How 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.
|Visit the London Paddington Bear Trail|
|Bunny And The Bull & Paul King at MOVIE-CON 2|
|Top 12 Things to do at The Making of Harry Potter Tour|
|An Evening with Noel Fielding Live Tour|
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|
|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|
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.
Michael Bond, Paul King
Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Nicole Kidman, Ben Whishaw, Peter Capaldi, Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton, Jim Broadbent, Matt Lucas
28 November 2014
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).
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 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.
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.
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:
... 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.
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|
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's is a retired superhero, an obsessive hobbyist, comics fan, gadget lover & flâneur who knows an unhealthy amount about Ian Fleming's James Bond.|
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