First Look: Paddington - Hugh Bonneville gives us a sneak peek at Paddington or you won't believe how this lost bear from Peru reacts when he meets this family with 8 year old kids. You can bearly imagine what happens next - Event Report


Posted by Craig Grobler on Google+ On Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cuban Fury NIck Frost IntroductionHow do I frame Paddington? Do I talk anecdotally about my history with Michael Bond's much loved bear? Or do I jump in with the James Bond like reboot (also starring Ben Whishaw) of the Peruvian Ursidae? Well bear with me here.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of going along to a sneak peek of Director Paul King's Paddington. That is Paul King - the same man who directed the incredibly imaginative Mighty Boosh TV series (& live tour) and 2009's Bunny and the Bull. I don't want to labour it - but The Mighty Boosh is one of the most ingenious shows we have had on TV in a good long time and some of the credit must go to Paul King's dynamic and clever direction making budget obstacles springboards for creativity.

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I have a particular soft spot for Paddington as like him I left my homeland to settle in the UK. Coming from a country that used to have a rather blunt approach to culture, more so to childhood culture - granted there were always a lot of other issues that were more pressing. I have always been fond of the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens and of course the Paddington Bear statue in Paddington Station - they represent Britishness for me as well as something beyond that. Someone took the time to create a monument to childhood dreams with (arguably) no immediate financial return (creator of Peter Pan, JM Barrie gave all the rights to Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital)  and Paddington Bear has a teamed up with the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) with the Paddington Bear Trail. This type of  goodwill was recently extended to Kings Cross Station where you can find Harry Potter's Platform 9.5 - they are touchstones for generations of children to enjoy - something I have always felt was the sign of a great nation.

Not only that, but Paddington's dress sense has always personified the travellers maxim for me - Be prepared. Besides which for a long time I commuted from Reading into London, Paddington Station to be exact and many a late night was spent waiting for the express train homewards with Paddington keeping me company

Paddington Bear outfit for The Paddington Bear Trail
Paddington Bear outfit for The Paddington Bear Trail

The Establishing Shot:  PADDINGTON STATUE - PADDINGTON STATION LONDON
The Establishing Shot:  PADDINGTON STATUE - PADDINGTON STATION LONDON

So I was understandably very keen to see what Paul King had done with Michael Bond's much loved Paddington and I eagerly made my way into Central London for a taste of Paddington hosted by Hugh Bonneville who took some time out of his schedule to introduce four clips from Paddington to us.

Paddington Film Poster
Paddington Film Poster
From the beloved novels by Michael Bond and producer David Heyman (HARRY POTTER), PADDINGTON tells the story of the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) who travels to the city in search of a home. 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.

Paddington

A young English boy befriends a talking bear he finds at a London train station. A live-action feature based on the series of popular children's books by Michael Bond.

Director:
Paul King


Writers:
Michael Bond, Paul King


Stars:
Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Nicole Kidman, Ben Whishaw, Peter Capaldi, Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton, Jim Broadbent, Matt Lucas


UK Release Date:
28 November 2014
A special thanks to the Soho Hotel Mixicologist team who, to celebrate Paddington's big screen debut, created a wonderful tangy and exotic - probably not from Peru though - Marmalade Cocktail to accompany the screening.

The Establishing Shot: A SNEAK PEEK OF PADDINGTON MARMALADE COCKTAILS  - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
The Establishing Shot: A SNEAK PEEK OF PADDINGTON MARMALADE COCKTAILS  - SOHO HOTEL, LONDON
Once we were settled in. Hugh Bonneville, who plays Mr Brown the father of Paddington's adopted family, set up and introduced the four clips.

The Establishing Shot: HUGH BONNEVILLE INTRODUCES PADDINGTON by Craig Grobler, on Flickr
The Establishing Shot: HUGH BONNEVILLE INTRODUCES PADDINGTON by Craig Grobler, on Flickr

Below I have joined the clips into a single edit as Bonneville gives a pretty good spoiler-free introduction to what you can expect from Paddington, which you kind of get from the new Paddington trailer, even further down, as well.

Apologies for the shoddy camera work, bear in mind I was sipping on a delicious Marmalade Cocktail at the same time and wasn't entirely sure I was going to use any of this, but it really was a pretty decent introduction to Paddington (from what I have seen so far).

The Establishing Shot:HUGH BONNEVILLE INTRODUCES A SNEAK PEEK AT PADDINGTON


In the first clip the Browns - Mr. Brown (Hugh Bonneville), Mrs. Brown (Sally Hawkins), Jonathan Brown (Samuel Joslin) and Judy Brown (Madeleine Harris) - have just met the lost Paddington (Ben Whishaw) at Paddington Station. Whilst the majority of the family are looking for help, Mr Brown gets to know him a little better, and when the family return we get to see how Paddington gets his name and ends up with the Brown family. Sharp-eyed Paddington fans may spot a special author cameo in the station.

Paddington Ben Whishaw at Paddington Station
Paddington Ben Whishaw at Paddington Station 

In the second clip we see a rather dubious character and I must confess I'm a little unsure of this - but I believe it was a policeman played by Dominic Coleman - who has been tracking Paddington on his journey into the UK and we see him relaying the story of a mysterious traveller making his way to the UK on a ship - he is reporting his findings to a very clinical museum taxidermist Millicent (Nicole Kidman) - who seems to have a rather deep interest in the bear from Peru.

