If you’re someone like me, you first heard about Paddington Bear after hearing that Colin Firth was leaving the project after a mutual agreement that his voice didn’t fit the bear. However, evidently Paddington Bear is the star of a series of hugely influential British children books. That makes sense, because Paddington is about as British as it gets. With Ben Whishaw filling in the voice for the title bear, the rest of the cast contains a variety of large stars from Britain. Sally Hawkins and Hugh Bonneville (who is not the same person as Tom Wilkinson, a fact I realized once the credits rolled) are the parents of the family that take Paddington in, Peter Capaldi plays an eccentric neighbor of the family, and Michael Gambon and Imelda Staunton provide the voices for Paddington’s Aunt and Uncle. Nicole Kidman is the one non-British member of the cast, stemming from Australia.
Unlike a majority of kids movies that come out nowadays, Paddington appears as if some genuine effort was put into it. It has a definite quirky style, and the film has a great sense of humor. Technically, the movie is a ‘fish out of water’ type of film, but contains a spirit of adventure that is rarely seen in that type of movie nowadays. The computer generated gears are edited seamlessly in the film, making all of the interactions seem much more genuine.
One of the brilliant things that the movie does is not spend 15 minutes having people freak out that the bears can talk. The outrageousness of everything is explored, but not in the aggravatingly overdone way that it is done in any other movie like this. At times the film is a little overly sentimental and formulaic, but it’s still a joy to watch for every single moment. This exceeds all expectations for a kids movie, and I might be getting some of these books for my little sister and I to read together. 8/10.