Quantcast

Paddington 2 (Blu-ray Review)

It’s practically unfair how good Paddington 2 is when considering other movies. Seriously, there’s no reason the first Paddington should have been great, let alone have a sequel that tops it, and now other films coming this year will have to compete with hopes to have the same genuine level of quality. This is the rare family film treat that can work for everyone due to how enjoyable the comedy is, how sweet the film is, and just how well it puts in a message without drowning it out thanks to the terrific work from all the actors involved. If that praise seems excessive, so be it, but Paddington 2 is exceedingly good at being a charming, fun film that also finds a way to matter in today’s age. Since it was somewhat rejected in theaters (shame on all of you), everyone can now see what they missed in this Blu-ray set.

Film:

Following a brief Peru-set prologue, reminding audiences why Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) has a great deal of love for his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton) and Uncle Pastuzo (Michael Gambon), we find Paddington in search of the perfect gift for his aunt’s 100th birthday. Paddington soon comes across a beautiful pop-up book of London, but it costs far too much money. His solution is to work and earn money, but this plan is upset by a thief who steals the book for his own purposes. Unfortunately, the police catch Paddington instead of the thief and the lovable bear is sentenced to 10 years in prison. Now it will be up to the Brown family to find the real thief, while Paddington deals with his time behind bars.

As the first film has already established how little it matters that a walking, talking bear can exist with humans in London, Paddington 2 works as the best kind of sequel. It is a film less concerned with being bigger and better by rehashing the story of the first movie and fully prepared to make good by further exploring what made the character and the previous film work while heading in a new direction. As a result, the movie feels familiar in all the right kinds of ways, yet it delivers a clever standalone story complete with character arcs and a fantastic new villain.

That villain is Phoenix Buchanan, a washed-up, narcissistic actor portrayed with gusto by Hugh Grant. I don’t know what it is about these Paddington films that make all the UK actors feel free to be as loose as possible, but it is very welcome. Grant is terrific playing up the silliness of his character, without taking over the film. He’s a delight every time he is on screen, but equal praise can still go to other series’ stars, including Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Peter Capaldi. Another addition is Brendan Gleeson, who not only gets one of my favorite jokes in a film full of great ones but adds a sweet, dramatic angle to a movie that already allows for plenty of empathy.

Part of the joy of these Paddington films is getting the same feeling I got from WALL-E. There is no overt malevolence here, beyond whatever the villain may be up to. The humor is never mean-spirited or tiptoeing into Shrek-like adult-themed jokes. Instead, the comedy and enchantment come from how Paddington, much like WALL-E, inspires everyone around him to be better or want to be better. His presence creates excitement and curiosity among his neighbors and others he is surrounded by, such as the prison inmates he eventually finds himself among. Not hurting at all is the message it’s sending.

Despite being a talking bear, it’s no accident that we are seeing this come from a Peruvian immigrant. The whole film makes a clear point of how a foreigner has entered into a new country and has helped to make things better for those around him. Only Capaldi’s Mr. Curry speaks against Paddington, and he is portrayed as an ignorant man not seeing the benefits the bear has had on the neighborhood, assuming the worst instead. This does not mean writer/director Paul King is making a film preaching the universal good of anyone ever entering a new country, but it does speak to the idea of seeing the good for what it is. Especially when it is so plainly visible and how it’s okay to look positively on giving the benefit of the doubt to new arrivals, particularly when presented in such a harmless package.

Messaging aside, the film is so brilliantly constructed as well. A chase scene calls to mind films like Ratatouille for the creativity of watching two individuals on the streets finding clever ways to keep up or getaway. An action sequence towards the end evokes Mission: Impossible of all films and it’s also fairly elaborate. The visual effects to bring Paddington to life continue to impress for doing what is needed to make the bear feel real enough, but neither to a scary degree nor one that is too cutesy. This means getting to see the innocence in a few screwball comedy setups, which once again emphasizes how universally appealing the humor is thanks to the tone, implications and fine voice work by Whishaw.

Between the many fun sight gags and inspired comedy bits from the main and supporting actors, there is plenty to enjoy even in the background when it comes to this film. That says a lot, as there’s no reason Paddington 2 needed to be all that clever or sweet and yet here we are with a fantastic film that is loads better than other recent family movies involving CG animal characters placed in the real world. Paddington 2 is the real deal, and anyone would be lucky to have some fun with him.

 

Video:

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: Like its predecessor, Paddington 2 features a terrific 1080p transfer that further helps bring the film to life. With all the various sets and British locations, there is plenty of great detail to observe. Things like the different costumes both in the homes and in prison have a lot of interesting quirks that easily register. Paddinton, himself, looks great. It’s a credit to the visual effects work that this Blu-ray doesn’t affect what we are seeing in this home release.

Depth: The prison set is the best example of how the characters are properly spaced, with no sense of flatness.

Black Levels: Black levels are deep and inky. No signs of crush.

Color Reproduction: Colors really pop in this film. The costumes, once again, really get a chance to shine, as there are lots of bright colors to see, even in the prison sequence. It all adds up to a film that has a lot of warmth to share visually.

Flesh Tones: Good detail work when it comes to facial textures. Watching Hugh Grant mug on camera looks great in HD.

Noise/Artifacts: Nothing.

 

Audio: 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos-TrueHD, English Descriptive Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital, French, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: The level of sound is fully realized on this disc. A lossless soundtrack does all it needs to here, which is especially impressive, given how the disc has an Atmos track to work with. I didn’t see that coming, but what fun for Paddington 2. The music, dialogue and more all register properly.

Low-Frequency Extension: With some adventurous scenes, the LFE channel does get a chance to shine.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is a center-heavy feature, but the audio is spread across and balanced well enough where necessary.

Dialogue Reproduction: All of the dialogue is heard loud and clear throughout.

 

Extras:

Paddington 2 comes with a few notable extra features, including a commentary track and some behind-the-scenes featurettes. Nothing out of the ordinary, but it’s great that there are some worthwhile extras to check out.

Features Include:

  • Paddington: The Bear Truth (HD, 5:20) – A straightforward look at what makes Paddington, the bear, so special.
  • How to Make a Marmalade Sandwich (HD, 2:42) – Exactly as it’s described.
  • Music Video with Phoenix Buchanan (HD, 1:34) – Hugh Grant being wonderful
  • The Magical Mystery of Paddington’s Pop-Up Book (HD, 3:03) – A look at the creation of the pop-up book visual effects.
  • The Browns and Paddington: The Special Bond (HD, 5:43) – A look at the human actors making up Paddington’s family.
  • Knuckles: A Fistful of Marmalade (HD, 2:30) – A look at Brendan Gleeson’s wonderful character.
  • The (Once) Famous Faces of Phoenix Buchanan (HD, 3:45) – A focus on the work Grant went through in becoming a part of the film.
  • Audio Commentary by Director/Co-Writer Paul King – A nice focus on the little details that make movies like this work. A bit dry and technical at times, but enjoyable enough for mega fans.

Summary:

Paddington 2 is a wonderfully special film, as it’s about a bear who brings kindness into the world, and makes the world all the better because of it. The Blu-ray does a fine job of preserving the feature, as well as adding by way of a solid technical presentation, along with a good number of extras to go into the film a bit further. Anyone can watch this film and if they have a heart, should enjoy it. I can only hope we get a third film soon.

Order Your Copy Here:

Share

Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

  1. No Comments