Everyone’s favourite ursine Peruvian immigrant left his debut in such a warm and happy place, there’s a nagging lack of comic friction as we dive back in. The Brown family, living in their perfect multicultural haven of Windsor Gardens, are trying out some new eccentric hobbies, are they? Forgive us, makers of Paddington 2, for a light tapping of feet.
Impatience is dispelled for good as the plot kicks in, and it turns out – with all due respect to returning leads Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins, not to mention Ben Whishaw’s cuddly vocal work – to be all about the guest stars. The first set-piece to get dear, disaster-prone Paddington spinning from the rafters involves a barbershop, a prone Tom Conti as a pompous judge, and a set of vibrating clippers. We start to feel in safe hands once again, but it takes this burst of skittering chaos to do it.
And then Hugh Grant arrives. Essentially filling Nicole Kidman’s shoes as this instalment’s star villain, his role as a deliciously self-absorbed West End acting legend called Phoenix Buchanan is the gift that keeps on giving.
Through his machinations – it’s all to do with an antique pop-up book Paddington covets, which contains the clues, quite without him knowing, to a long-lost treasure stash – the poor bear is framed for robbery, and sentenced by a vindictive Conti to 10 years in jail.
His letters to beloved, 100-year-old Aunt Lucy suddenly have a mournful bent, though he does find time, by way of silver linings, to praise the prison’s imposing Victorian architecture and tip-top security.
Returning director Paul King, in cahoots with new co-writer Simon Farnaby, proves that the crackpot inspiration that powered his first one was no fluke. Prison is exactly the place for Paddington, in the sense that his understated melancholy makes him seem even more adorable behind bars. The shadow of his outsider status returns, and there’s a whole new set of characters for him to win over with his quaint, flummoxed ways.
Before long the refectory’s terrifying chef (a wild-eyed Brendan Gleeson) has been tamed and befriended through the simple power of marmalade. Paddington’s fellow inmates, meanwhile, stop grizzling, start skipping, and go on to exercise previously unguessed talents in confectionery-making. Our fashion-conscious bear, for one, thinks their new pink coveralls (his fault) are actually rather fetching. Point: Paddington.
Back at Windsor Gardens, the Browns run around to establish their brother’s innocence, with only one toxic, get-off-my-lawn neighbour wishing he’d stay behind lock and key. The words “With Peter Capaldi as Brexit” don’t actually adorn the opening credits, but they might as well do.
Beyond Conti, who lifts his walk-on role with gusto, and the briefly hilarious Eileen Atkins as a dotty fortune teller, the film gets all its biggest laughs from Gleeson and Grant, doing variations – but sublime ones – on the grumpy-giant routine and the vain git routine they habitually excel at.
Grant’s role, a prime contender for his funniest ever, is a blissful opportunity for him to ham it up, whether delivering Shakespearian orations to his own wigs, trying to sell a bemused Hawkins on his one-man show (“an evening of monologue and song”) or dressing as a nun to infiltrate St Paul’s.
If you can resist the sight of Hugh Grant dressed as a dog and sampling dog-food on a gleefully tatty TV spot – stardom isn’t what it was for Phoenix Buchanan – you’ll probably be able to resist Paddington 2. But it will really take some effort.
Our fabulous Social Night will be on Saturday 9th February - a night of films, food, quizzes and prizes!
Tickets are now available for our forthcoming Social Evening. This will take place on Saturday 9th February at St Mary's Creative Space, starting at 7.30pm. This event is open to all, not just members of the Film Society. Invite your friends along! The evening includes our famous wall quiz, raffle, caption competition and audio quiz. Some great prizes to be won!
Throughout the evening a selection of short films will be shown for your entertainment.
Food is included in the price, and will comprise a variety of curries (including vegetarian option), along with a sweet. Soft drink will also be available free of charge.
Tickets are just £12. Either buy from one of the films or online by clicking the Link below.
TICKETS ARE GUARANTEED TO SELL OUT - MAKE SURE YOU GET YOURS NOW!
Direct link to buy here
We'll be opening up Half Season memberships for all our 2019 films in the current season - that's 8 films for just £20!
Buy for yourself or as a Great Christmas gift for your film fan friend.
Direct link to buy here
Something BIG is happening to Chester Film Society. What? You'll have to wait and see.