Enrique Bonilla Morales
Hi, folks. This is my first article for The Cake, and I want to start talking about a movie my wife and I watched the last weekend: Paddington 2. We watched it because a friend suggested me to read a list of the 100 best films of the 21st century by The Guardian. I was amazed to found Paddington 2 in position 69 (no joke intended), above movies like No country for old man, Persepolis and Requiem for a Dream.
How can a live-action animated film that, at first impression, seems to have the quality of movies like Detective Pikachu, Garfield or The Smurf, could be that high in the ranking? It turns out that the ranking was not wrong. Paddington 2, along with its predecessor, Paddington, are great movies. These movies put a high standard on how children movies should be made.
A little bit of context…
Who is Paddington? Paddington is the most famous bear in England, even above Winnie the Pooh. Paddington is a children book series written by British author Michael Bond. The books tell a story of a 7 years old bear who travelled from Darkest Peru to London. He’s adopted by the Brown Familly and called Paddington after the train station where he was found. He uses a raincoat, a pair of boots and a hat, he loves marmalade and is a clumsy but adorable character. If you visit London, you will find multiple Paddington stuffed toys being sell in every corner, he even has a statue in Paddington station.
Why is it a great movie?
Although this article was written for Paddington 2, most of these characteristics also apply for the first Paddington movie.
a) Great cast and excellent acting
As most English movies, Paddington has almost every successful actor in the UK participating in it. The film has actors from Doctor Who, Downtown Abbey, Cloud atlas, etc., and they take their job seriously. Their acting is as amazing as their most successful roll. Particularly, Paddington 2 has one of the best Hugh Grant’s performances. He is the movie’s villain. Instead of doing the same one-dimensional character he always does, he represents a multifaceted role, where he acts as a woman, as a Shakespearean actor and more. He even has a great musical number, with production and choreography as good as any famous Broadway Musical.
b) Outstanding comedy
Instead of recurring to fart jokes and cheap pop culture references like most live-action animated films do, Paddington has references to the original tales without copying the exact same material. Also, it has amazing hidden, recurring, and visual jokes, with a quality so high as that of any Charlie Chaplin’s movie.
Editor’s note: Enrique is also kind of clueless and forgot that between letter “b” and “d” there is an unimportant letter: “c”. OCDs, please forgive him.
d) Powerful messages
As many post-Brexit UK films, Paddington has a message of immigration tolerance, since, in the end, Paddington is an immigrant too. However, the message does not feel forced, it flows with its community and surroundings, it’s part of the story and not an unnecessary accessory. Furthermore, Paddington talks about the importance of kindness and accepting who you are. More importantly, it does not do it in an exaggerated cheesy way, but as a message that is common to every human being.
e) Visuals, cinematography and production design
When I saw this movie, I believed it was directed by Wes Anderson (it was directed by Paul King). Its color palette and the way the visuals contribute to the storytelling make you feel like if you were reading a children’s book. If you like movies like The Shape of Water or The Grand Budapest Hotel because of its visuals and cinematography, this movie will not disappoint you.
f) Great animation
Paddington’s animation is not just a necessity because, you know, you can’t hire a talking bear as an actor. Everyone knows talking bears do not like to act. So, the animation is employed to say something essential. Every movement and expression made by the character makes you relate to him and understand him better.
g) The core of the character is not lost
Paddington keeps faithful to the original books. The little bear is not changed to make him “cooler” or more approachable to the current young audience. He is just the gentle and funny bear he is supposed to be, knowing that Paddington essence is still relevant today.
h) And finally, he’s adorable!
When you watch this movie, you’ll feel like wanting to hold that bear, adopt him and give him a big hug. He is just so cute!
Before you go and watch it, do not forget it’s a children’s movie and you should judge it as such. If you expect a film like Space Odyssey 2001, Citizen Kane or Parasite, you will be dissatisfied. The message of the film is simple, but then again, that does not mean it is unimportant. Sometimes, simple acts of kindness have a more significant impact than elaborate political speeches. That said, prepare yourself to go and see a heartwarming film that will make you laugh and feel happy in these difficult times.
Featured image taken from Espinof