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"Dead-Eyed Nightmare Bear"
June 18, 2014 5:48 AM   Subscribe

With Michael Bond's beloved children's classic coming to life on your screens in Christmas 2014, the horrifying CGI rendering of Paddington has spawned a new meme called "Creepy Paddington."

Colin Firth was to voice Paddington, but decided to part amicably with the production.

These two articles about the movie from the AV Club are worth it for the amusing read.
posted by Kitteh (111 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Please note that the tag says "Please look after this bear. Thank you." not "Please make a creepy computer-generated image of this bear that will scare children and adults alike. Thank you." and not just because it made for a smaller tag.
posted by tommasz at 5:52 AM on June 18 [9 favorites]


Well, that had earwax-eating and head-in-toilet immersion, the two main elements of whimsey I remember from Bond's stories.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:52 AM on June 18 [14 favorites]


I humbly suggest Liam Neeson to voice the Dead-eyed Nightmare Bear.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 5:53 AM on June 18 [7 favorites]


Good god that trailer is awful.
posted by jbickers at 5:53 AM on June 18 [10 favorites]


I'm outraged, outraged I tell you. /DailyMail
posted by arcticseal at 5:53 AM on June 18


Michael Bond's beloved children's classic coming to life on your screens in Christmas 2014

This is wrong and should be stopped.

Nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
posted by jammy at 5:55 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


In a very roundabout way, I am glad the movie exists, because it has led to the meme, which means this now exists.
posted by Shepherd at 5:58 AM on June 18 [10 favorites]


Toilet-humour.

LITERALLY.


posted by Fizz at 5:59 AM on June 18


It's hard to believe that a British producer, director, and a mostly British cast (who the hell is Millicent?) could have created this disaster. I'm not surprised Colin Firth finally decided to say "fuck this, this isn't Paddington". Good on him!
posted by Runes at 6:02 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


It's hard to believe that a British producer, director, and a mostly British cast (who the hell is Millicent?) could have created this disaster.

It could be worse. It could be the horrifying Postman Pat movie.
posted by fight or flight at 6:06 AM on June 18


They make Paddington look a bit like a taxidermied raccoon.

However, that bear can tear a cork off a bottle like a pro. Is this perhaps Irvine Welsh's Paddington?
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:09 AM on June 18 [7 favorites]


I realize this makes me the oldest of old people, but why does every kids movie have to be a neverending carnival of property destruction? Why is "that person's gorgeous townhouse has been permanently marred by water damage" entertaining?

(Although to be fair, I remember being similarly horrified by the Beethoven movies a million years ago.)
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:09 AM on June 18 [24 favorites]


I humbly suggest Liam Neeson to voice the Dead-eyed Nightmare Bear.

I'd argue that Werner Herzog's experience on Grizzly Man would lend itself admirably to this.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:12 AM on June 18 [33 favorites]


I don't know, I chuckled at the "dogs must be carried" gag.
posted by Curious Artificer at 6:15 AM on June 18 [6 favorites]


Going with the toiletcam perspective from Trainspotting seems like an odd homage for a children's film.
posted by Nelson at 6:18 AM on June 18 [14 favorites]


Why is he walking around naked?
posted by biffa at 6:22 AM on June 18


the bear in that trailer keeps getting fucked up
posted by Greg Nog at 6:24 AM on June 18 [12 favorites]


i dread the impending paddington/pedobear crossover memes.
posted by echocollate at 6:26 AM on June 18 [9 favorites]


I liked the trailer.

