Tuesday, 16 December 2014

REVIEW - PADDINGTON (PAUL KING)


Inspired perhaps by the success of The Muppets reboot, Bunny and the Bull director Paul King was hired to helm a similar vehicle for popular British children's TV character Paddington Bear, to provide an update that remains reverential to its legacy whilst modernising its tone without resorting to gimmickry and fads. King was the right choice for the project, since he accomplishes this act admirably. Paddington is a smart, neat and, indeed, modern affair, achieving the impressive feat of servicing both the audience with some familiarity with the character, and the audience with none. His iteration of Paddington is in keeping with his quaint origins, the nature of the character itself largely unchanged, while the spirit of the surrounding film has just the right level of tongue-in-cheek quirk to satisfy those looking for a standalone film of genuine value, and those looking not to have this beloved figure of British culture defiled. Mainly, it's an immensely affable, plain old fun time at the cinema, none too challenging, but serving a purpose in being quite expertly assembled in its general goodness, for lack of greatness. King doesn't shy from employing kooky British humour in any and every potential outlet - a sound commercial decision, no doubt; creatively, it'll prove divisive, but he's playing to his and the material's strengths, and to my tastes. His appropriation of cinematic techniques, though, in relaying this humour from script to screen, is marginally off-kilter, with a discernibly laidback quality to the storytelling that doesn't become its otherwise sprightly demeanour. But Paddington is a charming film nonetheless, and a near-perfectly judged reboot for 2014.