“Paddington” is a delightful film. Literally delightful. While watching it, I was acutely conscious of the fact that I was being delighted. I’m experiencing delight, I thought to myself. There’s no other way to describe the experience of watching this note-perfect adaptation of the beloved children’s character which brings him to big-screen life in a funny, exciting and, well, delightful way.
You can let go of any fears you may have had when the early images were released, giving rise to the hilarious Creepy Paddington meme because the finished CGI product is as polished, vibrant and alive as you’ll have ever seen on screen. The story begins in darkest Peru where we learn the origins of Paddington’s hat, his fondness for Marmalade and his fervent belief that a better life awaits him in London. Not content with showcasing the adorable antics of Paddington’s attempts to reconcile his rose-tinted expectations with the realities of modern-day London, the film packs some real poignant punches into its 95 minutes running time.
Ben Wishaw is perfect as the naïve yet innocently wise young bear while the human cast is a who’s who of great British character actors with the added glamour of Nicole Kidman as a ruthless taxidermist. Hugh Bonneville makes for an excellent Mr Brown and his slow but steady friendship with Paddington is the heart-warming foundation of this film. With an almost perfect blend of comedy, pathos, adventure and silliness, this really is top quality entertainment and possible one of the best family films I have seen in my whole life.
The Mertmas was equally as enchanted by the film as I was, perhaps even more so. He was especially delighted when a trip to the attic, once we got home, yielded an old but perfectly preserved Paddington he had received when he was a baby. Despite the slew of big releases barrelling towards your local multiplex over the festive period, I sincerely doubt there’ll be anything at all that can top “Paddington” as a cinematic treat for all ages.