Then again, I sell bear coverage to home insurers. This will definitely boost my quarterly sales.
posted by Atreides at 6:27 AM on June 18 [16 favorites]


This is how Paddington should behave in the bathroom.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 6:28 AM on June 18 [13 favorites]


Watching him bilaterally lobotomize himself with toothbrushes was gag-inducing, and then... I just don't understand. Why is those things?
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:29 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


From the producer of Harry Potter and Gravity

I think I would see that one. That is the one where Weasley gets aerated by some debris moving 17,000 mph, right?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:29 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


I don't know. I tried as hard as I could to find the bear 'creepy', but to me it doesn't look any more disturbing than any other bit of CGI fakery (e.g. the Tintin film). And the trailer was perfectly ok in the sense that I'd take my young kids to see it if they wanted to see it, and might even enjoy it myself on some level.

I think there's a bit too much 'X is creepy' on the Internet these days. Maybe 'creepy' doesn't mean the same thing it used to.
posted by pipeski at 6:30 AM on June 18 [8 favorites]


Even weirder, the director Paul King was the director of The Mighty Boosh, having "directed all three series, as well as their live tour shows in 2006 and 2008."
posted by Ian A.T. at 6:34 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


That is the one where Weasley gets aerated by some debris moving 17,000 mph, right?

In Space, No-one Can Hear The Name That Must Not Be Spoken.
posted by mhoye at 6:37 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I clicked on both links expecting to be creeped out, but totally wasn't creeped out at all. It looks like a bear in a hat and a coat next to a suitcase.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:38 AM on June 18 [6 favorites]


As a home owner, that trailer is total nightmare fuel for a number of reasons.
posted by Theta States at 6:47 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's kind of lifeless animation, but not particularly creepy?

We can do creepy, if that's what you want.
posted by mhoye at 6:48 AM on June 18 [10 favorites]


Wait, so, is Paddington supposed to be an actual bear? I always thought he was supposed to be like Pooh - a living teddy bear.
posted by dnash at 6:48 AM on June 18 [17 favorites]


I am not creeped out, but I don't know why you'd adapt such an iconic figure as Paddington and come up with a CGI depiction that looks bugger all like the original. Did they run out of money with the film and just have to go with some off the shelf build a bear package?
posted by lesbiassparrow at 6:49 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


This is how Paddington should behave in the bathroom.

Yes! So good. So very much better.

To say Paddington was in trouble was to put it mildly. He tried calling out "Help! Help!," fairly quietly, so as not to disturb anyone.
posted by jammy at 6:53 AM on June 18 [11 favorites]


So, they looked at the original and decided "Let's make something as completely different in spirit as possible while still keeping a bear in it"?
posted by Wordshore at 6:53 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Take the Downton Abbey part, they said. It'll mean great things for your career, they said.

Oh, Hugh Bonneville. We have all failed you. Failed you so badly.

(I seriously, seriously think this would be better if they had literally (and I mean literally in the literal sense of the word) just re-released "Grizzly Man" under the title "Paddington." I mean that would be obscene, but it would be better than what this appears to be. I'm serious.)
posted by Naberius at 7:10 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


COMING SOON

Grimdark CGI Roobarb and Custard annihilate a continent.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:12 AM on June 18 [10 favorites]


-bear is not portly enough
-coat is too short
-legs are too long
-bear has teeth
-TEETH
-head not hedgehog-shaped enough
-needs more marmalade

This Paddington saddens me.
posted by phunniemee at 7:23 AM on June 18 [31 favorites]


Godzilla vs. Clifford, The Big Red Dog will be next summer's blockbuster.
posted by delfin at 7:24 AM on June 18 [6 favorites]


Wait, so, is Paddington supposed to be an actual bear?

He's from Darkest Peru.

Which means he must in fact be a spectacled bear and look like this...
posted by Segundus at 7:24 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Not so much "coming to life" as "coming to undeath."
posted by infinitewindow at 7:38 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Perhaps they'll get the guy that did the Mouth of Sauron to do the voice now.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:42 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't little Paddington get a little drunk off the alcohol in that mouthwash?

(I, too, chuckled at the dog thing on the escalator. I'd probably watch this if it was simply a calm, meandering roam through London from a traveling bear's perspective.)
posted by mochapickle at 7:49 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


And I'd definitely watch it if it were narrated by Hugh Bonneville doing a Werner Herzog accent.

