Yesterday I was lucky enough to go along to a screening of some footage from Paddington 2.
The event was introduced by Hugh Bonneville, aka Mr Brown, and featured four clips from the new film.
As always, any sequel to a film that you loved first time round always involves a bit of trepidation. Can they capture the magic again?
Well I’m glad to say that from the footage I saw yesterday, writer/director Paul King certainly has.
We saw four clips setting up the story for Paddington 2. I don’t want to give away too much but they were all very funny, contained lots of heart and there are some quite magical effects in the new film as well.
A few bits particularly caught my eye. Paddington finds a pop-up book of London when searching Mr Gruber’s shop for a 100th birthday present for Aunt Lucy. We see Paddington and Aunt Lucy enter the book as the camera swirls around London landmarks rendered in pop-up animation. The footage is obviously CGI but it looks like it’s from the pages of a book. In fact, the drawings used reminded me of the BBC animation based on Michael Bond’s books. My jaw hit the floor and it looks to be one of the stand out sequences of the film.
There are some new characters in Paddington 2, played by Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson. We saw the scene when Paddington meets Gleeson’s Knuckles McGinty in prison (yes, Paddington finds himself serving time).
Grant plays Phoenix Buchanan, a new neighbour of the Browns who is an actor and totally full of himself! You may remember when Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was first being mooted as a film there was a lot of talk that Hugh Grant would play Gilderoy Lockhart, but it ended up being Kenneth Branagh. Anyway, it feels like Buchanan is quite a close relative of Lockhart. We saw inside Buchanan’s house which is full of pictures of him, so there are lots of shots of Hugh Grant that look to be from promotional work he’s done over the years. It’s a lovely touch that shows the production team’s attention to detail.
I don’t want to say much more about what I saw, but I along with the rest of the assembled journalists laughed at every scene we were shown. I went to a similar event for the first Paddington film and came out a bit unsure. I’m not unsure this time, if the rest of the film lives up to what I’ve seen so far then Paddington 2 will have all the joy, heart and humour of the first!