Sunday, February 1, 2015

Paddington -- This Movie is Sweet as Marmalade

2014 was somewhat of a lackluster year of movies for families with younger children (elementary school age and under) to enjoy.  There were numerous times last year when my wife and I said let's take the family to go see a movie and there just wasn't anything that was suitable to take our 5 year old twins to go see playing at the theaters.  So it was nice to start off 2015 by going to the family friendly film PADDINGTON at our local MJR cinema.  I have to say that our family found the Paddington movie as enjoyable to watch as a bear from darkest Peru will find marmalade delicious. It really was a nice selection for a family outing to the movies.

It was a bit nostalgic going to see this film with my wife and kids, because the Paddington Bear novels by Michael Bond were the first books that I read entirely on my own as an elementary school aged student.  My aunt for a birthday present one year gave me a collection of the classic Paddington  children's books and a toy bear of the character to go with it.  I really adored Paddington Bear and his adventures in faraway London and after reading the books begging my mother every day to let my try marmalade.  Ugh when she finally let me try marmalade I hated the stuff but I have still always liked the mischievous, inquisitive, kind-hearted Paddington Bear.

The movie does a nice job of bringing Brown's first book "A Bear Called Paddington" to life on the silver screen though it does take a lot of liberties with its script and is more inspired by than portraying the novel.  The key characters from the books though are all featured in the movie: Paddington's Aunt Lucy, the Brown Family, the antique shop owner Mr. Gruber, and the mean spirited odd neighbor Mr. Curry.  The movie differentiates from the novel in that while the book is a series of humorous misadventures involving a bear adjusting to life in "civilization" the main storyline of the movie involves a taxidermist (played by Nicole Kidman) trying to kill and stuff Paddington so the rare Peruvian bear can be displayed in London's Natural History Museum. Though it didn't bother my kindergarten aged children, since this plot is of a darker nature than the light-hearted children's books the movie is based on people may want to be cautious of taking children who may be sensitive or scared by the the topic of death or scenario of someone trying to kill this little bear.  While the chase after Paddington is presented in an over-the-top comedic manner there are still some intense scenes that take place that may be too much for some younger viewers.  That being said my twins laughed throughout the movie and had a jolly good time.

The cgi (computer generated imagery) used to create Paddington Bear is very remarkable.  You really become immersed in the story and the character doesn't stand out as a cgi image but rather blends in to the point that you think of it as just another actor in the story.  Hats off to the creative team who blended the movie's real life scenery and actors with a cgi character in such a nice way.

PADDINGTON tells the story of the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) who travels across the sea hiding in a cargo ship to London, England in search of a home after his jungle life is destroyed by an earthquake. Finding himself lost and alone, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined - until he meets the kindly Brown family who read the label around his neck that says "Please look after this bear. Thank you," and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist.

My family all had our own favorite scenes from the movie. My son is still laughing about the bathroom flood scene which ends up having the curious bear flying down the Brown's flat's stairs in a bathtub.  I have to keep an eye on my toothbrush now as my daughter's favorite part was when Paddington used Mr. Brown's toothbrush as "ear cleaners" - yuck!  My wife thought the bear's interactions with London's pigeon population was hilarious and found a scene where he shares a moment with a Buckingham Palace guard adorable.  My favorite scene was when Paddington chases down a pick pocket saving the day and aiding the police while generously trying to return a dropped wallet to the thief not suspecting it may have been stolen.  The movie is full of fun scenes like these that will have you wanting to see more adventures with Paddington and with 13 novels for source material combined with the quality of this film I'm sure there will be sequels following.  So don't miss out on how the adventure begins and make an effort to watch PADDINGTON.

PADDINGTON gets A GEEK DADDY nod of approval because it was a movie that my wife and I felt taking our six year old children to see and the whole family enjoyed it. To quote my lovely wife "it really was a charming movie." If you are looking to start out the new year with a family outing to your local movie theater PADDINGTON provides an ideal opportunity. And just in case the movie theater popcorn doesn't fill you up...don't forget to keep a marmalade sandwich hidden under your hat.

P.S. Michael Bond who authored the Paddington novels appears in the film as the "Kindly Gentleman" though I found out about this after viewing the movie and am not sure where exactly his cameo was. There's an easter egg for you to hunt for when watching the movie.

You can purchase A Bear Called Paddington on


  1. We're big fans of this movie. I mean what is not to love. So much sweetness.

  2. I bet this was so cute! I need to borrow someone's kids to see this cuteness myself!

  3. Looks cute. Were you guys sitting next to us at Sponge Bob? Your kids looked familiar.

  4. I love Paddington Bear! Thank you for sharing!

  5. I love Paddington! They were my favorite books as a kid and the movie looks really good.

  6. Wow! Hopefully, it will be shown internationally too! Great kiddie movie indeed!