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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Paddington 2


Starring: Ben Whishaw (voice), Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi and Hugh Grant
Distributor: StudioCanal


Certificate: PG
Release Date: 12 March 2018

The highly-anticipated sequel to the worldwide hit family film finds Paddington happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington spots a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief…

Following on from Paddington (2014) Paddington 2 sees everyone's favourite bear from Peru in trouble with the law. With his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday approaching, Paddington goes to Mr. Gruber's store to buy something really special. And when he sees a pop-up book about London he knows it's the perfect gift. But it's a rare edition which is worth quite a lot of money and so Paddington decides to look for work in order to save up and buy buy. However, the book holds a secret, as it's a treasure map to the hidden jewels of murdered circus performer... and one person already knows this, but thought the book long since lost.

Just as Paddington has saved enough money, Mr. Gruber's shop is broken into and the book is stolen. As Paddington was seen at the scene of the crime it looks like an open and shut case: Paddington stole the book. Convicted and sent to jail, it's down to the Browns to prove Paddington's innocence by tracking down the real thief.

Paddington 2 is an action packed family movie that races along at breakneck speed. It doesn't rest for a second and given how much CGI is used throughout, the producers never dwell on it: from the fantasised look of the London streets, to Paddington himself not once are you ever yanked out of the movie by an obvious CGI set piece. Paddington, for all intense and purpose, is a real, living breathing character.

The Brown family are back, but don't play as much of an important part as in the first movie. Paddington's cell mates and the new villain (played by Hugh Grant in a beautifully over the top pantomime style) are fresh and important characters here.

There's a brief tongue in cheek nod to Braveheart (1995) during the hot air balloon sequence, which is made even funnier when you know that Brendan Gleeson (playing Nuckles McGinty) played Hamish Campbell in Braveheart. And the pop-up book dream sequence, which sees Aunt Lucy visiting London through the pages of the book, pays homage to the look of the '70s Paddington Bear TV series.

Extras include a Director's Commentary; Paddington 2: The Challenges of Making the Film (4 min, 24 sec which explores the previs and visual effects; Rain on the Roof with Phoenix Buchanan - Full Screen (1 min, 31 sec look at the end credit musical number in full screen); and BAFTA Q&A with David Heyman, Paul King, Simon Farnaby, Hugh Grant and Pablo Grillo (34 min, 03 sec).

The audio commentary is interesting as director Paul King reveals plenty of tales from behind the scenes. It was interesting to hear that Hugh Grant brought in a lot of photos of himself, and fan made art, to decorate Phoenix Buchanan's creepy home; that the scene where Paddington was chasing the book thief was filmed in Little Venice (London), near Paddington creator Michael Bond's house - who visited the set one night; and that King is a huge Buster Keaton fan and the train chase sequence was inspired by Keaton's The General.

As family movies go, they don't come more entertaining than this. From the smallest member of the house to the oldest, there's plenty to enjoy here.


Darren Rea

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