DVD Review: Curious George
By Jeff Swindoll Sep 27, 2006, 14:09 GMT
The unforgettable fun begins when museum guide Ted (voiced by Will Ferrell) journeys to the African jungle to find an artifact that will save his museum from closing. There he meets Curious George, a pint-sized chimp with insatiable curiosity and a nose for adventure. It’s monkey see, monkey do when Ted returns home by ship and the adorable simian stows away to be with him. Back home, George manages to ...more
The mischievous, but curious, monkey named George finally makes it to the big screen along with the Man in the Yellow Hat. Actually, the movie turns out to be quite good but will be better the younger you are (though adults will probably still enjoy it).
George (though not named yet) is a monkey in the jungle who is always getting into trouble. The other animals are seemingly getting fed up with his antics. Ted (Will Ferrell) works at Mr. Bloomsbury’s (Dick Van Dyke) museum. Ted is absorbed loves his work but the children of Miss Dunlop’s (Drew Barrymore) class think that the museum is boring with its hand off (no touching the exhibits!) policy. Ted is so absorbed in his work he barely notices that Miss Dunlop has a crush on him. He’s terrified when Mr. Barrymore announces that the museum is losing money and he is going to put his son’s plan into action.
It seems that Junior (David Cross) is going to tear down the museum and put up a parking garage (that’s where the money is). Ted desperately suggests that what the museum needs is a huge exhibit and reminds Mr. Bloomsbury that at one time he was seeking the Lost Shrine of Zagawa. Ted’s idea is that Mr. Bloomsbury find the shrine and display it at the museum, but Mr. Bloomsbury is too darn old. He decides that Ted should take his journals and continue the quest.
The greedy Junior has other plans and tears half of the map to the shrine out of the journal. Ted goes to the safari outfitters to prepare for the journey and they pawn off a case of yellow suits on him that they accidentally ordered (yellow is the new khaki).
Ted sets off into the wilds of Africa and George (Frank Welker – though George doesn’t really talk) mistakes Ted’s hat for a banana. Ted only makes it to the halfway point on the map and finds a small version of the idol, thinking that it is the real thing and not the enormous idol he expected. He takes a picture with his cell phone to show Mr. Bloomsbury the miniature idol, but Bloomsbury misinterprets the picture and thinks that it’s even bigger then he imagined. The depressed Ted gives his hat to George and heads for the boat. George thinks that the hat should go with Ted so he follows him to the States.
Ted is horrified to learn that George has followed him and even more horrified to see that Mr. Bloomsbury has spent a mint on advertising for the “over 40 feet tall” Lost Shrine of Zagawa. He and George has a series of misadventures involving the doorman Ivan (Ed O’Ross), snooty Miss Pushbottom (Joan Plowright), and inventor Clovis (Eugene Levy), but Ted has to find a way to save the museum as well as keep George out of trouble.
Curious George is an excellent family film. There’s something for every member of the family. However, the younger you are the more you’ll enjoy the film. There’s enough to keep the adults watching but I doubt that they will want repeat viewings as the kiddies will be more apt to do.
George is a cute little fella and I’m glad that the filmmakers chose to keep him a silent, childlike monkey. I can imagine that some filmmakers would be tempted to give George a voice (aka make him talk), but the filmmakers chose to keep him silent as he is in the books. Although I did enjoy the film I thought that it seemed to lose a little steam towards the end, but that’s just my opinion.
Universal also seemed to also feel that Curious George was aimed towards the younger set since the special features are geared towards them (more below). Curious George also features a wonderful soundtrack by Jack Johnson. So enjoyable that the soundtrack was a surprise number 1 Billboard hit.
Curious George is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and enhanced for 16x9 televisions. A separate fullscreen edition is also available. Special features include the 3 minute “Upside Down” music video by Jack Johnson. You have a choice of just watching the video or watch a special sing along version.
There are 15 deleted scenes totaling about 16 minutes, but they’re in unfinished form but they do have the vocal tracks. Next is the 5 minute “Drawn to George” featurette where animator Jeff Johnson shows you how to draw George. Next is the 4 minute “Monkeying around with Words” which teaches kids how to read. The only feature that seems to be geared towards adults is the 4 minute “A Very Curious Car” that focuses on Ted’s car in the movie.
It has interviews with production designer Yarrow Cheney, director Matt O’Callaghan, executive producer Ken Tsumura, CG supervisor Thanh John Nguyen, and production supervisor David Lee. Next is the 1 minute 45 second “Monkey in Motion” where Jeff Johnson makes a flip drawing showing George in motion.
The DVD also has 4 games that you can play on your DVD player. There are more games on the DVD-ROM features along with printable coloring sheets. Finally, there’s a 1 minute “Read with your Child” commercial sponsored by Shea Homes.
Curious George is a wonderful film that the whole family can enjoy. It’s a safe rental for the kids and the younger you are the more they’ll enjoy the film. That being said, the young at heart will also find something to love. Curiosity about this fine family film should add it to your rental queue or put it on your to buy list.