The first footage from ‘Paddington 2’ has been shown to movie press, and it looks like Studiocanal has another hit on its hands. Charming, funny, and packed with visual flair and invention, it’s clear that Paddington Bear and director Paul King go together like bread and marmalade.
Hugh Bonneville, who plays Mr Brown in the live action animation hybrid, was on hand to introduce four clips from the sequel to the 2014 hit in a private showcase, and he helpfully offered some context to the footage.
He revealed that Paddington would be getting a new neighbour in the shape of Hugh Grant’s ageing actor Felix Buchanan, a man described by Bonneville as “a legend in his own imagination”, and through various machinations of the plot Paddington would end up in jail, albeit a Michael Bond vision of jail.
In the first clip shown at the preview event, Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) visits Mr Gruber’s antique shop hunting for a gift for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday. Jim Broadbent’s antique dealer has come into possession of a load of old crates “stuffed full of memorabilia” from Mrs Koslova, the owner of a Steam Fair that’s just arrived in town.
One item catches Paddington’s eye, an old pop up book of London, and as the bear day dreams about giving it to his Aunt, the book comes alive and we see Paddington and Lucy wandering around the pages of the paper book.
It’s a delightful scene full of wonder and humour and emotion.
The next clip showed the Brown family (including Julie Walters as Mrs. Bird, the family’s housekeeper) at the grand opening of Koslova’s Steam Fair and their neighbour, the actor Felix Buchanan who also happens to be one of Mr Brown’s insurance clients, is the celebrity host of the evening.
He gives a hilariously grandiose speech to the crowd of – as he puts it – the “ordinary people” before inviting Paddington up to help him press the button and officially open the fair. Paddington makes a charmingly bumbling comment about Buchanan being someone who “used to be a famous actor, who now makes dog food commercials”.
“A man’s got to eat,” replies Buchanan, to which Paddington asks, “what, dog food?” which elicits an irritated laugh from the pompous actor. He mentions the pop-up book to Buchanan who seems curiously intrigued about the book.
The next scene showed Paddington in prison.
It’s more akin to Wes Anderson’s vision of jail in ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ than, say ‘Starred Up’, with all the inmates in stripes, eating slop in a communal mess hall. Due to a mix up on laundry duty, Paddington has died the inmates uniforms pink, and this leads to an encounter with the prison’s most feared inmate Knuckles McGinty, played by Brendan Gleeson, who also happens to be the prison cook.
The final clip showed Sally Hawkins’ Mrs Brown turning detective, and breaking in Felix Buchanan’s house to hunt down a clue. She’s soon joined by Hugh Bonneville, but things turn farcical when Buchanan returns home earlier than expected.
It’s all superb stuff, and it’s got us very excited for the release of ‘Paddington 2’ on 10 November.