My tastes can get pretty specific.
posted by mochapickle at 7:51 AM on June 18 [8 favorites]


Guys guys guys guys maybe this is a secret subversive satire right, right?


(WHY DOES HE HAVE TEETH)
posted by The Whelk at 7:51 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Grimdark CGI Roobarb and Custard annihilate a continent.

Danger Mouse reboot to get gritty origin story.
posted by acb at 7:52 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


This is just wrong on every level. I grew up on the Paddington books to the point where I almost exclusively ate toast with (my mum's homemade) marmalade for breakfast. Paddington should be cute and cuddly and make you want to give him a nice hot cup of cocoa and some biscuits, or toast with marmalade. Not this.... WHY IS HE AN ACTUAL BEAR?

STOP KILLING THE FEW NICE BITS OF MY CHILDHOOD I HAVE LEFT YOU FUCKERS

Ahem.

Opinions. I Has Them.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:03 AM on June 18 [13 favorites]


The original stop-frame one I watched in the 70s creeped me out
posted by GallonOfAlan at 8:04 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


However, that bear can tear a cork off a bottle like a pro. Is this perhaps Irvine Welsh's Paddington?


Going with the toiletcam perspective from Trainspotting seems like an odd homage for a children's film.



This is a mashup that needs to happen.


Choose life. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big hat. Choose suitcases, wellington boots, duffle coats, and shopping carts. Choose a marmalade. Bears like marmalade.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:06 AM on June 18 [34 favorites]


Danger Mouse reboot to get gritty origin story.
The CBBC series Danger Mouse: Origins will be more hard-edged than the 1980s children’s cartoon, focusing on how Dangermouse sacrificed a normal life for a career in espionage and his obsessive pursuit of the evil toad Baron Greenback.
No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

Danger Mouse is for lots of scenes of Danger Mouse and Penfold falling off of things. It is not meant to be "hard-edged." That is all.

No. That is all!
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:13 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


By the way, I realize that is a joke, but some people get ideas.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:14 AM on June 18 [6 favorites]


This seems like a bit of a tryhard meme. I'm not seeing what's creepy here. They made him look like an anthropomorphic bear. Not sure how that's creepier than a walking, talking teddy bear.
posted by Hoopo at 8:23 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


I can't wait until they reboot Mighty Mouse so he's a hulking 8-foot disturbingly realistic mouse with visible nipples and tragic backstory.
posted by The Whelk at 8:26 AM on June 18 [12 favorites]


By "can't wait" do you really mean "wake up in a cold sweat after dreaming this?" Because I do.
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:33 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


WHY DOES HE HAVE TEETH... WHY IS HE AN ACTUAL BEAR?

HE SHITS IN THE WOODS GET USED TO IT
posted by Segundus at 8:35 AM on June 18


You know, I rarely miss a chance to rant against the current trend of transfering any and all existing IP to film to take advantage of the audience-in-a-can effect, but this is one way I could see it working.

Take something with an existing fanbase, and make a film in a wildly different direction, optimized for maximal fan piss-off. Cute and cuddly children's Batman. Low-key Marvel heroes psychoanalytic drama in the Scandinavian style. Mildly incoherent marxist interpretation of Harry Potter, with extra droning philosophical narration in French. The possibilities are endless!
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:37 AM on June 18 [6 favorites]


little bears are cute though. that's what he looks like.
posted by Hoopo at 8:39 AM on June 18


Low-key Marvel heroes psychoanalytic drama in the Scandinavian style.

*slams wallet on table*

Make it so.
posted by The Whelk at 8:40 AM on June 18 [10 favorites]


NO. THAT IS NOT WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE.

