Paddington is a 2014 live-action animated comedy film written and directed by Paul King from a story by King and Hamish McColl and produced by David Heyman. Based on the stories of the character Paddington Bear created by Michael Bond, the film stars Ben Whishaw as the voice of the title character, with Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, and Nicole Kidman in live-action roles. The film tells the story of the eponymous character Paddington, an anthropomorphic bear who migrates from the jungles of Peru to the streets of London, where he is adopted by the Brown family. Kidman plays the role of a taxidermist, who attempts to add him to her collection.
UK theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Paul King|
|Produced by||David Heyman|
|Screenplay by||Paul King|
|Music by||Nick Urata|
|Edited by||Mark Everson|
|Box office||$268 million|
A British and French venture produced by StudioCanal UK, TF1 Films Production, and Heyday Films, principal photography began in September 2013, before wrapping in June 2014. Colin Firth was originally set to voice the role of Paddington, before dropping out in post-production and being replaced by Whishaw.
The film was released in the United Kingdom on 28 November 2014 to critical acclaim and grossed $268 million worldwide on a €38.5 (~$55) million budget. The film received two nominations at the British Academy Film Awards: Best British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay. A sequel, titled Paddington 2, was released on 10 November 2017, with King returning as director and screenwriter.
In the deep jungles of Darkest Peru, a British geographer happens upon a previously unknown species of bear. He is about to shoot it to take back a specimen to the United Kingdom when a second bear playfully takes his gun away and saves his life by removing a deadly scorpion from his jacket. He learns that this family of bears is intelligent and can learn English, and that they have a deep appetite for marmalade, naming them Lucy and Pastuzo. As he departs, he throws his hat to Pastuzo and tells the bears that they are always welcome should they wish to go to London.
About 40 years later, the two bears are living in harmony with their orphaned nephew, until a sudden earthquake destroys their home, forcing them to seek shelter underground. After saving Aunt Lucy from being trapped by a falling tree, Uncle Pastuzo is distracted and heartbroken at the loss of his home. As a result, he is unable to reach the shelter in time and is killed by another falling tree. The next morning, Uncle Pastuzo's hat is found by his nephew. Aunt Lucy encourages her nephew to go and find solace in London, and stows him away on a cargo ship, after which she says she will move into the Home for Retired Bears.
The young bear reaches London's Paddington Station, where he meets the Brown family, who take him home temporarily and name him after the station. Henry Brown, the father and a devoted risk analyst, does not believe a word of why he's here and is adamant that Paddington stay only one night while they find a place for him to live permanently, but his wife Mary - a story illustrator - and their two children find him endearing, as does family relative and housekeeper Mrs. Bird.
Paddington thinks he can find a home with the explorer who found Aunt Lucy and Uncle Pastuzo, but does not know his name. Since there seems to be no word of his expedition anywhere on the Internet, Mary takes Paddington to Samuel Gruber, an antique shop owner who discovers that the hat bears the stamp of the Geographers Guild, but the Guild says that they never sent a member to explore Darkest Peru. With the help of Henry, Paddington infiltrates the Guild's archive and discovers an expedition to Peru was undertaken by the explorer, whose name is Montgomery Clyde. He uses the city's phone books to track the addresses of all the "M. Clydes" in London.
Meanwhile, the hateful museum taxidermist Director Millicent captures, kills, and stuffs exotic animals to house in the Natural History Museum. When she becomes aware of Paddington, she immediately sets out to hunt him down. The Brown family departs for the day, leaving Paddington home alone. Scheming with the Browns nosy next-door neighbor Mr. Curry, Millicent sneaks in and attempts to capture Paddington; he manages to defend himself, but inadvertently starts a fire in the kitchen in the process. Disbelieving Paddington's statement of Millicent's capture attempt, Henry states that they must take him to the authorities as soon as possible and Mary reluctantly agrees.
Feeling unwanted at the Browns, Paddington leaves and attempts to track down Montgomery Clyde himself. He finally locates his house, only to find Millicent there, and learns that Clyde died years ago, and that Millicent is Clyde's daughter. She resents her father for losing his job and membership of the Guild; out of a change of heart, he refused to bring a valuable Peruvian bear specimen home, even though it would have made his family wealthy. Millicent is determined to succeed where her father failed and capture a Peruvian bear so she can become rich and famous herself. She tranquilizes Paddington and prepares to stuff him, but when Mr. Curry discovers her true intentions, he informs the Brown family and they rush to save Paddington. They rescue him, and Paddington subdues Millicent by throwing a marmalade sandwich at her which Uncle Pastuzo left in his hat for emergencies. This attracts a huge flock of pigeons, distracting her, as Mrs. Bird opens a roof hatch and pushes her off the roof, trapping her on a flagpole.
