I went to the movies this last weekend to see Paddington. I went, I tell myself, because I am doing research on children’s book characters who are kind, thoughtful and strong, instead of obnoxious, loud and mean. Paddington has just made his movie debut, and while I have read two of Michael Bond’s twenty-five book series (I read the 1959 first book and the 2012 last book), I wanted to see first hand how children responded to Paddington.
I was delighted. I got to the theater just after the movie started and found the perfect seat to see both the movie and the audience. The movie was technologically perfect. Paddington was a very appealing animation. If it is possible for a “bear” to move like a human and still remain a convincing bear, the creators of Padding did it. The human cast was spot-on. I even forgot for a while that Mr. Henry Brown was really Lord Grantham and should have been at Downton Abbey instead of in a quirky townhouse in London.
As the movie proceeded, children and their parents began to giggle and laugh. I even laughed out loud (LOL?). It was great to see families together. Padding was a hit. While there was danger and conflict – after all there is no story without those two elements, it didn’t scare the children, it engaged them.
Paddington was rated PG, along with Into the Woods. I think Into the Woods would be far scarier to a three to five-year old than Paddington. Of course the next rating level higher (PG 13) includes such high fear-factor movies as Taken and The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death.
I’m glad I went. It gave me a much-needed lift. I am more convinced than ever that all of us need many more heroes who are kind, thoughtful and strong.