Curious George - Review
Review by Jack Foley
IT’S been 65 years since Curious George was first created by German-born couple HA and Margaret Rey.
Somewhat belatedly, perhaps, the impossibly cute chimpanzee gets an impossibly cute big screen adaptation which lovingly seeks to establish the origins of his lasting friendship with The Man With The Yellow Hat, aka Ted.
Directed by Matthew O’Callaghan and produced by Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment, Curious George works for a number of reasons.
It’s a simple but effective children’s tale that thrives on its good nature and charm even though in animation terms, the 2D effects pale by comparison to the likes of Pixar.
And it boasts an excellent soundtrack from man-of-the-moment, Jack Johnson, whose happy go-lucky melodies and easy-going style lends the film a genuinely strong emotional core.
Johnson’s words serve as a showcase for George’s thoughts (the little money doesn’t talk), so whether feeling curious, happy or sad, the music speaks volumes and perfectly captures the moment.
The story in question finds Ted (voiced by Will Ferrell), a museum guide, send to Africa to find an elusive tribal idol that might help to prevent the museum from being closed and converted into a car park by the owner’s son.
Once there, he meets George, a playful chimpanzee, who is hopelessly drawn to Ted’s yellow outfit.
Although Ted’s mission proves unsuccessful – mainly because it’s been thwarted by the son of the museum owner – the amiable guide returns home a hero, unaware that George has followed with him.
The remainder of the film charts the special bond that develops between man and monkey, as they continue to try and save the museum from its seemingly inevitable fate.
As a film, Curious George works best when featuring the little chimpanzee, whose playful friendliness and inquisitive nature lands him in all sorts of trouble.
As such, kids will delight in sequences involving George playing with paint bubbles in the apartment of a disapproving neighbour, or getting carried away (almost literally) with some children’s balloons at the zoo.
With Johnson’s excellent soundtrack to accompany him, it would require a very hard heart indeed not to smile along with his antics.
Less successful is a romantic sub-plot involving Ted’s relationship with a schoolteacher (Drew Barrymore), although the film’s tight running time ensures that this is kept very brief.
Minor criticisms aside, this is a curiously amiable romp that pays respectful homage to its source material. It should keep both the children and adults highly entertained.
Running time: 1hr 26mins