Tuesday night, I took the liberty of viewing both of the 'Paddington' movies out of sheer curiosity based on both of their ratings. And, if you've already read my Now Playing review of 'Paddington 2', you'll note that I hold both of these movies in very high regard as something both children and adults can like and enjoy very much.
The first 'Paddington' here is much more of a sort of "fish-out-of-water" story in which Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is taken out of darkest Peru from his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) after a natural disaster, and delivered to a ship that will take him to London. There, he is found and taken in by the Brown family until they can find him a home.
In the meantime, every movie needs a villain. This one is a nasty huntress named Millicent (Nicole Kidman) who's mission is simple; kill and stuff Paddington, putting him on display. Their encounters end up being a bit of silly fun, as it's one of those cartoonish matters of hero defeating villain completely by accident. But I have to say that in comparison to the villain in 'Paddington 2', this one seems just a little more off the wall harsh for an otherwise fun-filled family fantasy. Not to say that she's unwatchable, but her motives aren't really revealed until near the end. One might compare her to a Cruella DeVille, but even she had the desire to make a coat. Millicent just wants to stuff and mount this bear who can speak perfect English and is overly kind and polite to people.
Some of the things to touch on here that the second film carries through nicely have to do with they overall style and feel of everything. There are neat little set pieces some of these characters walk through that are all sort of in the mind of Paddington. For example, when he writes his Aunt, he describes the Brown family, and we're shown everyone walking around a sort of doll house. Or when he's watching a home movie, and walks up and through the screen, giving way to the concept of his imagination at work. Or the tree in the stairwell that changes it's leaves based on the overall mood of the film. A bit artsy for some, but I think it makes things pop. The second film does a lot of very similar things as well.
Otherwise, there's not much more to say. I would highly recommend checking these movies out, back to back, either with the family or even just by yourself if you need a bit of cheering up. They both add a little bit of sunshine to your day, and much like 'The Peanuts Movie', they REFRAIN from trying to make things look "cool". You get pretty much what you might expect from a Paddington Bear movie, nothing more, nothing less. Check it out, and bring a smile to your face.