This past week or so, Curious George opened in theaters across the country. I must say, that whatever I say here is biased since I am an avid Curious George merchandise collector already.
I took my family to see the movie first thing the day after it officially opened. We went with another family who was planning to see it as well. We all had decided to see the matinee of Curious George at our local theater. We had a total of 8 seats to get (only 3 for adults), and I had not thought that it would be necessary to hoard over them, but it was. The theater was PACKED!Well, the movie opened and we were treated to a very fun and enticing animated film. It had all of the feel-good times that you would expect of such a family film, and expectedly so for Curious George.
I think it was not a secret that the main characters were "The Man in the Yellow Hat" also known as Ted (Will Ferrell), Maggie (Drew Barrymore), Mr. Bloomsberry (Dick Van Dyke), Junior (David Cross), and Clovis (Eugene Levy).
Throughout the movie you are instantly attached to George as he just uses his imagination and curiosity to make you want to keep him for yourself. Every moment for George is clearly an adventure as he tries to reunite with Ted who befriended him in the African jungle when all other animals were forbidden to play with him.
The film did an excellent job of not only entertaining the adults, but surprisingly enough nearly all of the children in the theater were drawn into the movie and were fairly silent. As I said before, it was a crowded theater, so that is saying A LOT. There was one exception, however. Nearing the end of the film, George gets captured by Animal Control Officers and is caged to be sent back to Africa. When this happens, many of the kids in the theater began to cry. It was quite amusing to hear this out of the silence the preceded.
Overall, if I had a scale of bananas to rate the Curious George movie, I would give this movie 4 out of 5 bananas! I only take one banana away for its lack of character development. Although the characters are pretty simple and this is directed to a mostly preteen audience, this area could still have been expanded upon.
In closing, I would like to send my condolences to the friends and family of Alan J. Shalleck, a collaborator of the Curious George books and cartoons. He was murdered at his home by two burglars. There are more details to the story, but I would rather focus on the good he did for children everywhere by bringing this "curious" monkey into our homes via books, cartoons, and now through this wonderful movie.