This One's for Children

This One's for Children

Movie Review

"Curious George" isn't as clever or well scripted as the likes of "Hoodwinked" or "Shrek" and the plot is incredibly simple and slightly benign but tell that to the little girl, in ruby red shoes, who sat five seats away from me bouncing up and down with excitement at every moment.

In this day and age of computer animated, incredibly detailed 3D children's movies that often forget that they are a children's film it's nice to see a movie that works on one level: entertaining children. While a few winks to the parents in the audience are made, it is pretty clear that "Curious George" is only curious about showing those 2 to 10-year-olds a good time.

With simple but vibrant animation and a monkey so cute that its physically impossible not to say "Awww" at least once, George delights and entertains with the basic morals and life lessons that the books taught us long ago.

The film does shift the focus of the books, which usually followed George around as he caused trouble, to both George and the Man with the Yellow Hat. In the film the man gets a name, Ted, along with voice acting by Will Ferrell and an explanation of why he wears that yellow hat. The museum where Ted works is about to close because people aren't showing up, so he travels to the jungle where he unsuccessfully attempts to find an ancient statue that will bring more patrons in. Instead he finds George who chases him back to the big city and starts wreaking curious and adventurous havoc while teaching Ted how to live and learn better.

The movie not only captures the books' illustration style but also their feeling of adventure and exploration that made them so popular with children. As George opens Ted up to more adventures and life lessons, older members of the audience may realize how the books did the same thing for them.

Some of the plot points don't make much sense but that is only if you're looking at the film through the eyes of an adult whose asking about all the little logistical things that the girl in the ruby shoes doesn't care about.

There is also a strange father/son relationship between the museum's owner and his ignored son who wants to tear down the museum to build a parking lot. While the theme might have been interesting, it is out of place in such a light-hearted film and the few jokes that are made about it are a little too uncomfortable to be funny. Luckily this back story and references to it are kept to a minimum.

Jack Johnson provides a uplifting, if not a little clichéd, soundtrack to George's adventures.

The pull to see "Curious George" is George himself. Lovingly animated and full of life, George is so well conceived that it would be hard to walk out of the movie disliking it. So parents grab your children, put on their ruby shoes and take them to the movies because this one is for them.

<1b>— Matthew Razak