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Curious George
DVD disk
Oct 3, 2006 By: Quigles
Curious George order
Director:
Matthew O Callaghan

Actors:
Will Ferrell
Drew Barrymore
David Cross

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Ted (known in the books as The Man in the Yellow Hat) goes to Africa to find the 40-foot Lost Shrine Of Zagawa so he can save his museum, only to find a curious little monkey instead.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Cute. Very cute. That's what CURIOUS GEORGE is - just fun, silly cuteness. It's one of those rare children's films that not only manages to be completely appropriate for the youngest of children, but can also be understood by them without even having to dumb things down. That's pretty much my biggest gripe when it comes to kid flicks; the filmmakers treat its audience with such a patronizing tone. This especially makes the viewing hard for anyone over 12, since it's really obvious when a movie acts like the people watching it are stupid. CURIOUS GEORGE doesn't have any of that - it simply presents a story that's easy to follow, and avoids any handholding of its young viewers, explaining what they probably don't care about anyway. Even so, the film still doesn't exactly make for exciting viewing parent wise. This really is a film for tots, through and through. We follow the unfortunate mishaps of The Man in the Yellow Hat (voiced by the hilarious Will Ferrell, adeptly showing off his improv skills), right alongside the curiosity-lead adventures of the adorable monkey named George. The kids will no doubt love it to death, while the parents will simply endure it. Luckily for them, this isn't a painful experience to endure. If nothing else, they'll probably smile on and off, laugh a few times, and then enjoy all the feel-good, relaxing tunes of Jack Johnson.

I am so glad they chose to use regular 2D animation on this one (even though there is a great deal of computer imagery), as the bubbly cartoon drawings work perfectly in contrast with the books' artwork. Not that I don't like computer-generated flicks, but I would like a little more balance. Sometimes good ol' fashioned hand drawings are the best way to go, and CURIOUS GEORGE shows why. In fact, the only really negative aspect of the film concerns the love story, which is a lot more grating than it is whimsical. It just seemed like such a forced, contrived plot progression. But hey, this is a kid's movie, and as such, I'm pretty sure the designated audience will be a whole lot more focused on watching George dart around causing mayhem than anything else.
THE EXTRAS
These special features are mostly geared towards the children, which is good since it gives the parents a little bit more time to relax. However, some of them do fall prey to the condescending tone that I mentioned in my review.

Deleted Scenes (16:49): There are 15 of them, all of which were obviously cut to keep the pace going as quickly as possible. They're presented in storyboards, animatics, etc. so I doubt kids will have that much interest in them. Still, it's nice that they're available.

"Drawn" to George (5:08): This would be a nice featurette for kids, had it not been for the obnoxious voiceover. One of the head artists from the film shows step by step how to draw George's head, but as soon as he begins, that grating voiceover kicks in. Kids probably won't mind.

Monkying Around with Words (4:46): A nonsense featurette that explores some of George's favorite words and how they incorporate into the film.

A Very Curious Car (4:46): This shows a little about how the filmmakers went about animating the movie, centrally the car designs (based on Volkswagen). Worth watching.

Monkey in Motion (1:46): This featurette is a lot like the "Drawn to George" one. The main difference is, instead of showing step-by-step how to draw a single drawing, it shows how animation is done in its most basic form.

Games: There are four games to keep kids occupied: "Banana Hunt", "Where's George?", "Virtual Coloring Book", and "The Ever Changing Colorful Chameleon".

Also included is a Music Video (with optional Sing-A-Long) by Jack Johnson titled "Upside Down", and a Read with Your Child PSA.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Finally, a movie for children that's actually suitable for children. There's nothing frightening in it, it's not abundant in inside jokes and pop culture references, and it doesn't go on and on about things kids wouldn't understand (and even if they did, probably wouldn't care about). It's a sweet, feel-good picture that's about as obvious as you can get, and actually benefits because of it. The parents aren't exactly gonna have a blast watching the film, but as long as they can find that little kid still inside them, they'll probably have a good enough time.
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