lets him down a bit or doesn’t give him as much as Kidman.
I will say that King was ripped off a bit. In his previous film, he has a scene where Paddington floods the bathroom, literally filling the room with water up to the ceiling. The water floods the house of the Brown family whose mother is Mary, played by Sally Hawkins. Hawkins was nominated for an Oscar this year for The Shape of Water, a film that features a bathroom flooding similar to the first Paddington. Perhaps, King should inquire if Guillermo del Toro ripped off that scene from King’s previous film.
Rated PG for some action and mild rude humor.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 44 mins.