With a few hours to kill in town, teenage son and I opted to watch ‘Paddington’ whilst we waited for his sister to finish work. A friend had recommended it as a fun movie and I was a bit sceptical, but she was absolutely right, it is a fantastic family film. Funny and exciting, it has something for everyone.
No doubt you know the story of the bear who travels from Darkest Peru with an emergency sandwich under his hat, only to find himself stranded and lonely at Paddington station. He is taken in by the kindly Mr and Mrs Brown, whereupon he finds himself embroiled in many adventures. The first original Paddington Bear story was written by Michael Bond in 1958 and the author’s early creations feature in this screen adaptation; Mr Curry (Peter Capaldi), the neighbour, Mrs Bird (Julie Walters), the housekeeper and Mr Gruber (Jim Broadbent) who owns the antique shop on the Portobello Road. I am not sure whether Mr Bond also penned a wicked taxidermist (Nicole Kidman) who wants to stuff the young bear as a specimen for her collection in the Natural History Museum, but that is what happens in the film!
Two elements of the film intrigued me; firstly, I love the juxtaposition of the CGI/animatronic Paddington against the ‘real’ world. Although these computer-generated images must make acting extremely difficult for the cast, the technological combinations have come along way since Bob Hoskins and Jessica in ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit‘. After a while, I just completely forgot that Paddington was just a furry bundle of pixels!
The other interesting effect was the colour scheme. Particularly obvious within the Brown’s house but running throughout the film, the colours used are primarily rust/mustard and blue. Paddington’s hat, the interior of the house in Windsor Gardens and Mrs Brown clothes, are gold and burgundy, Mr Brown’s things are blue – the duffle coat he gives Paddington, his motorbike, his jumpers. It’s effective in giving the film not only visual appeal but also cohesion. The same kind of muted red/yellow/green were also used as the colour scheme in ‘Stuart Little 2‘ back in 2002, but I can’t find any links between the two movies.
If you get a chance while it’s still on in the cinema, go and see this film. Take a child or two as cover, but don’t bother with the marmalade sandwich – you will be far too busy to need it!
(Paddington fans could also use the Christmas holiday break to head up to London to search for bears on The Paddington Trail – but, be quick, as they are disappearing back to Peru on 30th December 2014!)