Friday, 10 November 2017
This film made me laugh and it made me cry! I managed to get a couple of free tickets to what turned out to be a Marks & Spencer screening - presumably for employees as the cinema was packed and the majority of the audience were under 10 and had no idea that there might any etiquette involved in attending cinema. Such was the power of this engaging tale, that for the most part I was oblivious to the screaming, running about and hysteria that went on around me for the whole of the 103 minutes run time. I was only aware of my surroundings on less than half a dozen occasions. I can't remember the last time a film engrossed me so much - or perhaps it was because of my surroundings that I chose to become so engrossed?
You know a film should be good when the ensemble cast includes Ben Wishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Tom Conti, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Imelda Staunton, Michael Gambon, Joanna Lumley and Hugh Grant to name but a few! Such is the quality of CGI animation these days that not only do the CGI characters look believably life-like, but the way they physically interact with the rest of the cast looks completely natural. Well done Framestore (a British Company) for the animations and digital effects.
I am not a fan of slap-stick comedy but this film had me laughing - a lot. The script is very cleverly done and the visual gags are beautifully executed. As long as you remember that the world in which Paddington lives is a fantasy, there is no problem about a bear riding on the footplate of a refuse truck, sitting astride and racing on an Irish Wolfhound or him using toffee apples to stick to the ceiling allowing him to walk upside down!
As with any good children's story, there is plenty for adults to reflect on if they choose to peel back the layers. There are many weighty themes in this film such as fulfilling aspirations, generosity, family, community, looking for the good in people, guilt, transformation, injustice, forgiveness, redemption, salvation and hope. All of these inter-weave to combine in a film that offers much for reflection and which presents Paddington as a type of Christ figure if you choose to see him that way. Or you can simply sit back, enjoy the film and have a good laugh - and cry.
As you will have gathered, I liked it a lot and will award it 8/10.