THIS IS WHAT PADDINGTON BEAR LOOKS LIKE.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:42 AM on June 18 [6 favorites]


Nthing "not creepy"; but PB is not a cherished childhood memory of mine.
posted by achrise at 8:43 AM on June 18


I posted this on FB this morning and I'm finding it interesting that the majority of people who have no problem with the CGI Paddington are Americans, citing "I never read Paddington when I was a kid so I don't see the fuss" while Canadian and English friends are going "KILL IT WITH FIRE."
posted by Kitteh at 8:48 AM on June 18 [8 favorites]


Tarantino's Wombles would be fun. "When Wimbledon Common got dirty, only one family could clean that shit up..."
posted by Devonian at 8:52 AM on June 18 [9 favorites]


I found Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox similarly creepy.
posted by Beardman at 8:54 AM on June 18


I didn't find it creepy. Quite funny, actually.
posted by harrietthespy at 8:55 AM on June 18


Honest question: Is there any CGI character that isn't creepy? I think the more lovable/beloved the character is intended to be, the CGI feels creepier by comparison.
posted by mochapickle at 8:56 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


I watched it as a kid, and this is abomination.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 8:57 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


WALL-E ain't creepy.
posted by The Whelk at 8:57 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


Prime Minister David Cameron, I don't want to vote for you or your party but if you non-negotiably ban this outrageously offensive movie, I will vote for you and the Tories in 2015 .

It's not just that the CGI is weird/inappropriate, the humour is sacrilegious and crude.
posted by Bwithh at 8:57 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Saw the trailer last weekend when we took our kids to see How to Train Your Dragon 2, and Mrs. Mosk and I were both kinda appalled. The trailer suggested directorial excesses along the lines of Spielberg's Hook times Landis's Blues Brothers. Only with a lot less humor. And no, "lines" was not an accidental word choice there. Seriously, who greenlit this stinker, and how much coke were they snorting?
posted by mosk at 8:59 AM on June 18


The sophistication of the original
posted by Bwithh at 9:00 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


Did they base CGI Paddington off of the bear from Crap Taxidermy?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:02 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Tintin, Lego, Paddington Bear... is there anything else from my childhood that Hollywood wants to bowdlerize and flog to America? The Mister Men? Biggles? Swallows & Amazons? Jennings & Darbyshire? Flashman?
posted by Flashman at 9:12 AM on June 18


There already was a Biggles movie years ago, so I'm afraid that memory has probably been desecrated. My mother, who loved Biggles as a kid, hated it.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:22 AM on June 18


The imaginary trailer for the Hollywood version of Swallows & Amazons is running through my brain right now. Featuring: hee-larious toilet tank pumping sequence, record-scratch takes, slo-mo walking away from exploding boats.
posted by Erasmouse at 9:24 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


Swallows & Amazons?

Oh my God please no. Please, please, please just no. There's maybe three people on the planet who could do those books justice. Anyone else would... well the 'ruthless' joke would have a laugh track probably.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:30 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I can see why they might want to go with a real-bear look rather than a stuffed bear come to life, but why on earth is he proportioned like an adult bear? A rolly-polly bear cub could work, but that one looks like a short, oddly thin bear in a coat, or more precisely like a human wearing a bear outfit, and that makes it creepy.
posted by tavella at 9:30 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


I can see why they might want to go with a real-bear look rather than a stuffed bear come to life

Because they are dead inside.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:32 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


Take something with an existing fanbase, and make a film in a wildly different direction, optimized for maximal fan piss-off.

This is my theory about Prometheus.
posted by zippy at 9:47 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Creepy Paddington . . . Colin Firth was to voice Paddington, but decided to part amicably with the production.

Too bad William S. Burroughs is no longer available. I think he'd be perfect.

 
posted by Herodios at 9:54 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Slender Bear
posted by Fists O'Fury at 10:01 AM on June 18 [7 favorites]


I don't find the bear particularly creepy in and of himself but I just gazed in amazement at the "Paddington licks his own earwax off a toothbrush" scene. I mean, seriously, just what kind of drugs does every single person involved in this production have to be on to read that at the script stage and say "yeah...that sounds right." I'd rather watch the toilet scene from Trainspotting again.

