Three years ago, in 2014, everything was new. Michael Bond’s much-loved bear, Paddington was on the big screen. Meanwhile, on the small screen, a new series of Doctor Who containing an all-new Doctor, the twelfth, Peter Capaldi. These two quintessentially British heroes have both crossed over to become a global phenomenon, and they both starred Peter Capaldi.
This year as Capaldi leaves the role of Doctor Who he returns for a small cameo in Paddington 2. But can it stand up to high watermark set by the original – a highly inventive film which contained the perfect ingredients for a family friendly smash hit? Sequels usually tend to water down what has appeared already, or have much-loved characters flail about trying to find a plot. You’ll be glad to know this is not the case in Paddington 2.
It opens in the Peruvian jungle with Aunt Lucy rescuing a little bear cub, Paddington. The film moves at a pace from there updating us on Paddington’s daily life with the Browns. This includes his hygiene routine (you won’t look at toothbrushes the same again.) More importantly, his goal to purchase a pop-up book for his Aunt Lucy’s birthday so she can experience the sights of London. After haphazardous attempts at work in order to afford the book, Paddington gets wrongly imprisoned for stealing the book. Is he guilty? Can the Browns clear his name? And, if Paddington didn’t, then who did steal the pop-up book, and why?
All this and more are addressed an answered in a sequel which almost matches the perfection of the original. But what of Peter Capaldi’s involvement? Unfortunately, his role is slightly reduced to allow for an increased cast list. His character, Mr Curry, seems the only one within the film whose heart still overflows with hatred for Paddington. This allows for some humour and a complete juxtaposition to the character of the Doctor. It’s fun to witness Capaldi’s lips pursed in anger as he’s thwarted again and again, whilst the film delivers a similar message of kindness to the one the Doctor gave in this year’s Series 10 finale.
Whilst not an improvement on the original this sequel is no slouch and packs in a huge amount of jokes, fun and pathos within its running time. This should ensure it becoming another family friendly hit for the bear who loves marmalade. And who knows maybe Peter Capaldi will be back in the third film in the series to pour more hatred onto Paddington.