Paddington, the Movie
By DJ Forrest
Paddington bear first made his appearance on October 13th 1958, in a book called A Bear Called Paddington. He was the creation of Michael Bond, and was based upon a bear he had noticed sitting alone on a shelf in a London store near Paddington Station on Christmas Eve, 1956, which he bought for his wife as a Christmas present.
In the story of the bear whose favourite food of all was a marmalade sandwich, of which, in cases of emergency, should be kept stored under his hat, came from the 'Darkest Peru', and was sent by his Aunt Lucy to live in London as he was always guaranteed a welcome.
Paddington is taken home by the Brown family. He's called Paddington by Mrs Brown, after the name of the station to which she finds him. His 'bear' name is a serious of loud growls, which aren't exactly printable.
It was the television series that drew my attention to the marmalade loving bear. Those began broadcasting in 1975 by a London based animation company called FilmFair. It was a different kind of animation to those of Danger Mouse and the animation of today. Paddington was a stop-motion puppet that moved around a 3D set, where much of the other characters, Mr Brown and family, Mr Curry - who Paddington always managed to upset somehow, and Mr Gruber with whom he visited for his elevenses on a daily basis were 2D characters. It was interesting, although I didn't think about it at the time, how this form of animation worked. Whenever one of the characters interacted with Paddington, such as when Mr Brown would hand Paddington a jar of Marmalade in 2D, it would immediately become a 3D object as soon as Paddington touched it.
So I was very curious as to how Paddington was going to work as an animation in a film with real people. Well, actors! Of course, we've seen it before. We've seen it from television to cinema screens. Working with a character that doesn't really exist and you spend your entire time talking to a stick with a tennis ball on the end, or a green screen!
What's very interesting is how 'lifelike' Paddington is. Over the years we've seen how advanced animation has become, from cinema effects such as Planet of the Apes, to video games, where every hair on the animated body moves individually, giving the effect that it is infact as real as the actors performing with it.
The film was great on so many levels, of course, I always have an ulterior motive for reviewing this film, as you may already know. There are some very familiar cast members who have obviously appeared in some of our favourite reviewable shows, none more so than a certain 12th Doctor, and Hugh Bonneville, who played a Captain of a pirate ship with the 11th Doctor, some years past. There's also quite obvious, half the adult cast of Harry Potter, without perhaps Hagrid star Robbie Coltrane of course.
Peter Capaldi plays the iconic nosey neighbour, who we've all known in our lives at some point. We all hate them but we wouldn't wish them any ill will - well maybe a smidgen. But his character as bad as he is initially, does have a heart of gold that comes out towards the end of the story, so it's as well to look out for this. There's absolutely no element of the Doctor, nor should there be. I think this film came out before he was the Doctor if I'm not mistaken. (I'm often mistaken).
The film was released on 28th November 2014. It had a star studded cast, with Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton, Matt Lucas, Hugh Bonneville, Peter Capaldi, Ben Wishaw, Julie Walters and Nicole flippin' Kidman, playing as ever, the scary baddie, and oh does she play it well.
It's a great film, with a lot of comedy elements as well as a few sad scenes. It's well put together and a fantastic family movie. If you haven't seen it yet – Where have you been, Darkest Peru?