I always thought he was supposed to be like Pooh - a living teddy bear.


Peggy Fortnum's illustrations for the original books (which I grew up on) always had him very clearly as a real bear. I think people who are shocked by that notion are perhaps more invested in the animated TV series than the Michael Bond books.
posted by yoink at 10:01 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Really? I had those books and always interpreted him as a Winnie The Pooh type of bear. The animated series went further in that direction but not that much further, imho.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:05 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


"When their burrow is threatened by a new property development these gentle creatures learn to turn things that the everyday folk leave behind into precision weapons in a fight where only those who make good use of the things that they find will survive" - The Wombles: Overground
posted by merocet at 10:10 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


I'm American, but I read the Paddington books (or at least some of them) when I was young. I'm not as "creeped out" by the CGI as I am by the puerile low-brow humor in the trailer, that as others have said doesn't come even close to the flavor of the original stories.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:13 AM on June 18 [9 favorites]


Really? I had those books and always interpreted him as a Winnie The Pooh type of bea

Maybe you had later editions with different illustrations? Here's a typical Peggy Fortnum Paddington. That's pretty clearly not a Winnie The Pooh type bear.
posted by yoink at 10:15 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Hey movie industry: not everything has to be "edgy", y'know.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:15 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


I knew the books well before the TV series came out, and while I liked the series - it is hugely likeable - the pedestrian nature of the stop-motion missed out on one of Paddington's most important qualities, in that he's a nexus of chaos: He's perfectly polite and calm and well meaning and rational and all around him things explode. The trailer seems very like chapter two of A Bear Called Paddington amped up to the kind of level that modern audiences expect; the escalator gags seem to be perfectly faithful.

My ideal Paddington movie would be set in the 1950s, like a hyped-up Ealing Comedy, and would preferably be directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. But this hardly seems like an abomination. There seems to be no other response than outrage allowed these days.

Yes, Paddington is an actual bear, which is why he has teeth.
posted by Grangousier at 10:17 AM on June 18 [3 favorites]


yoink, a few years ago Shepherd and I bought the Paddington boxed set from the Folio Society. It was indeed filled with Fortnum's version of Paddington, which is how I picture him most often.
posted by Kitteh at 10:20 AM on June 18


I must indeed have had later editions.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:21 AM on June 18


the majority of people who have no problem with the CGI Paddington are Americans...

I'm an American who never read Paddington, and only as an adult became aware of his iconic status and watched a couple of the charming animated TV shows and I'm not OK with it. Not because I find it particularly creepy (it doesn't do uncanny valley the way Polar Express did), but it just looks like a really sucky movie.

What Disney did with the early Winnie the Pooh in the 1960s was a nice treatment of an iconic figure. This is taken a well-loved character and using it as bait to lure children into the maw of a gigantic money-sucking engine.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:22 AM on June 18 [2 favorites]


Postman Pat and now Paddington? Personally I am waiting for LSD to come back into fashion so I can sell my spec script for Jamie and the Magic Torch : Wrath of Woodsworth (probably renamed Jamie and the Magic Flashlight : Rover's Revenge for American audiences).
posted by AndrewStephens at 10:25 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many children and/or pets will be deafened with toothbrushes in the coming months.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:26 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


I think I see the problem.

That is not actually Paddington Bear in the clip, it's his very similar looking cousin, Waterloo Bear.

It's easy enough to miss your stop on the Tube; still I bet there'll be some red faces in Hollywood over this mix-up.
 
posted by Herodios at 10:41 AM on June 18 [11 favorites]


Watching him bilaterally lobotomize himself with toothbrushes was gag-inducing, and then... I just don't understand.

