'Paddington' Movie Will Charm Parents as Much as Their Kids

Paddington movieAny book lover knows the angst of seeing one of your favorite tales turned into a film. Any parent knows that anxiety doubles when it's a well-loved children's classic remade for the big screen. For fans of Paddington, Michael Bond's accident-prone but exceedingly polite bear from Darkest Peru, the question of the weekend is whether the marmalade-loving creature's venture into theaters is worth a trip with the kids.

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The answer is a resounding yes.

In clear evidence of how far CGI animation has come, the computer created bear -- voiced by Ben Wishaw -- is every bit as cuddly as readers would expect. And those unfamiliar with the British children's books need not fear being confused as the storyline begins before Paddington is even born.

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Opening in Darkest Peru with the visit of an English explorer rescued by two bears -- later identified as Paddington's Aunt Lucy and Uncle Pastuzo -- the film attempts to explain why this bear talks, wears clothes, and is so darned polite. After a disaster befalls the family (parents of younger and more sensitive kids will take comfort in knowing this scene -- while scary -- is over almost before it begins), Aunt Lucy moves on to the Home for Retired Bears and her nephew stows away on a trip to England where he will, of course, end up in Paddington Station and meet the Browns who share his many adventures in the book.

Nicole Kidman is deliciously evil as a villian in spikey heels and Sally Hawkins perfectly portrays just the sort of mom you'd expect to take a chance on inviting a strange bear in a train station back to the home she shares with her children, but the film enjoys a clean 1950s sensibility due to the filmmakers' loyalty to Bond's sweet hero who saves his dark stares for those who are impolite.

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While largely lacking the fart jokes and much of the innuendo pumped into today's classic kiddie fare to keep the parents engaged, the Brown family's ups and downs are so relatable that adults can't help but follow along. And they're sure to leave the theater reminding their kids that while Paddington's mistakes are many (many, many), he always puts them right ... or tries to, anyway.

When I asked my 9-year-old daughter and mini film critic for her favorite scene in the film, she was very clear, "Every one with Paddington in it." There it is ...

Paddington opens everywhere on January 16. The film is rated PG.

Who is your child's favorite book character? Have they been put in a film yet?

 

Image via The Weinstein Company

 

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