Film Review: Paddington (2014)

In first year, an assignment task was to write a film review for a production released from 2012 onwards and aim the piece at a specific publication. I chose to review the film Paddington for Empire Magazine.


Paddington Bear Movie Shot.

19 November 2015 13.25-Last Updated: 6 December 2015 08.51

Warm Welcome in London for Paddington.

Our favourite marmalade loving bear comes to life on the big screen with an all-star cast from the best British productions.

The beginning of the film takes us back to darkest Peru, to when a British explorer discovers the rare spectacled bears, educating them about speech and London. To fit with the era the opening is shown old school black and white. However, it soon becomes a full colour film when Paddington voiced by Ben Whishaw (Skyfall-Q) makes his entrance.

Controversy about Paul King’s (Bunny and the Bull-Director) interpretation of Micheal Bond’s beloved bear occurred with the BBFC PG rating. Although after the appeal the reason was lowered to an innuendo and a suggested brief mumbling of ‘bloody’. Bond himself was shocked by the PG decision and is fully happy with the outcome of the film adaptation. The film has received positive reviews from both critics and audiences.

‘Paddington was the highest grossing independent UK film of 2014, taking £35.07m at the box office”. (Telegraph, Feb 2015)

“This is without a doubt, one of the funniest and most heart-warming films that I expect to see in my life. A true ‘family’ film, it should appeal to children of all ages as well as to adults who are still children at heart”. (10/10 stars, IDMB, Jan 2015)

Audiences love it, when I visited the cinema to view the film, a group of four 50+ year olds had come to watch an arts & events screening, but missed the showing; so instead of wasting their journey decided to watch Paddington and throughout the film were laughing and thoroughly enjoying themselves. The content is truly family aimed with a range of characters, which every member of the family can relate to. Whether it be Hugh Bonneville’s (Downton Abbey-Robert Crawley) uptight and stringent, no mayhem Mr. Brown, or the completely opposite bubbly, welcoming and over the top Mrs Brown portrayed by Sally Hawkins (Godzilla-Vivienne Graham).

Both characters represent parents that want the best for their kids but have different ways of approach. Their personalities bounce of each other perfectly with fantastic sarcasm and humor. When Mrs Brown offers Paddington a home; to Mr. Browns dismay, Paddington is stood at the station recreating the way in which children in World War Two, found new families. Mr. Brown states ‘stranger, danger’ and walk on by, whereas Mrs Brown sees through the fur to the bear inside. This sends a very positive message that many believe society is forgetting.

“Nobody’s alike, which means everyone fits in”. (Paddington, Nov 2014)

Paddington being a young bear is bound to run into trouble in the big city, that being an evil taxidermist characterized by Nicole Kidman (The Golden Compass-Mrs Coulter). Although its not all bad, while exploring London, Paddington and the audience meet some colourful characters along the way. The interfering neighbor and hopeless romantic Mr Curry played by Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who-The Doctor), who supports the taxidermist Millicent but ends up making a fool of himself. And addition to the Brown family is Julies Walters (Harry Potter Series-Mrs Weasley) playing an eccentric but loveable Mrs Bird that is always around to help clear up after Paddington and to support the family. Paddington on his search for the explorer visits Mr Gruber an old friend of Mrs Browns’ portrayed by Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter Series-Prof. Slughorn). Each character has an important part to play in the outcome of Paddington’s move to the big city.

Producer David Heyman (Harry Potter Series-Producer), along with Framestore Visual Effects Company have worked with computer animated characters before, such as Dobby from the Harry Potter films. However, with Paddington motion capture technology was not the chosen method, instead the use of a head mounted camera captured the actors’ facial movements as he recorded the lines, this created a base from which to develop Paddingtons movements. In addition, when creating the fur Framestore used High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDRI) via a fish eye lens that takes a 360 degree shot, with light emitting back to place the character in the scene. Another advantage of this method is that the fur takes less time to compute as the majority is done algorithmically.

From the moment the family meets Paddington the film is packed with hilarious antics as he tries to learn about the human world, all of which the Browns get stuck in the middle of and have to fix with the craziest solutions.

Through a bears eyes the audience gets a whole new perspective of London. As the Browns are dealing with bear related mishaps and Paddington is looking for the explorer, trouble brewing.

Can the Browns unite as a family to save the bear that has turned their lives upside down, but who they have come to love?


Empire Logo: [Accessed 19th Nov 2015]

Paddington Bear Movie Image: Murawski,K, 2015. Paddington. Young Voices of New York. [Accessed 19th Nov 2015]

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