Now I’m not usually one to say it, but ‘Paddington’ makes me proud to be British. It’s not often that the essence of these proud and noble shores stands quite as tall as it does during Paddington, Paul King’s (most well known for his work on ‘The Mighty Boosh’) big-screen adaptation of Michael Bond’s beloved series of children’s books.
The film opens in Darkest Peru with a brief, but highly affecting, origin story for this marmalade-munching ursine. From the off, King delivers side-splitting belly-laugh after side-splitting belly-laugh as he throws his camera about with gleeful abandon, making the most of the sumptuous location and a trio of top-notch British thespians.
But the tide soon turns and, as cheers turn to tears, Paddington (voiced pitch-perfectly by Ben Wishaw, in an inspired piece of casting) sets his sights on London . . . and what a London he finds.
It takes a few blank stares and avoidant shuns, but our cuddly friend soon finds himself lodging with the Browns, the year’s most charming on-screen family (featuring great work from Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins, and their on-screen kids, Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin). What ensues is a joyous celebration of multicultural London.
King throws an antagonist into the mix part way through, in the form of Nicole Kidman’s evil taxidermist, Millicent, but that does little to detract from the sheer joy of seeing this ball of fluff warm the hearts of everyone he meets.
The jokes are spot-on, the visual humour is terrific and the sheer good-heartedness is infectious.
Some of us have got the Royal Wedding, others afternoon tea, but I’ve got ‘Paddington’ and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. An absolute triumph!