To be fair, my dog tries to get me to stick my fingers far into her ears for me to scratch grey matter and then makes that exact same face.
posted by VTX at 10:42 AM on June 18


I wonder how many children and/or pets will be deafened with toothbrushes in the coming months.

About as many as jump off the roofs of their houses because they were wearing a superman cape.

I.e., none.
posted by yoink at 10:42 AM on June 18


I don't find the CGI that bad--it's no Polar Express or Tintin; the trailer just shows what looks like a very bad movie for 3-year-olds. Frankly, I was surprised the trailer lacked
☑ the requisite fart joke,
☑ someone getting kicked in the junk, and
☑ the song Wild Thing playing while he surfed the bathtub down the staircase.
posted by blueberry at 10:44 AM on June 18 [4 favorites]


I am an American who loved the Paddington books when growing up in the 70s. This does not creep me out.

YMMV, obviously.
posted by egypturnash at 10:53 AM on June 18


The trailer looks like it was made by a team of aliens who had Paddington explained to them in factual terms: "He's a curious bear who's trying and failing to figure out a family's bathroom!"

But the salient fact about Paddington isn't what he is, but who he is. Paddington balances a the curiosity and haplessness of a child with the gentle, set-in-my-ways complacency of a beloved grandmother. His misadventures are silly, not slapstick. He evokes more in the way of pathos than guffaws.

Television Paddington—ever British in his manners, despite his Peruvian origins—tries "calling out 'Help!' fairly quietly, so as not to disturb anyone." Movie Paddington is a silent, unrelenting, and soulless automaton who is capable of mimicry, but lacks interiority.

So, yeah, kill it with fire.

The Mister Men?
For the love of god never speak this aloud, lest it happens.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:57 AM on June 18 [16 favorites]


> ☑ the song Wild Thing playing while he surfed the bathtub down the staircase.

Is "All Star" passé, finally?
posted by ardgedee at 10:59 AM on June 18 [5 favorites]


...one of Paddington's most important qualities, in that he's a nexus of chaos: He's perfectly polite and calm and well meaning and rational and all around him things explode.


My ideal Paddington movie would be set in the 1950s, like a hyped-up Ealing Comedy, and would preferably be directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.


You've actually just described every Jacques Tati movie.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:01 AM on June 18 [9 favorites]


You silly fools. Did you not see Garfield as the evil harbinger of CG madness that it was? This Paddington horror was easily foreseen by anyone who cared to pay attention back in 2004.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:21 AM on June 18


So you're saying that Paddington should be voiced by Bill Murray?
posted by octothorpe at 11:29 AM on June 18 [1 favorite]


> This Paddington horror was easily foreseen by anyone who cared to pay attention back in 2004.

Ahem. 2003 was the year Hollywood set a price on your soul.
posted by ardgedee at 11:37 AM on June 18


Demonizing Paddington is just setting up the inevitable sequel/crossover with the Famous Five, Five Pick The Wrong Day For A Picnic In The Woods.
posted by delfin at 11:46 AM on June 18


The Mister Men?
For the love of god never speak this aloud, lest it happens.


I could foresee problems
posted by Hoopo at 11:58 AM on June 18


it's no Polar Express

People hold up Polar Express as an example of CGI done well? I found the CGI took away anything that could have gotten me to empathize with any of the characters. For me the effect was like one of those animatronic robot birthday songs from Chuck E Cheese or whatever; sorta lacking any humanity or soul. I'm still lost as to why they opted for full CGI on that one; would have been much better with live actors on a CGI backdrop, even.
posted by Hoopo at 12:03 PM on June 18


I think Creepy Paddington works because that particular character design and performance strikes me as intentionally bland. It's a lacuna that works just as well in horror as in family film slapstick, and like a slice of tofu, picks up its flavor from what it's served with. This is as opposed to 3D Smurfs, who show every indication of being about to jump down your throat and eat their way out ala a Stephen King novel.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:16 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


Why does everything have to be Poochie?

