One wonders why in the world it took so long for Michael Bond’s wonderful Paddington Bear to come to the silver screen, especially in an age when kids movies often bring in the most money (see e.g. the Lego movie etc.). Whatever the reason is, it was worth the wait. This one hour 35 minute rendering of the basic initial story about Paddington is simply ‘top drawer’ as the Brits would say. It leaves one clamoring for more, actually. The film fairly flies by, and there is not a single dead moment in the whole film. This may in part be because David Heyman, the producer of the Harry Potter films, knows what he is doing. And somehow, some way, the bear looks absolutely believable real! Maybe there’s a hobbit in that bear costume, though actually Paddington is voiced by Colin Firth. You will also recognize Jim Broadbent from the Potter films, here playing an owner of an antiquarian shop in London. Hugh Bonneville is a treat in his role as Mr. Brown whose family finds Paddington at the train station and eventually adopts him, and Nicole Kidman is the perfect villainess in the film. She looks like a Cruela de Ville upgrade (and shame on you if you don’t know who that is— hint, think dalmatians).
Perhaps the most endearing quality of the film is Paddington’s ability to unintentionally create small disasters wherever he goes, with things as simply as scotch tape. This ability however is also his saving grace. There are hilarious bathroom scenes, kitchen seasons, and of course a splendid chase scene, not to mention clever sight gags and one liners as well. I will not spoil any of this for you, but needless to say this is the perfect family film with good British humour for one and all. It’s a jolly good time at the theater. Bring your own marmalade