There were two movies released in 2014 that were aimed at children and that far exceeded expectations. The first was The Lego Movie, which has since been disastrously omitted from the Best Animated Feature running at the upcoming Oscars. The second was Paddington – a little British movie about a little British (well, Peruvian) bear who has been scuttling around the cultural psyche of these isles since the 1950s.
One imagines it would be easy to construct a charming kids movie – over-acted antagonist, cute protagonist/sidekick embodied by an animal (optional), bright colours and wild slapstick set pieces. The problem is, good kids movies are extremely thin on the ground despite their omnipresence in cinemas. Thankfully, Paddington is one of the good ones.
It’s not about how many stars you can pack on to the screen (although Paddington does squeeze a good few); it’s not about how many nudge-nudge jokes that can be surreptitiously slipped in for the weary parents (holds a healthy dose); it’s not even about how many times a cute bear can fall over (does this a lot).
No, what is often forgotten is that what makes a good kids movie is exactly the same as what makes a good adult movie. A strong story, about characters you care for, well told. Parents may swoon at the acting talents on display and kids may laugh uncontrollably when Paddington gets his cute, squishy face stuck in a tube station turnstile, but all the while, beneath the surface, this film will work it’s magic, capturing you with its irresistible characters and entertaining plot.