“Paddington 2” is no longer the highest-rated film on Rotten Tomatoes. A negative review has dropped the previously-universally-beloved flick’s Tomatometer score to 99%, tying it with some movie called “Citizen Kane.”
On Friday, writer Eddie Harrison of film-authority.com posted the review that ended Paddington’s month-long reign as the best-reviewed movie of all time, at least by the review aggregator’s metric. “Citizen Kane,” the film that many consider Orson Welles’s magnum opus, previously held the honor until an 80-year-old Chicago Tribune review claiming it “failed to impress” resurfaced in April.
Harrison, doubling down on his gripes from 2017, was a little more passionate with his distaste.
The critic’s issues with “Paddington 2” include everything from the animated bear’s design (“evil, beady eyes and ratty fur”) to star Ben Whishaw’s voice work (“sounds like a member of some indie-pop band coming down from an agonising ketamine high”).
Harrison’s review, which he originally delivered on BBC Radio, posits that “the charm is entirely missing” from not just “Paddington 2” but its 2014 predecessor as well.
But that’s not all. According to Harrison, both the depth and realism of the original “Paddington” stories are noticeably absent from the modern retellings as well.
“Considerations of race and identity, key to the Paddington character, are not addressed, and the situations that this Paddington finds himself in are contrived and ridiculous,” he wrote. “It simply shouldn’t happen to a bear.”
Harrison concluded his takedown of the lovable bear (and his perfect score) with some bold claims.
“This is not my Paddington Bear, but a sinister, malevolent imposter who should be shot into space, or nuked from space at the first opportunity. Over-confident, snide and sullen, this manky-looking bear bears little relation to the classic character, and viewers should be warned; this ain’t yo mamma’s Paddington bear, and it won’t be yours either. Maybe if you’ve never seen the tv show and don’t know any better, this’ll work, but long-term Paddington fans will find this too much to bear.”
Despite what Harrison’s derisive review would lead you to believe, other reviews of “Paddington 2” describe the film as “a guiding light in the dark” and even “perfect.”