2006
Rated: G
Genre: Kids/Family Adventure Comedy
Directed By: Matt O'Callaghan
Running Time: 1:30
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 12/5/06
Special Features:
Deleted Scenes
Featurette - MONKEY IN MOTION
Drawn To George - Learn to Draw Curious George
Games
Coloring Book
The Ever Changing Colorful Chameleon
Music Video - "Upside Down - Jack Johnson - SIng-A-Long
DVD ROM
CURIOUS GEORGE

 


Ted: Okay, look like you know what you're doing... now, where's the door?

The man in the yellow hat is now named Ted. And his yellow suit is one he was tricked into wearing. And I like it. ďCurious GeorgeĒ takes the adaptation in the right direction, with new character changes that work well. As a fan of the book series, and as someone who grew up reading this wonderful series, I was anxious to see ďCurious George.Ē And the child in me wasnít let down. Many other questions are answered in this big screen animated adaptation (How did George get his name?) that I can describe as one of the most adorable animated films Iíve seen in years.

Thankfully, the people at Universal animate the film in good old-fashioned hand drawn style, and it benefits the end product. Georgeís world is large, colorful and utterly worthy of endless exploration and the child-like symbolism behind this bright eyed monkey isnít lost. Like a primate Dennis the Menace, George views everything with a smile, even when confronted with dangerous animals in his own land. Ted didnít take George, George followed him home, and thatís a great change to people who suggested and sometimes griped about The man in the yellow hat being a poacher who stole George from his own world. Writer Kaufman does everything right here, and keeps this from being a complete cash-in. As with all the books, this sets down on Ted, but really this is about our resident monkey exploring the city of Boston. Jack Johnsonís wonderful score is an excellent compliment to the emotion behind the story of Ted and this rambunctious monkey.

Ted is so cynical and inept, and seeks only to accomplish his goals, while George is all about smelling the roses and living life while you can. The dichotomy between them plays well on-screen, and theyíre fun to watch. Pair that with top notch voice work by Will Ferrell who plays Ted like an animated Jack Tripper, a man who gets into all sorts of trouble and misunderstandings, and physical outtakes, while he attempts to bring home an ancient relic that will save the museum he works in.

 

Dick Van Dyke and David Cross are great as the father and son owners of the museum. Dykeís character wants to save the museum while Crossí character demands progression and will do anything to turn it into a parking lot. The scenes of discovery and guiltless adventure make for some of the most adorable moments, as Ted hovers along the city, gets caught in a Penguin tank, and ruins yet another world series for a certain Boston team (the funniest scene in the film).

The great, immortal Frank Welker gives an excellent performance as the rambunctious George, the monkey who is an infinite child and only wants to do well by Ted, but gets himself into nothing but trouble. Welkerís imitation of the monkey with the assorted laughs is the most un-credited performance of the year. ďCurious GeorgeĒ is a wonderful cartoon, and this manís inner-child was pleased. Thereís a Curious George in everyone, and thatís why heís such a prevalent character in the literary world.

Sadly, the supporting performance by Drew Barrymore is not only utterly pointless, adding nothing to the story and the plot progression, but her character Maggie who has a strong interest in Ted, is boring and a blatant romance for the sake of romance and padding on an otherwise strong story. She pops up every so often just to engage in typical romance exchanges, plays no real role in the climax, and really accomplishes nothing in a film that should have been a buddy comedy first and foremost.

Sure, itís a film for the toddlers, but that doesnít mean the adults canít find something good from it. Iím an animation buff, and I love the books, and I love the cast, but I also took entertainment from it, and simply loved the adventures of George, the child in all of us.

 

 

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