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Movie Review

Curious George

Reviewed by: Bob Rossiter
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids, Family
Genre:
Comedy, Kids, Family, Animation, Adaptation
Length:
1 hr. 25 min.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
February 10, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Universal Pictures
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Featuring: Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy, Dick Van Dyke
Director: Matt O’Callaghan
Producer: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, David M. Kirschner
Distributor: Universal Pictures

“Show me the Monkey!”

Copyrighted, Universal Pictures

I’m impressed with filmmakers over the production of “Curious George”. I like the movie version better than the children’s book. The film has its own minor problems, but morally it tends to be better than the story written in 1941. That is amazing. At times, the stories of movie and book are exactly opposite, so don’t just assume you know the story.

George is a fun-loving monkey in Africa that likes to help any way he can. Unfortunately, what he does to help usually is the wrong thing to do. Toward the beginning of the movie George sees a half buried egg on the ground. He looks up and sees a nest, so he carries it up the tree and places it with two other eggs that are already there. Of course, we watch all three eggs hatch at the same time two birds and one dinosaur.

The man with the yellow hat now has a name Ted. He works at a museum for his long time friend and mentor Mr. Bloomsberry. Ted teaches students from the nearby school each Thursday, but his lessons sound more fit for a doctoral thesis than a class of fourth graders. The children’s teacher, Maggie Dunlop, is sweet on Ted, but he is so much into the details of teaching and history that he doesn’t notice.

The museum has to close because of a lack of finances, and Mr. Bloomsberry’s son, Junior, wants to tear the building down and build a parking garage. His father and Ted, however, come up with a plan that might just get the money needed to stay open. Ted volunteers to go find the lost shrine of Zagawa a 40 foot idol in Africa. What he finds there, though, is a little monkey that likes to play peek-a-boo (George) and a trinket sized idol. Unfortunately, the picture he takes from his phone and sends back to the museum makes the image look bigger than originally thought.

Unknown to Ted, Mr. Boomsberry advertises the find as gigantic, and his little monkey friend stows away on his ship following him back home. All this leads to some funny antics and some not so funny fibs and deceptions. In the end, though, Ted voluntarily takes responsibility and accepts the consequences of his actions.

Possible objectionable parts of “Curious George” are the three minor mentions of Evolution, the deception that is repented of, and references to a culture that used idol worship. The latter is shown as historical importance, not spiritual. One reporter, though, does ask if the reports of miracle powers from the idol are true, but the question goes unanswered. There is no foul language and no drinking or smoking as in the books. Ted and Maggie do look lovingly into each others eyes twice and arrange for a date, and a woman is in a bathtub of bubbles, but there is nothing shown.

One theme worthy of note is the relationships of both Junior and Ted to Mr. Bloomsberry. Junior, in spite of the fact that he opposed everything his dad did, expected to be treated with more respect and honor than Ted just because he was the son. Ted, on the other hand, wasn’t concerned with those things. He just wanted to serve Mr. Bloomsberry and help him any way he could. This resulted in a closer relationship between the employee and boss than the father and his only son.

Some claim a religious or church relationship today with God, but they are in the same boat with Junior. There is no real relationship because they don’t really want God’s will, they want God to bless their human efforts. Others don’t feel worthy to be blessed by God but say to Him, “I’m sorry God. Please forgive me.” These will be the ones who will be blessed and honored. (See Luke 18:9-14)

Click for free CURIOUS GEORGE activity book FREE “Curious George” Activity Book for kids—Download pdf file (requires Adobe Acrobat)

Overall, I feel this was a very good movie—well produced and directed. I think most families will enjoy “Curious George”.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None

Producer’s Synopsis for parents and teachers

In “Curious George” we meet Ted (Will Ferrell), a highly enthusiastic guide at the Bloomsberry Museum, giving a tour to a group of schoolchildren and their teacher Maggie (Drew Barrymore), who happens to be Ted’s biggest fan. When the museum’s owner, Mr. Bloomsberry (Dick Van Dyke), tells Ted that his beloved museum will have to be closed because of meager attendance, they decide drastic measures are needed in a last-ditch effort to save the museum: an amazing new exhibit, never before seen at any museum. Mr. Bloomsberry shows Ted his secret journal with a map to a lost shrine of the African tribe of Zagawa. Finding and bringing back the gigantic idol for an exhibition will save the museum! Ted excitedly starts planning for his trip to Africa, shopping for the proper gear and clothing, including a bright yellow safari outfit and matching hat.

But Bloomsberry, Jr. (David Cross), who would like nothing more than to see the museum converted into a parking lot, covertly sabotages the expeditionremoving important pages with the location of the idol from the secret journaljust as Ted is about to set sail.

In the jungle, a mischievous little monkey spies Ted in the distance and decides to make friends with The Man with the Yellow Hat. The two play a fun game of peek-a-boo before Ted gets down to business. He now finds what he believes to be the ancient idol, and he is shocked to find that it isn’t giant at allit is absolutely tiny! The dejected explorer sends a photograph of his discovery to Mr. Bloomsberry, who mistakenly believes the picture to be that of the enormous idol. Bloomsberry, Sr. is overjoyed, while Tedoblivious to the mistakeis crestfallen. He finds a much-needed distraction to his worries when he succumbs to the charms of the playful monkey, and a true friendship is born. When it comes time for Ted to leave Africa, his new friend secretly stows away aboard the ship.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bloomsberry is busy making big plans at the museum to unveil the prized idol to the excited crowd. Arriving home in the big city, Ted is horrified to discover that his simian friend has followed him to his apartment building, where pets are not permitted, and has destroyed an apartment belonging to the snooty Miss Plushbottom (Joan Plowright). As if matters couldn’t get worse, poor Ted is now evicted from his apartment building.

Before he has a chance to have a word with Bloomsberry, Sr. back at the museum, Ted is pushed in front of a press conference arranged by Bloomsberry, Jr. As he’s about to reveal the truth about the idol, the scene is disrupted when the monkey accidentally causes the museum’s dinosaur exhibit to collapse. Egged on by his son, Mr. Bloomsberry fires Ted on the spot.

Jobless and homeless, Ted is furious with this monkey who has caused so much trouble. But the monkey’s childlike charm proves irresistible, and Ted finds himself even more attached to his new friend, whom he names George. With the help of his inventor pal Clovis (Eugene Levy), and an assist from George, Ted devises a plan whereby an overhead projector could make the tiny idol appear massivegiving the audience the exhibit they want to see and saving the museum from demise. But just as Ted is about to unveil it, Bloomsberry, Jr. destroys the projector and blames it on George.

Believing the worst, Ted decides he has too many problems and can’t deal with a little monkey, so an animal control officer comes to take him away. As despondent George is being loaded on a cargo ship back to Africa, Maggie convinces Ted that he has made a terrible mistake in letting his best friend go. Ted quickly realizes George has brought joy to his life in the middle of his crisis and runs to the ship to save his buddy.

Overjoyed at the reunion with his human friend, George shows Ted that the tiny idol is actually the key to a secret map that will help them find the giant idol of Zagawa.

Off to Africa, the two discover the real idol and bring it to the Bloomsberry Museum, making it once again one of the city’s key attractions. Ted and Maggie make up, the two Bloomsberrys start a strong relationship and, once again, George saves the day.”

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer Comments
Positive—We took are 8 and 6 ½ year old to the movie, and they loved it. The movie is totally clean and truly a rated “G” movie. My kids laughed up a storm and really had fun. As an adult it was torture to sit through! Very slow, very simple, very innocent! However, that is what a children’s rated “G” movie should be. All in all, it was perfect for the kids. Even 2 and 3 year olds were enjoying it. They left it wide open for a sequel. Worth seeing if your kiddos have not been corrupted by all the high stimulation, loud, “Spy Kids” type movies. Mine loved it.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 3
—Suzanne, age 36
Positive—Outstanding movie! Adorable beyond words. Good clean fun, appropriate for anyone of any age. Unlike some other movies that people think are suitable, I found not a single thing offensive in this one, and I’m pretty sensitive to offensive material in the media. My two children (5 and 6) enjoyed it as well, although toward the end, my 5 year old was ready to go. Of course, sitting for more than 10 minutes for her is a struggle, even at mealtimes. I think the only reason I don’t give it an “excellent” rating is for how the man in the yellow hat was portrayed. In the books, he is portrayed as strong, manly and capable. In the movie, he is somewhat absentminded, scattered and even inept. I don’t like seeing men portrayed like that. I prefer seeing strong men, and I don’t think commercial media shows enough of that. However, there was nothing unbiblical or unscriptural about the film. It was a delight. George was magnetic in his charm, his cooing and his creativity. We loved it!
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Maureen, age 45
Positive—A very good movie for small children. I went with my 8 and 13 year old and they enjoyed the movie, but would have enjoyed a lot more when they were younger.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—John Talley, age 42
Positive—I took my 5 year old son and his 6 year old cousin to this movie, and they both enjoyed it very much (laughing out loud)—and I enjoyed it just as much, because they had such fun. I’ve grown leary to always having the thought that even G-rated movies will present something of questionable value, BUT I was pleased to say this was pure enjoyment for the target age group! The music, the colors and Will Farrel’s little comical remarks made it enjoyable to sit through as an adult. Spiritually speaking, it was very neutral, BUT I highly recommend it nonetheless.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Jose, age 34
Positive—I took my grandchildren aged 3-8, and they had a great time. It was great fun movie!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 1
—Bonnie Bryant, age 54
Positive—This is a good movie for kids, and grown-up as well. Not all shows have to be dirty or have a message to be enjoyed by the population.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Rose Marie Schmalzried, age 70 years
Comments from young people
Positive—Sweet with adorable, soft animation, this movie is about as innocent as they come now-a-days. The story has been changed a bit from the classic books that I grew up with—the Man in the Yellow Hat now goes by the name of Ted, and in this movie he boasts the profession of museum curator, as opposed to the less laudable poacher that he appears as in the books. Little kids won’t notice these subtle differences, and they don’t negatively affect the story, but unfortunately there were a few interspersed messages that did. One that most readily comes to mind is where Ted, in a desperate attempt to find a suitable icon for a grand exhibit that has been blown out of proportion, hatches a plan to fool visitors with a 3-D projection. Ironically, it is the film’s antagonist who questions whether they should stoop so low as to lie to their audience, and then he who is cavalierly dismissed as overreacting. I found that point to be somewhat disturbing, especially when it comes to impressionable little kids. But other than that I found the movie to be refreshingly harmless and uncluttered with excessive innuendoes and puns aimed at an older crowd, aside from one or two very minor instances. My younger siblings loved it, and I would barely hesitate to recommend it.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Kristine, age 17
Positive—Curious George is just so CUTE. I know if he was a person, he would be a good wholesome Christian. I can just tell by his cuteness.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Keal McBeal, age 9
Positive—Very entertaining for anyone 5+. I took my little brother to see it for his birthday, he loved it. But with his short attention span, about half way through he would ask, 'when is this movie going to be over?' Extremely cute!
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Ruth, age 12
Positive—This movie was great; I went to see it with some of my freinds, and we liked it a lot, we laughed through the whole movie, it had a good story line, my favorite line was 'This is fun, but I got to go.' I recommend this movie to people of all ages.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
—Nathan, age 12
Positive—This is the best movie I have ever seen!! I makes you laugh and cry at the same time. …I went with some of my friends and they all thought it was awesome!! We were quoting lines by the time we got out. It’s clean, no bad words, just fun,fun,FUN!! This is a must see movie!!! It has jokes parents, teens, AND kids will enjoy!!! Take your whole family!!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Brittney, age 12
Positive—This movie was great! I saw it with my two brothers (10 and 3), and they both loved it. The good thing is that it isn’t boring for adults or teens either. Most movie companies seem to think that for a kids movie to be funny, you have to have a lot of crude humor in it; but this one had absolutely NOTHING wrong with it at all! Great family movie; go see it!
My Ratings: Good / 2
—Linda, age 14
Positive—Very cute movie! A friend wanted me to watch this, and I absolutely loved it. The story, the music, the lovable Curious George made it very worthwhile. This is a classic for all to see, especially if you’re a kid at heart.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
—Katy, age 15
Movie Critics
…“Curious George” is a 10 on the Adorable Scale…
—Crosswalk, Lisa Rice
…Given the hellzapoppin', media-zapped, ADD nature of so much contemporary animation, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the new cartoon of “Curious George”…doesn’t veer all that far from the soothing tone of the books. This isn’t a high-tech kinetic update…
—Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman
…4 out of 5 stars… Little George is as curious—and entertaining—as always in the new big-screen adaptation …
—Orlando Sentinel, Roger Moore
…What fails is the horrible focus on the responsible Man of few words, now inexplicably dubbed “Ted” and turned over to motormouth Will Ferrell. …
—Sun Newspapers of Cleveland, Stan Urankar
…Kids, parents will open their hearts to 'Curious George'…
—The Arizona Republic, Bill Muller