“Up until two weeks ago, I had zero intentions of seeing this. I’m sure I had a Paddington stuftie somewhere on my overpacked shelf, but I’m not particularly attached to him. And the initial trailer of his bathroom hijinks did not appeal to me. the Creepy Paddington meme didn’t help matters either. The news of Colin Firth dropping out as the voice of the bear didn’t quite concern me. The reports that his suave older voice didn’t really fit made sense. Nicole Kidman being involved didn’t really give it the cred you’d expect, since she has a soft spot for the bear. Side note: it is kind of cute (in an aww honey sort of way) that her agent initially passed on the film for her and only briefly mentioned it as an aside later, when she pounced on it, proclaiming her childhood love of Paddington. Right, point is, I didn’t care much. Then the reviews and such started coming out and people were saying it was good. Like really good. Suuuuure, let’s give this a try.

Was it good, really good? Eh. It was fine. None of the magic of a truly great children’s film, but it didn’t talk down to the kiddies either. I could see how those who grew up with this fluffball would appreciate it. Again, I don’t know him well enough to know how true to character it was, but he did come off as very British and very sincere. Ben Whishaw was a good vocal choice, I think, with the right blend of wonder and whimsy with a proper accent. My biggest joy, however, was seeing the current doctor, Peter Capaldi in a scene stealing small role. Well, scene stealing for me because I really wanted to see him.

So it still might not have been quite for me, though I found things to appreciate. The kids in the audience seemed to enjoy it. There was much high pitched laughter and a few very audible gasps at key moments. And really, it’s all for them, isn’t it?

Paddington – \m/ \m/ \m/”

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