After a series of beloved books and cartoons, filmmakers had a big challenge to come up with a big screen version of the story of Paddington bear, combining animation and live-action for a romp akin to the '101 Dalmatians' or 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' movies. And the filmmakers confounded critics by coming up with something that's genuinely charming while adding elements more familiar to today's young audiences.

Paddington poster
Paddington returns in stunning live action

For the film 'Paddington', the main departure from the canon is the addition of a villain in the form of Nicole Kidman's snaky Millicent. She may get to do some 'Mission: Impossible' stunts and Cruella de Vil vamping, but Millicent's chief purpose in the movie is clearly to add some final-act excitement in a story that's otherwise adorable and warmly witty.

More: Read our review of 'Paddington'

Director Paul King (who made the cult arthouse hit 'Bunny and the Bull') also wrote the script for 'Paddington', and went to pains to weave Millicent into the central plot as well as to slightly sideline her villainy. Even with some genuine peril, there isn't much real threat. No one in the audience will think Paddington will end up as a taxidermy exhibit in London's Natural History Museum. Although the film's characters don't know that, and King uses the tension to add some emotional energy to the finale.

More: Watch the trailer for 'Paddington'

Still, it's also true that deleting Millicent from the film entirely wouldn't change anything about the story, and might actually have emphasised the more important themes about friendship, loyalty and family. But never mind, the film is still a charmer, and audiences are likely to demand to see the continuing adventures of this engaging little bear from darkest Peru.