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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi Nicole Kidman and Ben Whishaw
Distributor: StudioCanal
RRP: £19.99
5 055201 827432
Certificate: PG
Release Date: 23 March 2015

Paddington is the magical adventure of a polite young Peruvian bear, who travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, it seems that city life is not all he imagined - until he meets the Brown family, who kindly offer him a place to stay. But little do the Browns realise just how much chaos one small bear can cause - and they soon discover that their lives will never be the same again...

It doesn't matter how old you are, or what your class background is, Paddington appeals to everyone and holds a special place in the hearts of thousands of fans. Whether you came to his tales through Michael Bond's original books, or one of the TV series (mid-'70s or late-'80s) once you're introduced to the bear you're hooked.

Personally, when I discovered they were going to make a movie I was filled with dread. My first fear was that it would be Americanised by Hollywood (thankfully that's not the case) and then I thought the fact that Paddington was going to be computer generated would be problematic. But, apart from the odd occasion, when you can see that the technology is still not quite there yet, you soon forget that he lives inside a computer.

There are lots of subtle references to Bond's original character, which if you're new to Paddington will go over your head. As Paddington is leaving his homeland for London he opens his suitcase to show he has packed several jars of marmalade. As the days pass he eats the marmalade and discards the jars... way more jars than he had in his suitcase. For fans of the books, they'll know that there is a secret compartment in Paddinton's suitcase that allows it to hold more items than appears to the untrained eye.

Other notable nods to the original source material include Paddington's "hard stare"; and the fact he keeps a marmalade sandwich under his hat "in case of emergencies"). All of Paddington's friends and family are present and correct (including his aunt and uncle; the Browns; Mrs Bird, Mr Curry and Mr Gruber). However, to make a story with some jeopardy we are introduced to a new villain in the form of Nicole Kidman as Millicent Clyde, a woman who is eager to stuff and mount Paddington as he represents a very rare species.

The story rattles along nicely and all of the cast are perfect in their roles, especially Hugh Bonneville as the serious, no nonsense, Mr Brown. And for fans of the books, Bond himself appears in a brief cameo.

Extras are a little thin on the ground and include Meet the Characters (2 min, 16 sec look at the main cast); When a Bear Comes to Stay (1 min, 48 sec that examines how much the use of silent comedy antics are employed); From Page to Screen (2 min, 56 sec looks at the transformation (kind of) from book to film); and a Photo Gallery.

This is an enjoyable family film that everyone will get a blast out of.


Darren Rea

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