To date, the film adaptation of the Paddington Bear stories entitled simply, Paddington, has earned over $62.2 million during its five week release; over $4 million this weekend alone. . The literary incarnation of Paddington, authored by Michael Bond, has sold over 30 million copies, been translated into 30 languages, and appeared in over 20 books.
I must disagree with Jeannette Catsoulis, who wrote a review of the film for The New York Times on Jan. 15. Catsoulis labeled the movie as “safe.” She also reported that “All the nonwhites – except for some Caribbean musicians – seem to be in hiding.”
Were we watching the same film? Did she miss the large proportion of multicultural students who were in Judy’s class? Additionally, I don’t think anyone can call a decidedly pro-immigrant, especially pro-unattended child immigrant, film a particularly safe cinematic choice, given the “anti-foreigner” propaganda that is so common today. Even if most children were too young to catch on, the message must have been obvious to their accompanying adults, as the filmmakers were a bit heavy-handed while trying to convey it.
Bill Bryson, a recently discovered favorite author of mine, tells tale after tale of explorers marching off into some unknown environment with what they consider the bare essentials, but are clearly really more than anyone needs on such an expedition. Montgomery Clyde, the person who discovers Paddington’s species. Is no exception to this common miscalculation. As an avid travel reader, I enjoyed this bit of realism.
I’d rate this film an 8.5/10. Most deductions are for the use of the aforementioned heavy handedness. Moreover, I simply do not comprehend the foolhardy actions of Millicent Clyde, the daughter of Montgomery Clyde… Is she simply unable to “deal with social disabilities that come from being a part of a family that is in disgrace or otherwise has a reputation for dishonor” a fairly common fictional trope according to TV Tropes, Or is Nicole Kidman’s inclusion, merely “a bone thrown to teenage boys”, as Catsoulis asserts.
Also, am I the only person who thought she was just a knockoff of Cruella de Vil, the villain from 101 Dalmatians? Look at her hair and fashion palette choices and tell me I’m wrong? Whatever her intended purpose was, I don’t feel like including the character added much.
Overall, I enjoyed Paddington immensely. The story of how Paddington and the Browns meet is fairly true to the original book, which pleases my inner book lover. One of the biggest pet peeves of my reading life is to watch a truly brilliant story be butchered by cinematic conversion.
Seeing it is a perfect excuse to spend a few hours bonding with the smaller people in your life. Take them for ice cream afterwards. However, make sure that after they see the film version of Paddington you leave enough time in your day to take them to the library so you can read them the original or, better yet, have them read it to you.
Written by Martina Robinson