The simple answer is no. Paddington 2 is not as scary, but just like its predecessor, it is a wonderful heart-warming movie. Plus, from our experience, it has enough to keep young children, teens and parents fully entertained.
Which makes it a real winner – and this time for young children too. In our screening, there were no little shrieks, sudden dashes to the loo or requests to sit on mum or dad’s lap.
So, is there a villain?
Yes, no self-respecting kids’ movie nowadays comes without an evil crim. But this time the chilling Cruella DeVil-style of Nicole Kidman has been replaced by dastardliness – in the shape of has-been actor Phoenix Buchanan, hilariously played by Hugh Grant.
And is there a ‘snatched from the claws of death’ moment?
Yes, there’s one scene with the now familiar ‘hold my hand and we’ll face this together’ moment (think Toy Story 3 and SpongeBob SquarePants movie). But the life-saving moment is just one of many golden times in a joyful story.
The movie has reassurance throughout. Whatever peril Paddington faces, he does so with politeness and a belief that everything will be alright in the end. The movie paints a nostalgic gentle-natured world that’s part Mary Poppins, part Bedknobs & Broomsticks and a place where even the intimidating convicts are nice guys really.
Is it as good as the first Paddington movie?
Yes. After a slightly cautious start, the film gets going and just keeps getting better. Visually it’s colourful and energetic, the storyline is pacy and inventive, and there are lots of laughs – with plenty of slapstick for the younger viewers.
Any highlights for parents?
Absolutely. Firstly, there’s a magnificent roll call of the best of British actors – Julie Walters, Sanjeev Bhaskar (with a lovely window-cleaning moment), Sally Hawkins, Peter Capaldi, Meera Syal, Tom Conti (the list could go on and on) and there was a small but audible cheer when Richard Ayoade made an appearance.
Plus there are cute little sub-plots that tie up satisfyingly at the end – Mr Brown’s midlife crisis, Mrs Brown’s channel swimming and their son Jonathan’s uncool train hobby. Funny how they all pay out in the Paddington world.
In a nutshell
If only all kids’ movies were this good, and sequels for that matter. After being dragged along to The Emoji movie, Nut Job 2 and My Little Pony this year, hallelujah for this endearing and truly family-friendly film.