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Paddington - The Review

03/12/2014 17:59 GMT | Updated 31/01/2015 10:59 GMT

Paddington is one of those rare movies which makes you glad to be alive.

When I heard that Harry Potter/Gravity producer David Heyman was working on a live action/animated version of the classic Michael Bond tales, I got nervous.

And as much as I love director Paul King's little seen cracker Bunny and the Bull, I wasn't sure whether he had the chops to pull off a multi-million pound version of a beloved children's character.

Paddington was a key part of my childhood and 'woe betide anyone who screwed it up', I thought.

Thankfully those fears soon melted away within a few minutes of one of the best films of 2014.

Getting a movie like this from script to screen is no easy matter, and King, Heyman, the cast and crew have done a magnificent job.

I go to the movies to feel happiness, sadness or a mixture of the two. Paddington ticks all of the boxes. It's laugh-out-loud funny where it needs to be, and incredibly poignant at times.

The casting is superb, from Hugh Bonneville's risk assessor dad Mr Brown to Julie Walters' iconic Mrs Bird.

At times where you think the movie is going to settle into a dialogue-heavy scene, Paddington literally takes off on a glorious flight of fancy which ensures nobody will be bored.

A master stroke is the fact this bear from darkest Peru touches a chord with anyone who has come to live in the UK, dreamt of receiving a warm welcome, and has been sorely disappointed.

All great fantasies are metaphors, and Paddington is one of the best.

Whether you grew up with the books in the 1950s and 60s, or the classic kids cartoon in the 1970s, Paddington has a little something of everything for everyone.

Added bonuses are Nicole Kidman as an alluring taxidermist and a glorious score, punctuated by interludes from calypso band D Lime.

I can't wait to see what King does next. Or Paddington for that matter.