Release Date: September 26, 2006
Sometimes a film brings about a revelation that has been years in the works. Some films draw out emotions buried deep below years of life experience or remind us of a past love. And then there are those movies that bring back a childhood favorite, but they rarely teach us something new about said childhood favorite. Unless of course, we are talking about one of my childhood favorites, Curious George, and the aptly named big screen animated adaption that is sitting in my DVD player. Then not only do I get a childhood favorite right in my living room with a vibrant new look, but I get to learn something new, that something is that I was not aware that the man in the yellow hat had a name…
He does, in fact have a name, at least he does in this very cheerful and fun version, and he is voiced by Will Ferrell, whose natural ability to be completely oblivious and downright hilarious come crashing through in this film, even though it is just a voice over. Aside from that, the film itself is beautifully drawn, paying tribute to the Curious George with which we all fell in love and giving him a little bit of modern flare.
Not only does it appeal to those of us who used to read the books as kids (back in the day…), but it brings a new generation in on this story of friendship and innocence. George is still very curious, and he is still a goofy little monkey that is easy to fall in love with, that is for sure. Another thing that is for sure is the fact that the soundtrack to this animated wonder, mostly written and performed by Jack Johnson, really illuminates the story. The little monkey may be the heart of the film, but the soundtrack definitely provides the soul, making a fun time for everyone involved.
The only downside is that the film feels a tad long for a children’s flick, possibly leading to some restless youngsters along the way, so if they don’t sit there quietly throughout the film, there is no reason to have them checked for ADD, they are just suffering from a plot that sputters rather than soars. Either way, the film comes out in the end with a lot of heart and enough monkey hijinx to have the kids wanting to watch it again.
The DVD release continues with the theme of adding fun as it provides tons of cool special features geared toward the little ones. Tikes can sing-a-long with Jack Johnson, learn how to draw that famous little troublemaker and learn some new words. While the film sets up for all ages, the DVD digs down and gives parents something to help their little ones grow. On a whole, Curious George is one of those DVDs that everyone should have on their shelves, for the kids they have running around the house and the kid they have inside.
The Upside: A film that embodies what we all loved about the original story, same cute little monkey with a modern cool factor and an illuminating soundtrack.
The Downside: The pace of the story seems to drag at points, but if you make it through those you get a very heartwarming story.
On the Side: The film was originally going to be made into a live action film in the early the 1990s. The front runner for the Man in the Yellow Hat was Arnold Schwarzenegger, who turned the role down.
Film Grade: B+
DVD Grade: A
Related Topics: Home Video