In the aftermath, the Browns allow Paddington to move in with their family and Millicent is arrested and sentenced to community service at the petting zoo her father opened after he lost his job. Paddington writes to Aunt Lucy saying he is happy and has finally found a home. Paddington is seen enjoying playing snowball fights with the Browns before he throws one at the camera before the film ends.
- Hugh Bonneville as Henry Brown
- Sally Hawkins as Mary Brown
- Madeleine Harris as Judy Brown
- Samuel Joslin as Jonathan Brown
- Julie Walters as Mrs. Bird
- Nicole Kidman as Millicent Clyde
- Lottie Steer as Young Millicent
- Jim Broadbent as Samuel Gruber
- Peter Capaldi as Mr. Curry
- Tim Downie as Montgomery Clyde
- Simon Farnaby as Barry
- Matt Lucas as Joe
- Matt King as Andre the Thief
- Geoffrey Palmer as Head geographer
- Michael Bond as the Kindly Gentleman
The film was first announced in September 2007, with David Heyman producing and Hamish McColl writing the screenplay. Further developments were not made until September 2013, when filming began and Heyman announced the casting of Colin Firth as Paddington. With a budget of €38.5 million ($50–55 million), Paddington is the most expensive film produced by the French production company StudioCanal. Principal photography and production began on 13 September 2013.
In June 2014, after principal photography had wrapped, Firth voluntarily dropped out of the film, after the studio decided his voice was not suitable for Paddington. The role was recast the following month, with Ben Whishaw signing on to voice the title role. Paddington was created using a combination of computer-generated imagery (by the British company Framestore) and animatronics.
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||13 January 2015|
All music is composed by Nick Urata, except where noted.
|1.||"Marmalade Harvest"||Nick Urata||1:43|
|2.||"Journey from Peru"||Nick Urata||2:22|
|3.||"London Is the Place for Me"||D Lime featuring Tobago Crusoe||2:39|
|4.||"I Got You (I Feel Good)"||James Brown||2:47|
|5.||"Arrival in London"||Nick Urata||1:51|
|6.||"This Will Do Nicely"||Nick Urata||1:22|
|7.||"Duel with Facilities"||Nick Urata||2:13|
|8.||"The Letter Home"||Nick Urata||2:57|
|9.||"Millicent's Lab"||Nick Urata||1:49|
|10.||"Gruber's Story"||Nick Urata||0:38|
|11.||"Thief Chase"||Nick Urata||1:49|
|12.||"Born to Be Wild"||Steppenwolf||3:29|
|13.||"Bear Bath"||Nick Urata||1:41|
|15.||"The Explorer's Film"||Nick Urata||2:45|
|16.||"Millicent Invasion"||Nick Urata||1:53|
|17.||"Gerrard Street"||D Lime featuring Tobago Crusoe||2:33|
|18.||"Ringing Doorbells"||Nick Urata||1:57|
|19.||"Museum Chase"||Nick Urata||4:15|
|20.||"Blow Wind Blow"||D Lime featuring Tobago Crusoe||1:59|
|21.||"Escape from Millicent"||Nick Urata||2:29|
|22.||"Savito"||D Lime featuring Tobago Crusoe||2:01|
|23.||"He Is Family"||Nick Urata||1:20|
In November 2014 the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) gave the film a PG certificate for its UK release and advised parents that the film contained "dangerous behaviour, mild threat, mild sex references [and] mild bad language." Paul King, the film's director, told BBC reporter Tim Muffett: "I'm not surprised about that [the PG certificate] but I don't think it's a PG for sexiness. That I would find very odd." Paddington's creator, Michael Bond, said he was "totally amazed" at the BBFC's advice. After the film's distributor challenged the certification, the BBFC revised the wording of its parental guidance, replacing "mild sex references" with "innuendo." It also further qualified the "mild bad language" as "infrequent", saying it referred to "a single mumbled use of 'bloody'."
Paddington was released on 28 November 2014 in the United Kingdom, where it took in $8 million (£5.1 million) on its opening weekend, and topped the box office for two weeks. It was StudioCanal's highest opening and the second-highest 2014 family film debut in the country behind The Lego Movie. For the week ending 9 December 2014 it topped the box office in France. For the week ending 24 December 2014 it topped the box office in Australia.
The film was released in the United States by TWC-Dimension on 16 January 2015. The film opened to third place in its first weekend, earning $19.0 million, behind American Sniper and The Wedding Ringer, and closed with a total of $76.3 million.
The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes sampled 153 reviews and judged 97% of them to be positive with an average rating of 7.84/10. The site states that "Paddington brings a beloved children's character into the 21st century without sacrificing his essential charm, delivering a family-friendly adventure as irresistibly cuddly as its star." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 77 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating generally favourable reviews. According to CinemaScore, audiences gave the film a grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.
