Reviewed by: Bob Rossiter
|Better than Average
|Comedy, Kids, Family, Animation, Adaptation
|1 hr. 25 min.
|Year of Release:
February 10, 2006 (wide)
|Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy, Dick Van Dyke
|Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, David M. Kirschner
“Show me the Monkey!”
See our feature article: Curious George—His history and the making of the 2006 motion picture
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)
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
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.