Curious George

Curious George


Reviewed by: Harry Lockhart

On a sunny Thursday, I spent the morning in a darkened room (crazy, I know, but I wouldn't be anywhere else), which I shared with a group of eager and excitable school kids and their exhausted teachers. Hungry with anticipation, the children were jumping around like chimps at a tea party. So with all the chaos that surrounded me, I found a moment of tranquillity and thought to myself, what could brighten up my darkened cinema screen? By the end of the film, only two words sprang to mind - Curious George.

The story of the film is incredibly simple. A museum, owned by Mr Bloomsberry (voiced by Dyke Van Dyke) is facing closure. His scheming son Junior (Arrested Development's David Cross) wants to demolish the place and turn it into a multi-storey car park. Up steps Ted, the bumbling museum curator (hilarious Will Ferrell), who reluctantly volunteers to save the day.

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So our intrepid explorer sails to Africa to uncover the lost statue of Zagawa, but instead of discovering a 40ft carving of a Simian, he finds a small replica and a cheeky little monkey with an appetite for life, so charming it warms the coldest of hearts.

With his mischief-making monkey in tow, Ted heads back to New York to tell to Mr Bloomsberry he has failed in his task and doomed his beloved museum. But wait! Can a little monkey magic help Ted uncover the truth of the replica statue and make him realise that Maggie (wonderful Drew Barrymore) is the girl of his dreams?

The story of Curious George flows beautifully, with many enjoyable set pieces, my favourite being the giant monkey scene. Credit must go to screenwriters Ken Kaufman and Mike Werb, who manage to capture the essence of Margaret and H A Rey's original novels - a bit of trivia for you: the name of the ship Ted travels to Africa in is called the H A Rey.

The world of Curious George has taken 10 years to come to the screen, with the use of vibrant colours, computer-generated backgrounds and shading of the characters and environment, which gives it a unique feel and adds to the film's warmth. There is even a hint of classic Disney here.

Jack Johnson provides the soundtrack that complements the animation with laidback and soulful tunes. He is a composer whom I know nothing about, but will definitely be keeping an ear open for in the future.

Curious George is the most charming animated film I have seen in a long time, due to the fact that it doesn't overload with multi-layered jokes and sly innuendos. It just goes out to entertain and make people feel happy.

Judging by the positive reaction from the excited school kids, weary teachers and lone reviewer, I raise my yellow hat to you, Curious George, with gratitude and affection.

Reviewed on: 26 May 2006
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The animated adventures of a man in a yellow hat and a magic monkey from Africa.
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Director: Matthew O'Callaghan

Writer: Ken Kaufman, Mike Werb, based on the books by Margaret and H A Rey

Starring: voices of Will Ferrell, Frank Welker, Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy, Joan Plowright, Dick Van Dyke

Year: 2006

Runtime: 86 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US


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