I am an American and also Gen X, and a lot of adaptions from my own childhood and earlier that had lived on as classics were pretty faithful to the characters. I can watch the old Dr. Seuss cartoons that were made while he was still around, but the new adaptions licensed after his death, especially the live action weirdness with Mike Myers and Jim Carey, is too much uncanny valley and evil beneath the surface. The Cat in the Hat is already a sinister character the way Seuss wrote and drew him, but not into evil clown territory.

Many of the older adaptions were bad or not up to par, like Bakshi's attempt to bring Tolkein to animation that was mercifully sidelined with budget issues halfway into LOTR. At least he knew how to fit The Hobbit into one sitting. And when movies were not so great, at least they weren't huge and expensive and unavoidable summer blockbusters, not until Spielberg and Lucas came along. I loved their movies as a kid, but at least Lucas had the decency to pay tribute to Kurosawa instead of trying to embellish on his work with a wink and fart jokes. Seven Samurai is way better than either Star Wars or The Magnificent Seven which it inspired, but none of it was smarmy re-imagined bullshit. And Throne of Blood wouldn't have existed if not for King Lear... and it in no way treats the audience like idiots in order to work with the already endlessly re-told and re-worked material in new ways. Poochie never makes an appearance. There's a way to tell old stories to a new audience without destroying what made those stories compelling and timeless. It's always deeply disappointing to me when in new adaptions the audience's intelligence is taken for granted, (as if we've become stupider over time) which kids can pretty much figure out. Everybody hates Poochie.

I understand the impulse to want to retell the stories of our childhood for new generations, and a lot of talented and inspired people do end up on these projects, but characters like Paddington aren't going to impart the same lessons or be remembered fondly decades later if they are pandering to the audience, as imagined by people who lack imagination or the control over the work to allow the story and characters stand on their own. It's like they can't figure out that great characters aren't simply interchangeable archetypes carved out by focus group research. I'm not a purist. I like adaptions if they treat the work that inspired it lovingly, and the audience with a bit of respect.

I didn't discover Paddington until I was already a couple years too old for him, but I still read and enjoyed his adventures thoroughly. It seemed to open a window into another place, where people were gentle to each other even when they made mistakes, and where it rained all the time and bears ate marmalade. Actually it depicted a slice of British culture in a very evocative way for me as a kid, even though never developed a taste for marmalade myself. The tv show was pretty much exactly what I imagined Paddington was like from reading the books. So I'm going to do what I always do when someone goes messing with my childhood stories and just sit this one out (though if I had kids I might not have the choice to make). I'm not discounting the possibility that someone could get it right, if it has the right inspiration behind it, but this isn't it. It's not as terrifying as I had imagined before seeing images of the poster, but this is still Poochie...
posted by krinklyfig at 12:24 PM on June 18 [6 favorites]


People hold up Polar Express as an example of CGI done well?

No, I think blueberry's point was quite the opposite.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:40 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


They are lovely books, and they could have been adapted quite nicely.

I haz a sad.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:03 PM on June 18 [2 favorites]


No, I think blueberry's point was quite the opposite.

Oh. Well in that case, I would stick up for Tintin. Seemed odd to group those 2 together in my mind; I would hold them up at opposite ends of the spectrum of CGI features
posted by Hoopo at 1:28 PM on June 18


They (cuddly CGI critters) generally look creepy when they're pasted into a live action film. They have to make this guy look a bit bearish or else it would be ludicrous; if he looked like the drawings in the books it would be ghastly.

The solutions:

1. Animate the whole damn thing (duh!)
2. Do not make this film (also duh!)
posted by Mister_A at 2:25 PM on June 19


Ooh, I forgot to mention,

MetaFilter: Why is those things?
posted by Mister_A at 2:26 PM on June 19


If you're going to adapt a cheeky English series of children's novels, why not do the Bagthorpe Saga instead?
posted by infinitewindow at 11:02 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


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