Thursday, December 18, 2014

Review: Paddington (Paul King, 2014)

From the beloved novels by Michael Bond, Paddington tells the story of the misadventures of a young bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) who travels to London in search of a home after his idyllic Peruvian forest homestead is destroyed in an earthquake. Finding himself lost and alone, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined, until he meets the kindly Brown family who take heed of the label around his neck – “Please look after this bear. Thank you.” – and offer him a temporary haven.

This is a fun, clever film and it is exceptionally well made. But, I take a look at the impressive pedigree working on it and wonder why I am surprised. Writer/director Paul King is the man behind Bunny and the Bull and The Mighty Boosh, which explains why Paddington is so funny. King worked with editor Mark Everson on the aforementioned projects, and this is a sleek, polished cut. Master DP Erik Wilson (The Double, 20, 000 Days on Earth and The Imposter) shoots the film beautifully, while the delightfully rewarding intricacies of the film’s design (for example, the Brown house reduced to a dollhouse model and a sequence where Paddington appears to walk through a projected image into a memory) and CGI/animatronic effects are seamlessly woven into the film’s fabric.

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