It must be really difficult to act with nothing. I suppose if there’s some kind of visual reference then that’s going to help – it’s all in the eyes. I do remember a scene in Star Wars Episode 2 – Obi-Wan was trying to extract information from Dexter Jettster (owner of Dex’s Diner) and I couldn’t help but be distracted by the lack of eye contact between the characters; very off-putting.
Anyway, there are no such distractions during Paddington. Clearly CGI has come a long way in the last 12 years (yikes!) but it’s safe to say this film is not trumpeting the wonders of modern technology to create its world, it just uses it to integrate its central character. And to wonderful effect to-boot!
I do like the matter-of-fact nature to the world Paddington inhabits. “A talking bear?!? Oh, fair enough.” There’s no dilly-dallying. He’s a talking bear, get over it so we can get on with the story. Paddington exudes charm from the first grainy documentary footage used to introduce the viewer to “Darkest Peru” and continues to do so throughout its 95 minute running time. Drawing belly laughs and pulling heart-strings in equal measure, we are carried along a most charming ride as Paddington explores London in search of a home.
Ben Wishaw provides lovely voice work to inhabit everyone’s favourite bear and compliments the truly outstanding CGI to bring this character to life. Hugh Bonneville as the ridiculously cautious Henry Brown, together with Sally Hawkins as his wife Mary are the hoped for foundation to all Paddington’s beliefs and, together with Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin as their children, provide a family nucleus that are in need of a catalyst to spark their relationships back to life. This group dynamic is a delight to watch and is wonderfully assisted by Julie Walters as Mrs. Bird. Seemingly channelling a more sprightly Mrs. Overall, Ms. Walters is a virtual scene-stealer every time she appears.
There’s also excellent work from Nicole Kidman (so in need of a box office hit!) as the film’s pantomime villain and current Doctor Who Peter Capaldi as the Brown’s cranky next door neighbour Mr. Curry. I know I’m very late to the party, but I’m so glad I’ve finally been able to see Paddington. It’s one of those films that will delight across the generations and clearly continues to do great box office business in its ninth week at the flix! If you get the opportunity to see Paddington at the cinema I urge you to do so, you won’t be disappointed!
Thank you for reading 🙂