April and the Extraordinary World (2015) — PICK
Paddington 2 (2018) — PICK
Look, parents, I like Dwayne Johnson too, and I get why you’re taking your kids to see Jumanji 2 and Rampage in theaters. But please let me tell you about two terrific family films on home video that will stick with your family long after the Rock’s blockbusters are forgotten.
Possibly you missed Paddington (2015), which blazed a trail at odds with the slickness, freneticism and crassness of Hollywood family fare. Paddington 2 has the same gentleness of spirit, courtesy and whimsy.
Our hero, voiced by Ben Whishaw, is earnest, polite and thoughtful, if naive and disaster-prone, and lives by his beloved Aunt Lucy’s maxim: “If you’re kind and polite, the world will be right.” Sally Hawkins and Hugh Grant are among the terrific cast.
On Netflix, check out April and the Extraordinary World, a French-Belgian-Canadian animated adventure as brainy and ambitious as Paddington 2 is sweet and gentle.
Set in an alternate European history with Jules Verne steampunk technology and talking animals, it dazzles with its constant invention and creative daring, taking bold leaps right to the end.
Caveat Spectator: April and the Extraordinary World: Stylized violence and menace, mild thematic content. Older kids and up. Paddington 2: Slapstick action and comic menace; a rude term and a single profanity; mild naughty humor. Fine family viewing.