Paddington 2’s first trailer is a chaotic delight.
Paddington 2’s first trailer has dropped. If you missed the first Paddington in 2014, I don’t blame you. The trailer for the first film was abysmal. I’m not hyperbolic either; it was a bad trailer. Don’t believe me, here take a look:
Before we continue, I want to emphasize something. As bad as the trailer is this was a great movie. Also, this bathtub gag is solid. The bathtub sequence in the trailer comes off as, excuse my millennial slang, super extra. The editing in the bathtub scene is fantastic too. Director Paul King (The Mighty Boosh) cuts between Paddington making a mess and Hugh Bonneville’s Mr. Brown making a nervous call to his insurance company. Ben Whishaw’s voice works as Paddington, and the Wes Anderson-like whimsy of King’s direction combine to make this gag kitten-in-a-basket adorable in the film.
King’s London in Paddington is much like London in The Mighty Boosh; it’s wild and weird. Paddington‘s London is the type of place that lets a flat owner get bear insurance. King doesn’t apologize for this and as a result of this total acceptance of the surreal and unusual a viewer just has to “yes and” the film like a real improver. Somehow the spontaneity and the mayhem work and King’s film never dies on stage. Like The Mighty Boosh, Paddington is what it is and if you’re in you damn well better be all in for the film to work. In this way, the film is punchier, smarter, and weirder than the Adam Sandler style trailer would have you think and in this, it succeeds.
The film, like the book series, revolves around a tiny, earnest bear making his way in London after fleeing his destroyed homeland in darkest Peru. King uses Paddington’s experience as an allegory to discuss immigration, and it works. It makes sense given that Paddington the Bear was inspired by child evacuees fleeing Blitz-ravaged London. In fact, one of the most earnest and visually impressive moments of the film is a nod to WWII atrocities via a dreamlike sequence involving a miniature train and a German-accented antique dealer played by Jim Broadbent.
While I’m sure Broadbent’s German accent leaves a lot to be desired, the scene works despite it. The tenor of his voice and the hint of history in his tale is all it takes to connect the dots. King makes this story about emotional connection and shared experience. The story of Broadbent’s character isn’t about hard and fast history it’s about absence and the unknown. It’s narrative sleight of hand but also transparent. Further, it’s mature. Paddington could become one of those movies that a child watches, remembers fondly as an adult, and in adulthood revisits and rediscovers details they never caught before. (Think of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, or any Don Bluth film.)
So what about the trailer for Paddington 2?
We don’t know the plot that I will concede. Well, that’s not entirely accurate, according to the Hollywood Reporter:
the beloved bear — now a popular member of his local community at Windsor Gardens — embark on a series of odd jobs to buy a book for Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Brown family to unmask the thief.
So there’s your plot if you want it so badly. The trailer succeeds where its predecessor failed because of its unapologetic acceptance of King’s London. A London where everything is yellow tinted and fun. The Paddington 2 trailer embraces mayhem it doesn’t force it. Thereby providing a more accurate depiction of what this film will be like: wild. I say Bring. It. On. There are just enough intriguing new characters, cartoonish action, and frenetic cutting to make a viewer entertain the idea of signing up. (Tricks are for kids, King’s Paddington is not as exclusive.) In an age where trailers give away entire films, it’s nice to see a trailer that teases.
Paddington 2 is set to emerge from darkest Peru by way of Britain to play in U.S. theaters on January 12, 2018. Be there or get a hard stare. If you’re looking to catch up by watching the first film, Paddington is available to stream on Netflix in the U.S.