I have never read the children books, but I watched the cartoons fondly back when I was a kid. Thus, I can claim that I have familiarity with the source material, and I believe that the movie has perfectly depicted the clumsy but well-meaning, marmalade-loving bear from “darkest Peru.”
Paddington is as heart-warming and adorable as the best of Disney movies (which, in my opinion, are the greatest family movies out there). Yes, I went there. It’s just that wonderful. Every aspect of Paddington resonates with timelessness and charm – the plot isn’t exactly novel, but the familiar nature of the story is so amiable that it’s still refreshing overall; the kind of humor delivered is clichéd, but everything else is just clicking very well that it does generate genuine laughs; the CGI is impeccable; the narrative romanticizes London as setting to great effect; and its family-centered message truly hits home. It definitely has the makings of a classic. Watching it will leave a cozy, warm feeling inside.
The supporting cast to the CGI bear did a swell, believable job in interacting with the lead character. The Brown household is easily likable. Peter Capaldi is simply being the lovable, eccentric Doctor Who that I know. And Nicole Kidman is a delightfully campy villainess that reminds me of Glenn Close’s Cruella de Vil in the live-action 101 Dalmatians movie.
It’s still early in the year. But Paddington, for me, is already the go-to family movie of 2015*. And it has raised the bar so high for upcoming G-rated films that it’s going to be very difficult to knock this movie off its pedestal in my eyes.
*It was released in 2014 in the UK. But as far as the rest of the world is concerned, it’s a 2015 movie.