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Paddington is happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday, Paddington spots a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber's antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it's up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief. Written by
I was hugely surprised at just how good the first film was and was tentatively cautious when this sequel was green-lighted that perhaps it might cheapen Michael Bond's beloved family friendly creation.
However, fear not, for this sequel is absolutely terrific on all levels. Firstly it is as funny and witty and as brilliantly animated as the first film. The excellent cast from the first film is also enhanced by a superb turn from Hugh Grant, who hasn't been as good as he is here in a long time. In fact it is quite clear to the viewer that Grant is thoroughly enjoying himself by playing against type and sending himself up as a faded egotistical actor and total cad who sets Paddington up to be the fall guy (or should that be Bear?) for a dastardly deed. There is a touch of the pantomime villain to his performance, but it works splendidly and it fits his character perfectly.
All the wit and heart of the first film is still evident here and in some ways, built upon. Brendan Gleeson is also excellent as an old lag and prison cook who loses his angry nature when he succumbs to Paddington's charms and talents in the kitchen. There are also loads of great jokes too, some pitched at younger children and some deliberately aimed at the more adult viewer.
All in all this is a worthy sequel and a great memorial to Paddingtons creator, Michael Bond, who died whilst this sequel was still being filmed. It is full of laughs, thrills, action sequences, great characters, some wonderful animation (one scene is an obvious nod to the 2D paper cut-outs of the human characters in the 1970s children's TV show) and you would have to have a hard heart indeed to not burst into tears at the wonderful ending. Also, don't leave the film until you watch Hugh Grant gloriously send himself up with a musical song and dance act as the end credits roll.
Thoroughly recommended to anybody who wants to see 100 minutes of family friendly fun that isn't either sickly sweet or too dark for youngsters and still thoroughly watchable to adults too. Great fun and a worthy sequel to one of the best British films in recent years.
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