Based on Michael Bond’s 1958 children’s book A Bear Called Paddington, the live-action/CG hybrid Paddington tells the story of a Peruvian bear who finds himself living in London. The film will be released on November 28, 2014 in the Uk, followed by a Christmas Day release in the United States by the Weinstein Company/ Dimension Films.
The character has had remarkable longevity. The original book had over twenty sequels and inspired three television series—the first of which ran from 1975 to 1986 and featured an innovative stop-motion style in which Paddington himself was a model while the human characters were illustrated cut-outs. The film version instead goes for the now-commonplace approach of combining live action with a quasi-realistic anthropomorphized CGI animal.
The first images from the film were released earlier this week, to a less than positive reception. Certain viewers found the new-look Paddington just a tiny bit creepy, as evidenced by an entire Tumblr devoted to images of the CGI bear Photoshopped into scenes from horror films. He looks a little better in motion, although gags involving him tasting his own earwax and immersing his head in toilet water continue an unfortunate trend that previously gave us Alvin eating Theodore’s droppings and Hong Kong Phooey chomping on a urinal cake. I don’t remember Paddington Bear’s creator Michael Bond ever making use of gross-out humor, although admittedly I am unfamiliar with the later books in the series.
The film is due to be released in November and is helmed by Paul King, who previously worked as a director on the television series The Mighty Boosh. Colin Firth, of all people, stars as the voice of Paddington, while Framestore provides the film’s animation.