‘In London everyone is different and that means anyone can fit in’
It may seem strange to live your life according to the ponderings of a Peruvian bear, but – as the new Paddington Bear movie has reminded me – this fuzzy little mammal has a pretty awesome outlook on life.
From his kind and curious nature to his ability to see the very best in everyone, if everyone was a little more… Paddington… the world would be a MUCH nicer place.
Like millions of other children, I grew up with Paddington Bear and was so thrilled to introduce my girls to him when the first movie came out.
When a message pinged into my inbox just before half term, inviting us to a special Harper Collins screening of the new Paddington Bear movie, simply named Paddington 2, I couldn’t wait to tell the girls we were heading back to Windsor Gardens again.
I couldn’t remember the last time we’d all been into London together, so the girls were beside themselves with excitement as we boarded the train to Marylebone (which actually served as the entrance to Paddington Station in the original movie).
From there we jumped into a black cab and headed to that famous home of UK movie premieres – Leicester Square – where we had just enough time to stock up on popcorn and Pick ‘n Mix (fizzy worms for me, jelly beans for Big Sis, a mahoosive gummy snake for Lil Sis).
After a few photos (these are blogger kids – they know the drill… ) we made our way inside and high-fived each other when we discovered a row of super-plush reclining theatre sets at the front, complete with retractable tables and electric footrests.
Yep – they were as insanely comfortable as they sound.
The lights dimmed, and we settled in for the film. Now, as everyone knows, sequel movies are never quite as great as the originals, right?
Paddington 2 is an absolute delight from the opening scene, to the joke-filled final credits. I can’t remember the last time I ran through such a gamut of emotions in one 90 minute period – I laughed, I got misty-eyed (thank goodness for the dark surroundings), I was nervous with worry and my heart literally soared with joy.
Without giving too much away, the giggle-filled plot revolves around a mysterious old pop-up book of famous London landmarks, that reveals some long-hidden secrets along the way.
The emotional journey is so real you totally forget Paddington is (close your ears children) actually just an animation and that the stellar cast was, in fact, acting to a blank space. They, and the clever, funny, quirky storyline, and the sheer delightfulness of Paddington himself pull you into the story and sweep you away with their kooky shenanigans.
Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins are delightfully dotty as Henry and Mary Brown, while Julie Walters is spot on as the no-nonsense Mrs Bird. Brendan Gleeson is both terrifying and endearing as Knuckles McGinty, but the show is completely and utterly stolen by Hugh Grant.
I’ve always liked Hugh, but wouldn’t have classed him as one of my favourite actors. Until now. To say he is magnificent sounds a bit over-the-top, but he truly is magnificent: playing egocentric has-been Phoenix Buchanan to hilarious perfection, he elevates Paddington 2 from amazing, to utterly brilliant.
This unmissable film is for all ages (remember to stay seated through the credits for some extra giggles at the end). Thank you so much to Harper Collins for the invite, and our magical girls’ day out.
You can even buy your own collector’s copy of Paddington’s Pop-Up London book (pre-order now for a gorgeous Christmas gift) and, if you travel to the capital before Dec 3, you can complete the Paddington Trail – you’ll find your favourite furry bear hanging out at five iconic London locations. Collect the letters hidden on each installation, and you can enter to win a Pop-Up London book of your very own.