“If you’re kind and polite, the world will be right.” So says Aunt Lucy, and we’re inclined to believe her. We watched Paddington 2, the sweet kid flick that was the first great movie of 2018. Yes, really. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get a craving for marmalade. Annemarie has FINALLY seen it and she can tell you all of this to be true.
But first, as is our way, she’s going to tell us her thoughts on Paddington 2 and venture a guess as to why it ended up as a Required Viewing selection.
A: Usually when movies are British, that’s the first and only clue I need as to “why” I am being made to watch the film. However, yes, Brooke has been extolling the virtues of Paddington 2 for almost all of 2018 and also she knows that I love adorable things, so this is an obvious choice for those two reasons as well.
As for why it makes the early 2018 “best of” list? It’s TOO ADORABLE. I shouldn’t give the plot synopsis because I have alas seen no other Paddington movie or TV show, and therefore know I’m missing out on some key background points. All I really know for sure is that Aunt Lucy, and therefore Paddington, are the nicest people on the planet, despite being grizzly bears that speak perfect Queen’s English. And so even when Paddington goes to prison, he’s able to make friends and improve the lives of those around him, just by being him. If we were all about 15% more like Paddington, the world would be a better place.
Brooke, can you help me out with background details? What did I miss when thinking through your reasoning?
B: So adorable, British and one of the best movies of 2018. Check. Check. Check. You got all the main reasons for my selection, the only thing I would add is a nod to the cast in this picture. I mean, Sally Hawkins and nearly every iconic Brit who ever graced the Harry Potter realm are present and accounted for here, and that’s not to mention Hughes Grant and Bonneville, plus Joanna “Sweetie, Dahling” Lumley. It’s almost too wonderful.
Your background does have some holes, however. First, let’s cover Paddington’s pre-London history. Aunt Lucy and the late, great Uncle Pastuzo found Paddington in the jungles of darkest Peru just before they were meant to move to London themselves — a dream they’d shared since an explorer came through and taught them about tea and marmalade and the Queen’s English. But, being the gems they are, they decided to keep wee Paddington and so remained in darkest Peru.
And I regret to inform you, my friend, they are not grizzlies (which don’t live in Peru), but rather spectacled bears — look how cute! In any case, what you don’t know about Paddington is that he comes to London, and the Browns, in the wake of a storm that destroys the idyllic home he shares with Aunt Lucy and Uncle Pastuzo. Uncle Pastuzo doesn’t survive the storm, so Aunt Lucy sends Paddington to London with a note attached to his coat that reads “Please look after this bear.” She herself goes to live in the home for retired bears. And so Paddington arrives in London and meets the Browns at Paddington Station, for which Mrs. Brown names him.
Hijinks ensue, but he becomes one of the family, which is how we come to find him writing a letter to Aunt Lucy about how he’s settling into his new life in Windsor Gardens. He’s on the hunt for a birthday present to send to Aunt Lucy when an opportunistic thief decides to make Paddington into a Patsy. That pretty much brings us up to how Paddington winds up going to prison and having to fight to clear his name.
Now that you’re up-to-speed on these details we can get into the really important questions: Which Hugh Grant disguise was your favorite?
A: You’re correct of course, spectacled bears are freaking adorable, but that’s v tragic about Uncle Pastuzo. I have additional questions though. “Lucy” is quite the British name, but I have to inquire about where “Pastuzo” came from. Is it Pervian? Why did Lucy and Pastuzo not name Paddington but had names themselves? How do Lucy and Pastuzo know the Browns in order to send Paddington off? Where does Paddington come from if he was an adopted bear? Who are his parents? Does he have siblings or additional aunts, uncles, or cousins? Why did the British explorer introduce them all to marmalade and not Victoria Sponge?
Whew. Hugh’s best costume? Gotta be the knight, but close second goes to the dog costume from the dog food commercial that they for some reason actually require their human actor to EAT. I would have picked the dog for my fave, but that technically isn’t a disguise we see him use in the movie.
I also appreciate when the child actors live up to or outshine the adult actors (and also appreciate when they don’t annoy me with cuteness), so additional shout-outs must go to the younger members of the cast, Samuel Joslin and Madeleine Harris. ALSO BRENDAN GLEESON. He’s one of my faves (I know he’s a Potterverse member as well), but Knuckles is the best prison chef of all time.
Brooke, same question back to you. And then I have to ask since we sampled some marmalade at our screening: what is your favorite jam and why?
B: WOW, AM. Just wow. Okay, allow me to answer your MANY, MANY, MANY questions first.
- I believe the explorer taught Lucy and Pastuzo about names and suggested some, or else supplied a book from which they could choose.
- I’m not sure why they didn’t give Paddington a human name (he did have a bear name), but perhaps they wanted him to find it of his own accord?
- Lucy doesn’t know the Browns. But as you know she sees the good in people, so she sent Paddington off with nothing but the note and the hope that some kind people would give him a home.
- I can’t believe you’re asking this. We saw baby Paddington floating down the river to his doom, only to be rescued by Aunt Lucy and Uncle Pastuzo at the beginning of the movie. He came from upstream, that’s all we know!
- We don’t know about his parents or the rest of his family tree.
- I expect the British explorer could pack marmalade much more easily than he could Victoria Sponge, which doesn’t seem the easiest food to transport into the jungles of Darkest Peru. I also think he should have tried harder though.
Whew is right. My favorite disguise award goes to the nun. I love the overhead shot when Hugh flits away from the herd, only to become an object of fancy for the complacent guard. I do very much love that Hugh was game for the dog costume though.
My favorite jam has to be strawberry or mixed berry. I love that every bite tastes like summer and adolescence. It’s transportive that stuff!
Do tell us your favorite jam, AM. And then, let’s talk a bit about the Browns. Pick a favorite and imagine what a spin-off adventure with said favorite might entail.
A: My jam of jams has gotta be raspberry, an old favorite. That with PB? mmmmmmm
The Browns are good people, as evidenced by the fact that they think Paddington is awesome. I have already complimented the children, but I wouldn’t want to have an adventure with any of them, necessarily, though they are delightful. I must be honest, if we’re talking about a spin-off adventure, I’d rather go with Knuckles, Hugh Grant, or even Paddington. Imagine the delightful shenanigans! The Browns would perhaps be the most fun to hang out with as a group, perhaps on a beach vacation or Mediterranean cruise.
Brooke, fave Brown? (Or cheat like me and pick a none of the above option!)
B: To be fair, Paddington is a Brown, and I assume he will be central in any of our adventures. But if I were to pick a human Brown, I would undoubtedly pick Mrs. Brown. Any woman who spends her time creating elaborate schemes to get delivered into a neighbor’s house to prove he’s a costumed thief, mostly on the advice of a bird and intuition is my kind of gal. We’d never have a dull moment. And based on my reasons, it shouldn’t surprise you that I would want us to form a detective agency and solve charming British crimes, probably with lots of breaks for tea.
We’ve quite thoroughly talked our way around Paddington and all his charms, but before we sign off, do you have any closing thoughts, AM?
A: I’m all for tea breaks, especially since the crucial component of any tea spread appears to be delicious homemade snacks. Jam definitely not optional, and I can highly recommend you add some marmalade to your scones and cream. It’s what Paddington would want us to do, after all.
Next time, we delve into the maybe-problematic world of boy-oriented nerd comedy, and discuss the relative success of putting the delightful Ms KBell in the mix.