I’d heard of Paddington Bear before I saw the trailer for the new 2014 Paddington film, but I wasn’t exactly sure where or how I knew about him. So, as the research enthusiast that I am, I looked it up. Turns out that Paddington came into literature existence back in 1958 when Michael Bond, then cameraman, created him as a character for a children’s book. The book became very popular quickly, so popular that before long Michael Bond was able to quit his cameraman job, and focus on his writing career.
Originally Paddington Bear came to life in the TV series Paddington (1976-1987). Back then he was an actual puppet teddy bear, and he performed all his adorable gags by the art of stop-motion. He came back to TV again in 1997-2009 in The Adventures of Paddington Bear, this time as a hand-drawn animated character.
It’s 2014 and Paddington is given the full CGI upgrade in a blockbuster film. And let me just say, that he looks stunning! The technical aspects of this film are what made it an A grade movie for me. The opening scenes when Paddington is in ‘Darkest Peru’, in his natural habitat, are the most visually impressive. When Paddington eventually makes it to London, it really is a delight to watch him interact with ‘real’ people. Because of the way that technology is going in this department, I’m excited to see what else is thrown our way, perhaps some new creative and loveable characters, blending with ‘real’ tangible people?
Paddington definitely feels like a Wes Anderson, Marry Poppins and 101 Dalmations hybrid of sorts, but, the result is a very enjoyable piece of cinema. It was almost by chance that we got to see this film at the cinemas, I am glad that we did, because its truly intended for the big screen. The photography for this film is clean and very elegant, I love it. The story is very easy to follow, and it feels great to watch, you’ll have a smile on your face after the credits roll.
Michael Bond clearly approves of this new Paddington, he even cameos early in the film. A clue as to where he appears in the film, is embedded in this post! I love the way that Bond describes Paddington Bear: “The great advantage of having a bear as a central character is that he can combine the innocence of a child with the sophistication of an adult. Paddington is not the sort of bear who would ever go to the moon – he has his paws too firmly on the ground for that. He gets involved in everyday situations. He has a strong sense of right and wrong and doesn’t take too kindly to the red-tape bureaucracy of the sillier rules and regulations with which we humans surround ourselves. As a bear, he gets away with things. Paddington is humanised, but he couldn’t possibly be a human – it just wouldn’t work.” I reckon we need more ‘Paddington Bears’ in our society, just saying…
Paddington is a celebration of the creative genius Michael Bond. Its worth raising our wine glasses and toasting him for bringing us the cute, noble, honest, kind, and clumsy Paddington Bear!
TRIVIA COOKIE: Shout out to Nick Urata, the composer of Paddington, the music is really great! The calypso band that is seen throughout the film is called D Lime. Director Paul King wanted to include them as a tribute to the numerous immigrant population in London. The music they perform is old and new, some dating back to 1951, here is one of the upbeat tunes that carry Paddington through all sorts of marmalade infused mischievousness.