Toy Story 4
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I have found there is a distinct difference between a children's movie and a family movie. A children's movie is something produced and written for children, so purposefully easy to digest. This not necessarily make a film bad, it just means there is a bit of a generational divide. Unfortunately this often translates to studios putting little effort into a worthwhile film and just attempting to make something distracting to kids, with quality ranging from passable to poor. These films generally appeal to kid's as they don't require a whole lot of emotional investment or thought.
A family film on the other hand is something that gives a little bit to everyone in the area of entertainment. A good family film should bring a family together for at least 90 minutes of mild to superb amounts of enjoyment. Paddington serves a good example of a family film that works on most levels. It's main character, Paddington, is optimism at it's very finest, providing a moral center for the movie without being preachy in it's wake. It provide a flawed character that has self doubt and legitimate worries, so while he's a touch naive he is by no means an annoying character. The only characters that seems annoyed by Paddington are the main family at different segments of the movie, each learning what they value in the character throughout the movie. And I suppose the ornery neighbor but he is a bit of prude anyway. ABove all else Paddington is a kid, curious, optimistic, and searching for a home in the fast paced and crazy world that is modernity.
The movie itself offers much in the way of comedic and dramatic value, both elements rather than being put in separate segments and readily ordered intervals, are ebbed and flowed naturally and organically throughout the film's runtime. This movie is perfectly British in this respect, where it isn't a film of smart Know-It-Alls, but genuine characters that movie though an indifferent world, adding legitimate wonder to it.
While the movie could have executed it's ending conflict and antagonist better, it only effects my opinion of this movie slightly, because malice and diabolic plots aren't at the focus of this movie. It's the emotional center of a family dynamic, making Paddington truly a spectacular family film.
Anyone looking for a continuation of the first movie's tones and themes will be sorely disappointed, which was kind of the point of the film. Sequels are a poor idea unless the first film could have been successfully expanded upon, not dragged out. This film is a representation of the ridiculous notion that is the modern sequel, as it can never truly pull you into the story unless it's a direct continuation or at the very least very consistent. But this movie makes a point in not being consistent, in fact its a marvel of organized chaos. It is fitting that the film opens with the fourth wall breaking bugs bunny and Daffy Duck, in fact it is a perfect opening for it. It introduces the tone so early on as if to suspend your idea this will be a traditional sequel, a proverbial, "Beware all yee who enter here", if you will.
While it is a different tone it is still faithful to the absolute chaotic nature of it's namesake, i'd argue even more so than the original. While in the first movie its a comedic horror flick that set up an entire Spielberg-esque film for the gremlins to hijack, The New Batch allows them to simply take over the movie itself both literally midway into the movie and figuratively through the monolithic and entirely corporate Clamp Tower. It is a pure romp in ways of comedy and the art of film making itself, satirizing the disingenuous nature of the film industry. As I said, anyone looking for direct sequel will be sorely disappointed, because that's not what this movie was made to be.