Theme: Where All Your Dreams Come True
Sequels to successful films often fall short and lack the luster of the original. Not so with Paddington 2, if anything it surpasses its predecessor and is sure to delight the fans of the little bear from darkest Peru.
Embarking on another hero journey, this one involving magic, mystery, and marmalade, Paddington 2’s story is not only entertaining it is insightful and enlightening. The anthropomorphic bear is the incarnation of love and sacrifice, gratitude and service. No wonder he is the beloved friend everyone, young and old wants to have.
The magic in Paddington 2 is quite simply the enchanting little bear himself. His loving-kindness and childlike innocence have a transformative power; for wherever he goes, love overcomes hate, light dispels darkness, beauty banishes ugliness and people are renewed in their humanity.
The plot of the story focuses on a mysterious Pop-Up book found in Mr. Gruber’s Antique Shop. For Paddington the book of famous London sites is a treasure map, one he wants to give his Aunt Lucy for her 100th birthday. It would be the perfect gift to express his love and gratitude, for he remembers she sacrificed her own dream of coming to London in order to raise him. No price is too high if he can, even partially, make her dream come true. So Paddington sets about working hard to serve others in order to earn the money to purchase the book.
There is another who shares a keen interest in the Pop-Up book. This person, however, is driven by greed not gratitude; and his mode of obtaining the book is stealing, not service. The Brown’s neighbor Phoenix Buchanan, a has-been actor in serious debt, knows the Pop-Up book is a treasure map to a secret fortune. “Where all your dreams come true” for him is a return to being a star performer with a captive audience. Like his evil ancestor The Magician, his vainglory drives him to steal, kill, and destroy another . . . in this case Paddington.
Paddington is sentenced to prison on a false conviction of stealing the Pop-Up book from Mr. Gruber’s shop. Confined in the dark gloomy place, he once again begins to work his magic. All the prisoners live in fear of Knuckles McGinty, the prison cook, and are forced to eat his abominable food three times a day. The innocent Paddington politely confronts the cook who doesn’t take kindly to being confronted. Paddington’s defense is a marmalade sandwich pushed into McGinty’s mouth; one taste of the marmalade is transformative, for the marmalade is a manifestation of love. It is the original Edenic food the Explorer shared with Aunt Lucy and Uncle Pastuzo. Its secret has been passed to Paddington and now he is the conveyor of marmalade.
Once the other prisoners are served the marmalade, it awakens in them their own memories and recipes of “love food”. Soon the gloomy cafeteria is transformed into a patisserie/bistro with a musical group singing “Lend your brother a helping hand”. And before long Paddington’s magic and marmalade have transfigured the entire prison and its population, guards and inmates into a community of love, light, and beauty. What happened in Windsor Garden has now occurred in the deepest and darkest place.
Where All Your Dreams Come True
The end of the Pop-Up book is “Where all your dreams come true”; so it would seem whoever gets the book gets their dream. Thus the madcap race for the book brings the movie to its climax.
In scenes reminiscent of the opening scenes, a little bear is rescued out of the waters of death by loving arms linked together. The loving-kindness Paddington has deposited in Windsor Garden and the Prison now returns to him, demonstrating that the power of love overcomes the love of power every time.
When Love rules, everything is set to right, new creation comes and dreams more wonderful than ever imagined come true. Prisons are transformed into tea rooms, while convicts are pardoned and captives set free. Families are united and restored, and neighbors fall in love with neighbors. Aunt Lucy gets a tour of the real London with her favorite tour guide, and Phoenix rises from his ashes and gets to perform to a captive audience. Quite simply . . . Love never fails.
“Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails . . . . .