Review / ‘Paddington 2’ (PG) ***

Sadly, Michael Bond, who created Paddington Bear to delight children of every age, died on the last day of filming. 

Would he have been happy with what writer/director Paul King has confected to add to the pleasures of this festive season? I suspect he would have. 

When the Brown family took Paddington to its heart, the little bear missed his Aunt Lucy. In a bookshop, he saw a pop-up book telling of the famous sights of London. What a wonderful Christmas for Aunt Lucy to show her where Paddington now lived! So Paddington became a window-cleaner to raise the purchase price. 

Alas, a thief stole the book. The police thought that Paddington had done that nefarious deed. An unsympathetic judge banged Paddington up for 10 years. Prison was not a lovely place, full of unkind men who feared the wrath of kitchen chief Nuckles McGinty. But Nuckles had an epiphany when Paddington gave him a marmalade sandwich. 

The cast includes a long list of illustrious names – for example, Hugh Bonneville as Mr Brown, Jim Broadbent as Mr Gruber, Brendan Gleeson as Nuckles, Peter Capaldi as an overbearing street warden, Hugh Grant as an actor of over-weening self-esteem. Why not go along and see how many familiar faces you recognise. 

“Paddington 2” is delightful fun for all ages, offering laughter, suspense and excitement unfolding among images of London landmarks (not many films include shots in the Whispering Gallery of St Paul’s) and of England’s green and pleasant land. And when you think it’s over because the closing credits have started, don’t leave. Hang about to enjoy the spectacle of Hugh Grant leading prison warders and villains in a hilarious song-and-dance routine.

At all cinemas

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