Paddington 2 Blu-ray Review

Double the Marmalade, Please

Paddington 2’s story concerns a fuzzy, ever polite bear desperately trying to buy a birthday present for his aunt. That’s sweet.

The whole movie is that mellow, actually. To find a suitable comparison to watching Paddington 2 would require the existence of a smile factory that takes patrons on a tour as each is wrapped in a freshly laundered, warm blanket for the duration. Oh, and each is given their choice of favorite candies while they visit. As much as they want, too.

Nothing in Paddington 2 is unpredictable. In fact, every event is foreshadowed, every action cliché, and each bit of character development routine. No matter. That’s comfortable, and Paddington 2 does all of this with such syrupy sweetness, noticing requires a touch of cynicism. Go away with such thoughts. Paddington 2 is unfiltered joy.

This is a softer sequel. While the first (and also wonderful) Paddington addressed some of Michael Bond’s post-WWII orphan concerns, the sequel drifts slightly toward an anti-immigrant pose. A callous street cop fears the bear, based entirely on physical differences. Don’t worry – that cop gets his. Gleefully. Playfully. Nothing happens in Paddington 2 with a sense of malice.

Family films rarely balance the totality of “family.” This one does

This world, with picturesque color anywhere Paddington touches, invites all into its fold. Family films rarely balance the totality of “family.” This one does. Sprightly antics pit Paddington against window washing, the charismatic mayhem of a barber shop, and the core of this sequel, Paddington trying to bring joy to a prison populace (of course the prisoners smile too).

There’s more to this digital critter than many human actors. Paddington tips his hat, never forgets his manners, and when there’s just a chance of him showing anger, it was just a show. He listens and follows the rules even when wrongly accused. What a role model this bear is. Kids want to be Marvel superheroes, but if they pattern themselves after Paddington? That’s better for everyone.

More still, Paddington 2’s progression is such that one kind gesture leads to another. Kindness unravels. By the conclusion, there’s pay-off. No rudeness, no real fighting, but all smirks. Paddington 2’s villain is Hugh Grant. Hugh. Grant. That gentle British star of a slew of ‘90s rom coms. He’s as evil as Paddington 2 gets. That’s a low bar for villainy and Paddington 2 is both comfortable and safe there. Everyone is, right alongside that bear. That snuggable, huggable bear, the purest of all movie heroes.

Video

Digitally sourced, Warner’s encode offers only a handful of bugaboos. First is an inconsistent bit of noise. It’s handled well enough by Warner’s compression. Second is a mild battle with aliasing, notable on Paddington’s fur. This too is inconsistent.

The rest is bright, dynamic, and pure. Stellar color favors yellows and warmer hues, furthering the comfort level of this darling film. Primaries pop, with Paddington’s red hat and blue jacket sticking out from the colorful assault.

Rich lighting pours in, keeping a hearty contrast in view. Black levels add the necessary dynamism, a strong performer on both ends of the scale.

All of this comes together with striking resolution, resolving facial definition and some dazzling London sights. Outside of that small aliasing, Paddington’s fur is gorgeously refined. It’s a shame Warner isn’t offering this on UHD (yet?)

Audio

Dolby Atmos treats the material with enough energy to maintain pace. Separation between channels offers fantastic tracking, having fun during the barber sequence (Paddington’s voice panning across the fronts) and adding liveliness to the boisterous finale involving two trains. They pass front to back with grand movement, along with a bit of bite in the low-end.

Small ambient touches inside a clock tower and a dream inside a forest awaken the soundstage after some dry, center-loaded dialog. Those types of moments occur throughout, making use of the available speakers.

Extras

A commentary from writer/director Paul King is the beefiest of Paddington 2’s dull bonuses. The six featurettes offer little to no value, unless you’d like to learn how to make a marmalade sandwich or delve into the specific actor’s roles. There’s a self-parodying Hugh Grant music video too, but just ignore this set of bonuses.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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