Michael Bond's furry metaphor endures in Paddington 2

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Michael Bond's furry metaphor endures in Paddington 2

Following the worldwide hit PADDINGTON, one of the most successful family films of all time, this much-anticipated sequel finds Paddington (Ben Whishaw) happily settled with the Brown family in London, where he has become a popular member of the local community, spreading joy andmarmalade wherever he goes.

Watch the trailer for "Downsizing". One day Paddington, visiting the gift shop of Mr. Gruber () in search of a birthday present for his aunt, stumbles upon a book filled with gorgeous pop-up illustrations of London landmarks.

Framed for the book's theft, Paddington ends up doing hard time.

The key to 2014's winsome Paddington and now its sequel, Paddington 2, is the interaction between real human actors in a live-action feature and an irresistible CGI bear.

"Paddington 2" rolls into theaters this Friday and Euro correspondent Fahnia Thomas spoke with the cast about adult marmalade and "galactical" adventures. Let's see what the critics have to say!

There's nothing particularly grandiose about Paddington 2, and yet its beauty is in its simplicity. It's telling that the film's villain is a performer whose narcissism prohibits collaboration, a man who finds his neighbors a nuisance. This Paddington, so sweetly voiced by Ben Whishaw, is just ursine enough on the one hand and just teddy enough on the other to reproduce the charm of the original. The gags don't accumulate; they tessellate.

"Paddington 2" leans a little heavily on its simplistic message: There's good in everyone.

Emily Yoshida, Vulture: "The new Paddington follows the template of the first nearly to the minute, but manages to inject even more fun, freewheeling energy into each beat".

The Brown family doesn't have as much to do this time around: Julie Walters' fiery grandmother, especially, needs far more screentime. The book occasions a marvelous sequence where Paddington envisions leading his aunt through the settings of its pages, little paper cut-out Londoners greeting them around every corner.

Ben Whishaw returns as the voice of author Michael Bond's beloved ursine hero, as do numerous familiar faces who made up 2015's original film. The script, faithful in tone and style to Michael Bond's series of books that began in 1958, is from King and Simon Farnaby. The picture has its share of frenetic incident, but it doesn't thrive on chaos. Contemporary filmmakers were able to take Michael Bond's dated and nearly impossibly earnest creation and make it work for modern audiences thanks to just the right mixture of humor, whimsy and honest emotion.

Paddington's foster family, the Browns, which includes parents Mary (Hawkins) and Henry (Hugh Bonneville of "Downton Abbey") as well as teenage children Judy and Jonathan, know that Paddington is innocent, and grow to suspect that their neighbor/has-been stage actor Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant, fully embracing his character's quirks) is the actual culprit. Paddington 2 refuses to accept this technique of screenplay but brings nothing new to contemplate on the table as well.

'Basically the restraining order came to an end!' he joked, before adding: 'We finally met again on this film, it was quite weird in rehearsals saying 'do you realise it's been 19 years since we've been rehearsing together?' [But] it was nice because Notting Hill was one of my first films and it was a very happy memory'.

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