Upon its UK release, Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film four out of five stars, saying: "the new CGI-live-action Paddington Bear could easily have been another garish, cheapo Brit-movie. Instead, writer-director Paul King ... and co-writer Hamish McColl have created a charming and sweet-natured family film, full of wit and fun, skewed towards young children but cheekily speckled with sly gags pitched at the older audience." Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent called it a "film of considerable charm but one undermined by a very bitty and flimsy screenplay. Writer-director Paul King has more flair for comic set-pieces than he does for sustained narrative."
Indiewire said critics were "pleasantly surprised" and that the film was "hailed for its warm-heartedness and playful sense of humor ... and Whishaw's charming performance". Guy Lodge of Variety praised it for "honouring the everyday quirks of Bond's stories, while subtly updating their middle-class London milieu". Leslie Felperin of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a positive review, saying: "It's a relief to report that the final film is actually quite charming, thoughtful and as cuddly as a plush toy, albeit one with a few modern gizmos thrown in." Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club gave the film a B, saying: "If the film seems head-and-shoulders above the average effects-driven family-matinee flick, it's because it never gives the impression that it's trying to be anything more (or less) than good-natured and fun to watch." Jason Clark of Entertainment Weekly gave the film an A-, saying: "A gloriously whimsical big-screen debut that's closer to the madcap spirit of the Muppets and the lovingly rendered style of a Wes Anderson film than to standard multiplex family fodder." Claudia Puig of USA Today gave the film three out of four stars, saying: "Paddington's journey from South America to London is just droll enough for adults – qualifying as a gentle parable about xenophobia – and exuberant enough for the youngest viewers." Moira MacDonald of The Seattle Times gave the film three out of five stars, saying: "Paddington is, ultimately, about how a newcomer can become part of a family, and about how good manners and marmalade can get you out of any tricky situation – delightful messages, at any age." Bruce Demara of the Toronto Star gave the film three out of four stars, saying: "It's a relief to say that – as films based on fictional animals go – Paddington is better than merely bearable."
Barbara VanDenburgh of The Arizona Republic gave the film three and a half stars out of five, saying: "Paddington is a mostly smart update loaded with charm, and it preserves enough of the fuzzy feelings for purists to walk away with a smile." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film four out of five stars, saying: "An irresistible charmbomb. The in-jokes are verbal and visual, managing to reference themes as diverse as immigration and insider trading. It's all very droll and quietly, memorably dazzling." Sandie Angulo Chen of The Washington Post gave the film three out of four stars, saying: "Because of its adorable protagonist, laugh-out-loud gags and touching premise, Paddington succeeds in a way most CGI/live-action hybrids do not." Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review, saying: "Artfully and cleverly, the sweet spirit of that young bear from darkest Peru and his many London misadventures materializes brilliantly on screen in the very good hands of writer-director-conjurer Paul King."
Mary Houlihan of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three and a half stars out of four, saying: "This is a charming film whose underlying message of tolerance and acceptance strikes a palpable chord in today's world – both for children and adults." Jocelyn Noveck of the Associated Press gave the film a positive review, saying: "For parents looking for a film that'll please them and their kids in equal measure, Paddington is—as Goldilocks would say in that other bear story—just right." Tom Long of The Detroit News gave the film a B+, saying: "Paddington is an absolute delight, visually inventive, thoroughly goofy and goosed by a mix of dry British wit and pratfall shenanigans."
Two years after the film’s release, in 2016, Empire magazine ranked Paddington 81st on their list of the 100 best British films, with their entry stating, “A great big hug of a movie, Paddington charmed the public and critics alike in one of the nicest surprises of 2014, adding itself to the canon of beloved Christmas movies.”
|68th British Academy Film Awards||Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film||David Heyman and Paul King||Nominated|
|Best Adapted Screenplay||Paul King||Nominated|
|20th Empire Awards||Best British Film||David Heyman and Paul King||Nominated|
|Best Comedy Film||David Heyman and Paul King||Won|
|41st Saturn Awards||Best Fantasy Film||David Heyman and Paul King||Nominated|
|2015 South Bank Sky Arts Award||Best Film||David Heyman and Paul King||Nominated|
|British Academy Children's Awards||BAFTA Kids' Vote - Feature Film||Paddington||Nominated|
|Feature Film||David Heyman and Paul King||Won|
|Movieguide Awards||Best Movie for Families||Paddington||Nominated|
A sequel to the film was released on 10 November 2017 in the United Kingdom. David Heyman returned to produce. Paul King returned to direct and co-wrote the sequel with Simon Farnaby. A third film has also been confirmed.
On 9 October 2017, it was announced that StudioCanal were producing an animated TV series based on the films, set to launch in either late 2018 or early 2019. It was announced in February 2019, that the series will launch worldwide in 2020 on Nickelodeon, with Whishaw reprising his voice of Paddington.
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