This gentle little film about the monkey whose curiosity gets him into trouble and the man who befriends him will make 4-8-year olds very happy and give their parents a chance for a nice nap.
Generations of children have loved the little monkey created by husband and wife team team H.A. and Margret Rey for more than half a century. Curious George gets into trouble because he always wants to explore and try out and investigate everything he sees. Children, who have the same impulses and struggle with the restrictions imposed on them by parents and teachers, get a vicarious thrill from th freedom and daring of CG’s adventures — and sometimes from seeing him face the consequences. That nice Man in the Yellow Hat is always there to take care of him, which is a great source of comfort to children as well.
This first feature film keeps the same simple lines of the originals — that’s story lines and drawing lines — but changes the relationship a little. Instead of capturing Curious George, George more or less captures the Man in the Yellow Hat.
As with the books, the best part of the movie is seeing Curious George get into mischief: dipping his hands into cans of paint and applying his own idea of decorating to the walls and taking off into the sky with a handfull of helium balloons. It is less successful when the Man in the Yellow Hat, now named Ted and with the voice of Will Ferrell, gets into some trouble himself.
Ted works for a museum that is about to be turned into a parking lot — that is, unless Ted can save the day by bringing back a huge African idol. In Africa, Ted finds the idol, but it is only a couple of inches tall. He also makes friends with the little monkey, who sneaks on board the cargo ship that is taking Ted home.
Ted has a hard time telling the truth about the idol, and briefly tries to create a fake to please the museum visitors. He also tries to get rid of Curious George — his building does not allow pets of any kind and George keeps getting into trouble. But he ultimately tells the truth (though does not suffer any consequences). And he learns that George has brought him — and taught him — a great deal.
Parents should know that the movie has some mild peril and some naughty behavior from both Ted and George. They should also know that this film is the first animated film to include product placement. It is subtly done, and does not include toys or candy, but it is still an intrusion. Parents will want to warn children not to stare into the sun as Ted does.
Families who see this film should talk about why Junior was jealous of Ted and why Ted had a hard time telling the truth about the idol. Why did Ted change his mind about Curious George? Can you tell about a time you were curious?
Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy the books.