Review by Michael Jacobson
Voices: Will Farrell, Drew
Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy, Dick Van Dyke, Joan Plowright
Director: Matthew O’Callaghan
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 88 Minutes
Release Date: September 26, 2006
“With my maps and my journals, a six-year-old could find the shrine!”
“Thank you!…I think…”
Since Curious George is meant for young children, that’s who I’m going to write my film review for. So grown-ups, bear with me, or better yet, read with your child if you’re inclined.
This movie is about a monkey named George. He lives in Africa where he has many animal friends. He loves to play and have fun with them every day.
The movie is also about a man named Ted. He works in a big American museum where he helps teach kids about science. The museum is owned by a man named Mr. Bloomsberry, who is very sad. People haven’t been coming to his museum very much anymore, and he is worried that he may have to close it down.
But Ted gets an idea. If he can go to Africa and find a giant statue and bring it home to the museum, people will want to see it, and the museum can stay open. He dresses for his trip in yellow. Some people call him The Man in the Yellow Hat because of that.
In Africa, he doesn’t find the statue he’s looking for, but he meets George. George likes Ted and follows him back to the United States. There, he and Ted have many funny adventures. They even use balloons to fly over the city!
Over the course of the movie, Ted has to help George out of some trouble he gets into by being so curious. And George even finds a way to help his friend Ted so that Ted can keep the museum open so that the children always have a place to come and learn. Friends always help each other.
The movie is very colorful and pretty to look at. George is a very funny little monkey. He doesn’t talk, but you’ll always know what he’s thinking. And Ted is a very funny man. Ted and George sometimes have problems to face, but together they learn to get through anything and come out smiling.
When I was a little boy, I used to read books about Curious George. They were a lot of fun to read. I liked George and the Man in the Yellow Hat very much. And I think you will, too. The movie is a lot of fun, too.
The film is a mix of styles, with some hand drawn and computer generated animation combining for the visuals. It’s a very bright, colorful looking anamorphic transfer, much like a child’s bedroom. I believe the term in the business is “eye candy”. Whatever you want to call it, it looks very good on DVD.
The surround track is quite lively, with constant music from Jack Johnson and several big sequences to open up the front and rear stages. A bit of mayhem in the city as a projector makes George look like King Kong is probably the most dynamic bit. Very well done.
The extras start with 15 deleted scenes and a sing-along music video with Jack Johnson. The kids will enjoy the “Monkey Around With Words” segment, or the 4 interactive games (even more are available with you DVD ROM). You can even learn how to draw George yourself, or see how the animators make George come to life. Oddly enough, there are two features linked with outside advertisers…I didn’t think much of those being included on a disc for children.
I don’t know if the movie offers much for the adults, but the kids who loved the books by H. A. Rey should enjoy the proceedings. The film is meant for them and not us, so let them have their good clean fun with it.