WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

PLUGGED IN RATING

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

When he first shows up at London's Paddington Station, the smallish orphan bear with the bright red hat is feeling … a little lost, really. He knows he's been sent here from Darkest Peru to find a loving human family to take him in. The sign his aunt put around his neck says as much. But the reactions from the many Londoners bustling past him aren't quite what he expected. They hardly even listen long enough for him to politely introduce himself.

Perhaps he isn't doing it right.

His loving Aunt Lucy—who, by now, is settled comfortably in a home for retired bears—had told him about human ways, you see. She assured him that they would "not have forgotten how to treat a stranger." After all, the English explorer who long ago met Aunt Lucy and her husband Uncle Pastuzo in the wilds of Peru had happily taken the time to teach them about everything from the joys of human speech to the wonders of marmalade.

Are these people here all so very different?

Finally, a human family does stop long enough to listen to the little bear. Well, actually the kind woman of the family, Mrs. Brown, stops to listen. Her husband, Mr. Brown, doesn't want to get involved. And their two children, Jonathan and Judy, aren't all that excited about the delay either.

But the Mrs. can't bear leaving such a lonely little bear at the station on such a blustery, rainy night. She says they should at least take the talking fur ball—whom she cheerfully dubs Paddington—into their home for the night. Then in the morning they could direct him to the right people.

Mr. Brown, who is an insurance assessor, worries over the ramifications, though. Why, bringing a real bear into your home—even a talking one—increases a family's risk of damage by some 4,000%, he tells his wife. Mrs. Brown assures him that, again, it will just be for the night. And that's not such a very long time, is it? What could possibly go wrong?

Paddington silently agrees to come, giving them all a beary grin. After a night of good rest, he can go padding around the city looking for the English explorer in the morning. And with the Browns' help he'll be certain to find his way. What could possibly go wrong, indeed?

Well, it seems they're all about to find out in this cinematic adaptation of Englishman Michael Bond's series of children's stories he launched in 1958.

Advertisement

Positive Elements

After being orphaned at a young age and raised by his aunt and uncle, Paddington learns to talk human and to appreciate the use of human manners. And the young bear makes an effort to be polite in every situation. He often winds up in the midst of accidental catastrophes, but never from want of trying to do what's right and proper.

Paddington is also naturally inclined to look for the best in people in spite of their faults. He does so with the Browns and eventually wins them all over to his side. The nanny, Mrs. Bird, tells a reluctant Mr. Brown, "This family needs that wee bear every bit as much as he needs you." And Mr. Brown eventually comes to agree. He steps forward to defend Paddington, declaring, "We love Paddington. And that makes him family."

Family is indeed a very important part of this pic. It's something Paddington is searching for with all his might. We see that when Mr. Brown first becomes a parent, his love for his newborn upends all his attitudes about risk and danger, transforming him into one protective papa. Later though, it's made clear that risk-taking can be very necessary when a family member is in danger … even a fur-covered family member.

Spiritual Content

Paddington is startled awake by someone's voice, and he asks, "Is that you, God?"

Sexual Content

To help Paddington look for vital information on the English explorer, Mr. Brown dresses up as a maid. A guard then proceeds to flirt with him. "It's unusually hot," Mr. Brown says, embarrassed. "Just like you," the man replies. Later, several family members tease the straitlaced Mr. Brown about having to disguise himself in a dress. He stutteringly explains that it was "more of a housecoat, really. … It was somewhat liberating." Meanwhile, Mom seems A-OK with Judy's crush hanging out in her room.

Violent Content

Though played out as near-slapstick, the film's sense of peril is certainly one element of the Paddington story that's been ramped up onscreen. À la 101 Dalmatians' Cruella De Vil, the London Museum of Natural History's director of taxidermy, Millicent, is a vivid villain who has a room filled with dozens of animals she's captured and killed. We feel the threat in her voice as she turns on a squirming animal in a cage. And from the moment we meet her, she declares her desire to find and stuff the talking bear, Paddington. "Why?" a man asks her. "Is he endangered?" "He is now!" she gleefully replies.

After that we see several scenes where she "hunts" the oblivious Paddington, shooting tranquilizer darts at him, etc. She eventually does knock him out and kidnap him, and we watch her walk toward his prone form with a sharp knife in hand (before being interrupted and called away). When Paddington crawls into an unlit furnace and tries to escape through its chimney, Millicent turns on the unit's flames to stop him. She also suspends a taxi driver upside down to extract information from him.

Accidently creating some of his own blundering danger, Paddington floods the Brown's home, causes a gas explosion in their kitchen, blows apart a building's pneumatic message-delivery system, and finds himself suspended 30 feet in the air, held aloft by nothing but an umbrella. Mr. Brown has a pin shoved into his arm when he lies about it being a prosthetic. A huge earthquake tears up the Peruvian landscape, destroying Paddington's tree house and (offscreen) killing his Uncle Pastuzo.

Crude or Profane Language

Millicent speaks of being called "dung-breath."

Drug and Alcohol Content

While the rest of the family attempts to rescue Paddington from Millicent, Mrs. Bird engages in a drinking game with a museum guard. The two go through an entire bottle and start on another one, both getting drunk. An elderly man drinks a glass of wine.

Other Negative Elements

Paddington and Mr. Brown sneak into the British Explorer's Guild and break into someone's computer.

A ship's horn subs in for the sound of passing gas. Millicent is hit with a load of horse manure. Paddington gets his head lodged in a toilet. Etcetera.

Conclusion

Soon after the movie's start, our notably disaster-prone furry protagonist shows up on a London railway platform with his aunt's hand-scratched message hanging around his neck. The note implores any passersby to "Please look after this bear." It's exactly the sentiment millions of Paddington Bear fans (spread out around the globe and over more than a half-century) wanted to convey to Hollywood filmmakers upon hearing that a live-action adventure was being made of the classic tale.

And those filmmakers did. Mostly.

Yes, things have been updated quite a bit. There's more falling-down-the-chimney peril in the going. A manufactured Nicole Kidman villain gets a little threatening with her tranquilizer darts and taxidermy knife. There are just enough toilet humor giggles to make grumpy neighbor Reginald Curry harrumph. And there's a modern nod to a kind of "liberating" tolerance subtly woven into the subtext (something that can be seen from both sides of the moral mountain, if you will).

But all those tiny tufts, bumps and bits of uneaten marmalade sandwiches don't quite bumble their way into upending a suitably plush and cuddly pic that gives three cheers to the importance of loving families.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!