Paddington 3 celebration proves how the internet can get things *very* wrong

Ian Sandwell
·5-min read
Photo credit: StudioCanal
Photo credit: StudioCanal

From Digital Spy

Paddington 3 is officially in the works and, quite rightly, the news has been warmly received and touted as the remedy we all need to the past year.

Both Paddington and Paddington 2 received near-universal acclaim and became instant classics, likely to be ever-present in Christmas TV schedules for decades to come. They leave you feeling warm, happy and wanting to be a better person.

We're sure that Paddington 3, despite the fact that it seems Paul King won't be returning to direct, will prove to be equally delightful, so it's no surprise that everyone is now just counting down the days to its release.

However it's actually easy to forget that this was hardly the reaction that greeted the build-up to the first movie. In fact, the internet's response to the first movie ahead of its release would have made Aunt Lucy very cross indeed.

We had a glimpse of what Paddington would look like in a teaser for the movie released in March 2014. But it wasn't until June 2014 that we got our first full look at the marmalade-loving bear in a fairly innocent shot of him hanging out in front of Buckingham Palace.

The response was not one of adoration, but of mockery. It was thought Paddington looked a bit like a duffel coat-wearing serial killer and the Creepy Paddington meme was born, where people added the innocent bear into classic horror movies.

Photo credit: Tumblr
Photo credit: Tumblr
Photo credit: Tumblr
Photo credit: Tumblr

With no actual footage of the movie beyond the teaser trailer (which only featured Paddington's head), people had made up their mind that this version of Michael Bond's classic creation would be doing nothing other than ruining their childhood.

It wasn't helped by the fact that around the same time as the Creepy Paddington meme started doing the rounds, it was announced that Colin Firth was no longer going to be voicing Paddington in the movie.

Ben Whishaw stepped in around a month later and the rest is history, but at the time, it felt like this was a movie in crisis – one which the negative reviews had already been written despite the fact nobody had actually seen it.

The actual movie couldn't have been further from the response to that first-look photo and public opinion swiftly changed. Paddington has a near-perfect 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and Paddington 2 went one further and remains at 100% with 243 reviews.

Of course, the sequel didn't face such a negative build-up, but as joyful as Paddington 3 seems right now, you can't guarantee that there won't be a backlash if, say, the trailer doesn't seem as great as the first two movies.

Photo credit: StudioCanal
Photo credit: StudioCanal

We know that the instant negative reaction that Paddington received from one single image is nothing new, especially in this age of social media that we live in. Yet you would hope people would have learned by now not to jump to conclusions.

Naturally, they haven't.

Just yesterday (February 17), Disney released the first trailer for Cruella and already there are dismissals of it as a 'female Joker' and the standard 'why do we need this?' responses. That could well be the case when we actually see the movie in May, but for now, can't we just decide whether or not it's a good trailer? (It is.)

It's not like we don't have an even more recent memory of a universally-derided movie that actually turned out to be quite good.

Sonic the Hedgehog was, quite fairly, criticised for the design of the speedy hedgehog in the now-infamous first trailer. However, even when the filmmakers admitted their error and came back with a much-improved design, it felt as though the movie was tarnished.

That first design stuck around despite the fact that it wasn't even a thing anymore and the knives were sharpened for the movie. After all, if the first design was THAT bad, surely the actual movie would be just as rubbish?

Photo credit: Paramount
Photo credit: Paramount

While we're not saying that Sonic the Hedgehog came anywhere close to Paddington (we're not crazy), it ended up being an entertaining family offering that proved to be a box-office hit and a sequel is on the way.

As with Paddington 2, it'll be a sequel freed from any negativity in the build-up, unless they somehow revive that original design.

In truth, Cruella and Sonic the Hedgehog are just two examples in a whole ocean of movies that have been dismissed (rightly or wrongly) ahead of release, but it's something worth bearing in mind the next time you're about to jump to conclusions.

The movie you're about to criticise could well be the start of a beloved franchise where the confirmation of a third movie is the announcement that is seen as the saviour of a bad year for many people.

Keep Aunt Lucy's words in mind: if we're kind and polite, the world will be right.

Photo credit: StudioCanal
Photo credit: StudioCanal

Digital Spy's digital magazine is back! Check out issue 6 – including an exclusive chat with Ant & Dec – plus all past issues with a 1-month free trial, only on Apple News+.

Interested in Digital Spy's weekly newsletter? Sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox – and don't forget to join our Watch This Facebook Group for daily TV recommendations and discussions with other readers.

You Might Also Like