paddingtonThere are few animals cuter than a little bear. Put that little bear in a red hat and rain jacket and the cute meter is off the chart.


There are few animals cuter than a little bear. Put that little bear in a red hat and rain jacket and the cute meter is off the chart. The new family, comedy Paddington succeeds mainly because of the little bear that generations have grown up with. He now has his very own film and will certainly entertain the younger members of the family while bringing a bit of nostalgia to the older folks.

Paddington Bear (voiced in the film by Ben Whishaw) first graced the pages of children's literature in 1958. This film takes a modern approach to the story while keeping the characteristics in tact. Here we first find Paddington living with his Aunt and Uncle in the deepest parts of Peru. When a violent earthquake destroys their home young Paddington Bear heads off to London, a place he only know about from his Aunts stories. When the Brown family invite him to stay with them he wins their hearts in spite of some mishaps and learning curves. Throw in an evil taxidermist (Nicole Kidman) and you have quite the comedic adventure.

The mix of live characters and computer animation is a good choice for the movie. The cast do a fine job of interacting with Paddington who is a combination of computer-generated imagery and animatronics. He is very 3-dimentional with excellent facial expressions and texture. This will enhance the entertainment value for the young viewers and the slapstick antics are aimed right at the tots in the audience. The set design pops with vivid colors which also help in drawing attention to the screen.

Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) is the patriarch of the Brown family. He is not happy at all about having a bear in the home. He is a bit over protective of his kids and prefers things to be in neat order. His more free spirited wife (Sally Hawkins) however is more willing to embrace Paddington and welcome him to the family. Hawkins seems more at ease in the role than Bonneville. Though he does a fine job at being the overbearing buzz kill there are times he seems more rigid; especially when reacting to computer elements that aren't really there.

The movie stays pretty true to the book and Paddington thankfully isn't modified or updated to fit the current times. He still remains very classic and timeless. Fans of the stories will appreciate seeing the bear they grew up with being recognizable; including his love of Marmalade. PADDINGTON is rated PG for mild action and rude humor. It is safe and fun for any age group. Even when the sadistic taxidermist is trying to capture Paddington the level of fear and dread is minimal. The humor may be a bit too cute and predictable for older audiences with a story line that isn't geared for the parents. Still it offers a clean and safe movie option for the kiddoes. I give it 3 out of 5 train stations. The film looks amazing and kudos for keeping Paddington classic but few less site gags may have helped; says the old guy. My two year old on the other hand is all for it.

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