13 March 2018

PADDINGTON 2: THE SEQUEL. (2017) A NEW RELEASE REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS.





PADDINGTON 2: THE SEQUEL. (2017) DIRECTED AND CO-WRITTEN BY PAUL KING. BASED ON THE BOOKS BY MICHAEL BOND.
STARRING BEN WHISHAW, HUGH BONNEVILLE, SALLY HAWKINS, JULIE WALTERS, JIM BROADBENT, PETER CAPALDI, TOM CONTI, BRENDAN GLEESON, JOANNA LUMLEY, NOAH TAYLOR, MEERA SYAL, RICHARD AYOADE, MADELEINE HARRIS, SAMUEL JOSLIN AND HUGH GRANT AS THE VILLAIN.
ALSO STARRING MICHAEL GAMBON AND IMELDA STAUNTON AS THE VOICES OF UNCLE PASTUZO AND AUNT LUCY.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

The original PADDINGTON movie came out in 2015. I finished my review of it with the words: 'If you have a heart at all, you'll make room in it for Paddington. After all, how could you not? He's a bear, and he's wearing his trademark blue duffel coat, given to him in the film by Mr. Brown, and his jaunty red hat. If you can't find it in yourself to love a small brown bear in a hat, then I worry about you, I really do...'

That little lot still stands, by the way. These films may not be the CITIZEN KANE of childrens' movies but they're super-cute and Paddington Bear is even cuter and cuddlier than Winnie-The-Pooh, Rupert Bear, Yogi Bear, the Care Bears and The Bear In The Big Blue House put together. So there, lol.

Some of my older chums may have read Michael Bond's stories in their childhood, or had them read to them by parents. For those of you who haven't seen the original film, allow me to recap.

Paddington comes to London from Peru on South America on foot of a long-held desire to visit the teeming metropolis. When his Uncle Pastuzo (could this sound any more like the demon Pazuzu from THE EXORCIST???) kicks the bucket and his beloved Aunt Lucy retires to, well, a retirement home for elderly persons of the bear persuasion, it seems like a good time for Paddington to fulfil his long-held wish of travelling to jolly old England.

Paddington, all alone and bewildered at the size, noise and hustle-and-bustle of London, is found by the posh Brown family at Paddington Station, the Station from which he takes his name. Good job it was Paddington he rocked up in and not Gatwick. Wouldn't have the same ring to it at all. Not half as cuddly, lol.

The Brown family consists of Mum, Dad, the kids Jonathan and Judy and their feisty and opinionated but very wise cleaning lady Mrs. Bird, played by Julie Walters. Although the Dad initially has misgivings about adopting a small anthropomorphic bear, Paddington fits in so well that soon, the Brown family can't imagine how they ever got along without him.

In the sequel, which was in cinemas last winter (2017, where the hell has the time gone?), we see that Paddington has been taken and clutched to the collective bosom of the neighbourhood of Windsor Gardens as well. He's a welcome sight around the place, bringing joy and good cheer and a friendly word to whomever he meets.

Everyone loves the friendly, helpful little bear, with the possible exception of Peter DOCTOR WHO Capaldi as the officious and pompous Mr. Curry, who seems to have set himself up as the eyes and ears of the neighbourhood since we saw him last.

Paddington has his eye on a beautiful pop-up book of London as a present for his dear old Aunt Lucy's birthday. The book is sitting gathering dust on a shelf in the eccentric but kindly old Mr. Gruber's antiques shop and it's much too expensive for Paddington to buy all at once.

He decides to do a spot of pantsless window-cleaning to earn a few bob to buy the book. That's right, I said 'pantsless.' Children and the elderly, avert your eyes...! A calamitous stint as a barber ends with Paddington falling very much afoul of a local Judge, played by Tom Conti.

Disaster strikes when a burglar breaks into Mr. Gruber's shop and steals the book. It seems that this particular book is more valuable than anyone could have dreamed, but I won't say too much about that. Spoilers, you know.

As Paddington was seen hot-footing it away from the antiques shop at the time of the burglary, the police have no option but to arrest him. And the aforementioned Judge, the one who had the 'hair-raising' experience at Paddington's hands, sorry, paws, has no choice but to send Paddington 'away' for a very long time...

You will cry at the sight of Paddington in his little prison-striped pyjamas, going to bed on his own in his prison cell in the dark, with no bedtime story from the warden to help him gently on his way to the Land Of Nod and positively no cuddles or kisses. As he's surrounded by big tough men who only have each other for company for the duration of their sentences, perhaps that bit's for the best, lol.

The little bear is innocent, he shouldn't be in the nick with hardened crimmos like Brendan Gleeson's terrifying Knuckles the Prison Cook and safe-cracker extraordinaire. Can the Brown family prove their little adoptive bear blameless and spring him out of 'chokey,' legally of course?

Well, they'll certainly give it a damn good try. Dad, an ageing businessman/insurance agent who's being heartbrokenly passed over for promotion at work by younger men, is at a low ebb so it's up to Mum to chivvy him along.

I like Mum, she's fun and kooky and eccentrically-dressed and creative, working as she does as an illustrator of childrens' books. Judy's printing-press and Jonathan's, sorry, J-Dog's, interest in and knowledge of steam engines will also come into play in the plan to help Paddington clear his name and get back to the family who loves him.

Paddington's stay in prison is hilarious. Even the toughest of crims can't help but be enchanted by his sunny temperament and his love of crustless marmalade sandwiches. His friendship with Knuckles the Prison Cook is just so heart-warming. Paddington wins over everyone, given enough time.

Hugh Grant is extremely funny (although depressingly old-looking) as Phoenix Buchanan, the washed-up, has-been actor and narcissistic master of disguise who's very keen indeed to get his grubby mitts on Paddington's pop-up book of London. Cor blimey, anyone would think it was a bleedin' treasure map or something...! (Pretend you didn't hear that, okay?)

Hugh Grant's witty performance as the actor with the biggest ego in London reminds me of Kenneth Branagh's Gilderoy Lockheart character in one of the early Harry Potter films. He's so full of himself and his achievements and his own highly over-inflated sense of self-importance that you could pop him with a pin and he'd deflate quicker than the hot-air balloon he sorely resembles, lol.

Anyway, this is a cute little film for all the family. It's actually better than the original film, in my humble opinion, and that little bear just keeps getting cuter. Michael Bond passed away since the original film was made but I think he'd be okay with this sequel. And you guys had better be okay with it too. I'm a personal friend of Knuckles the Prison Cook (we're both Irish, see?), and he owes me a favour. Don't make me call him up...

PADDINGTON 2 is in the shops now.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com










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