About a year and a half ago, I spent a week on the Atlantic Coast with the in-laws. Good times (except for the really bad sunburn I got on my feet because who worries about their feet when you're getting ready to head to the beach, anyway?) Good and also very kid-heavy times.
So I ended up watching a number of kiddie films. Including Paddington, which had sounded like a bad idea from the moment I first heard that it had been greenlit. While hardly the biggest fan of the Michael Bond tales upon which the film was based, they'd always seemed charming, child-like, and fundamentally uncinematic in their simplicity (and in the fact that their main character was a talking bear). It was hard for me to imagine a successful cinematic interpretation of Bond's light-but-enjoyable efforts.
But I was wrong. Despite featuring a finale a bit too long in coming (and a bit too hectic once it arrives), the film captured much of the childlike simplicity and charm I remembered from the books. The effects were surprisingly immersive (although it's true that I don't quite know what a nice young talking bear would look like "in real life.") And while Nicole Kidman's villain (and many of the details of her story) feels a bit like it belongs in a more cynical, less endearing movie than this one, the vast majority of the film's characters are as genuinely light and enjoyable as one could have wanted. And the antics and strange, politeness-induced situations in which the marmalade-loving bear finds himself -- the most memorable stuff from Bond's stories, at least for me -- are as fun as one might have hoped. Plus, the message's not bad; not bad at all.
It's streaming on NETFLIX INSTANT. (Oh, and it has Peter Capaldi in it. So there's that.)
A young Peruvian bear travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he meets the kindly Brown family, who offer him a temporary haven.