Paddington Nicole Kidman as Millicent
Paddington Nicole Kidman as Millicent

In the final clip Mrs. Brown (Sally Hawkins) has taken Paddington along to visit Mr. Gruber (Jim Broadbent) and amongst the tea and model train set, we discover that Mr. Gruber and Paddington share a similar history as they have both left their homes at a young age. Sadly Mr. Gruber's departure was not a very happy one at all and a sad reminder of one of the darkest times in history.

Paddington Sally Hawkins as Mrs. Brown, Paddington & Jim Broadbent as Mr. Gruber
Paddington Sally Hawkins as Mrs. Brown, Paddington & Jim Broadbent as Mr. Gruber

That clip ran into the final scenes, which was action all the way. We start off with the Browns and Paddington shopping. Paddington spots a dropped wallet dutifully he tries to return it to its "owner" - Matt King who in turn tries his hardest to evade Paddington in a madcap chase scene across town involving buses, taxis (keep an eye out for Matt Lucas), the police and Paddington ending up high in the sky undeterred.


Video: Paddington Official Movie Trailer #3 [HD]

The first thing that struck me was just how good the special effects are, unsurprising maybe, as the team behind the special effects are some of the top talent in the UK involved in the Marvel films - Harry Potter films, Superman, Batman, and Interstellar to name a few. The effects were so good that it was a bit eery watching a bear talking and interacting with real people. It took a little while to get used to Paddington moving like a real bear - I'm used to seeing him move like a clone of a human.

Secondly, and to be honest, I was watching out for this as I was curious to hear/see what the outcome of Ben Whishaw replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington might be. Too be honest it would be impossible to judge like for like. But it doesn't surprise me that Firth decided to bow out, after seeing Paddington in action - he is a very young, just out of the jungle bear.

Not to cast aspersions on Firth's range of talent but he is definitely in the more refined and sophisticated side of the pool, possibly more suited to Paddington's uncle Mayfair. Whilst we really didn't see enough to make clear cut assessment. Ben Whishaw's Paddington seemed to be everything he should be, and as Bonneville mentioned in his introductions:

The Establishing Shot: HUGH BONNEVILLE INTRODUCES PADDINGTON by Craig Grobler, on Flickr
The Establishing Shot: HUGH BONNEVILLE INTRODUCES PADDINGTON by Craig Grobler, on Flickr


... and Ben Whishaw inhabits the bear rather wonderfully

                                                                                                                  - Hugh Bonneville


The width of talent involved is astounding and Paddington seems to be heading in the same direction as Harry Potter when it comes to its casting of stellar talent.

Video: Paddington: From Page To Screen – New Featurette

Finally the only down side to the sneak peek was that there wasn't really enough to get a feel for the depth of charm of Paddington or the insane wacky genius of Paul King.

The original Paddington TV series was all about the charm and whilst I always thought the lo-fidelity TV show was outdated even when it was new, as much of the magic of Paddington came from the format of the show as from the bear himself. This new Paddington may bridge this in the full film but it already seems that Paddington feels less like an old friend visiting again and more like a new friend beginning an adventure for a new generation.

Paddington Poster The Adventure Begins
Paddington Poster The Adventure Begins 

Adapted from Michael Bond’s beloved books, Paddington follows the comic misadventures of a polite young bear with an endearing talent for comic chaos.

From David Heyman, the producer of Harry Potter and Gravity, Paddington is set to be the must-see family film this Christmas.

Paddington has grown up deep in the Peruvian jungle with his Aunt Lucy who, inspired by a chance encounter with an English explorer, has raised her nephew to dream of an exciting life in London. When an earthquake destroys their home, Aunt Lucy decides to smuggle her young nephew on board a boat bound for England, in search of a better life. Arriving alone at Paddington Station, Paddington soon finds that city life is not all he had imagined – until he meets the kindly Brown family, who find him with a label tied around his neck which reads ‘Please look after this bear. Thank you.’ They offer him a temporary home whilst he searches for the explorer who impressed Aunt Lucy all those years before.

But when Paddington catches the eye of a sinister, seductive taxidermist, it isn’t long before his home – and very existence – is under threat ...

Paddington’s first big screen adventure will be opening in UK cinemas from November 28th 2014

The Establishing Shot: FIRST LOOK: PADDINGTON - HUGH BONNEVILLE GIVES US A SNEAK PEEK AT PADDINGTON OR YOU WON'T BELIEVE HOW THIS LOST BEAR FROM PERU REACTS WHEN HE MEETS THIS FAMILY WITH 8 YEAR OLD KIDS. YOU CAN BEARLY IMAGINE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT - EVENT REPORT

Craig Grobler phones Home
Craig's is a retired superhero, an obsessive hobbyist, comics fan, gadget lover & flâneur who knows an unhealthy amount about Ian Fleming's James Bond.

When not watching or making films he takes pictures, eats, drinks, dives, mentally storyboards the greatest film ever made & sometimes utilises owl-themed gadgets to fight crime. 

A list of his 133 favourite films can be found hereIf you would still like to contact Craig please use any of the buttons below: 


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