DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
Ultra HD
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Curious George: Carrying Case
Curious George: Carrying Case
Universal // G // August 5, 2008
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Phil Bacharach | posted August 13, 2008 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Movie:

Curious George is a monkey, but it doesn't take much imagination to realize that this perky primate is also a stand-in for toddlers everywhere. Introduced in a series of classic children's books by H.A. and Margret Rey, George is very much the wide-eyed, mischief-prone child eager to explore the world around him.

That childlike spirit and sense of wonder are depicted beautifully in the opening sequence of Curious George, the 2006 animated movie that finally brought the furry guy to the big screen. A pre-domesticated George cavorts in the African jungle with friendly zebras and elephants, but what grabs his interest most are bubbles, fingerpaint and a variation of Ring Around the Rosie. Clearly, this is monkey business that the youngest tykes can relate to.

A sweetly rendered movie aimed at preschoolers, Curious George is a refreshing departure from the de rigueur elements of so many family flicks. The film's cell animation boasts warm, inviting colors, particularly incandescent oranges and yellows. The story itself is effectively simple, its humor gentle and timeless. There are no references to pop culture or scatological functions. Heck, there isn't even really much of a villain.

In other words, Curious George is definitely not for adults without children. For parents who have overdosed on Pixar and Disney, however, the movie is a welcome change of pace. That said, folks who already own the DVD need not worry about double-dipping for this version, in which the only addition from the 2006 disc is a yellow carrying case.

The story explains how George wound up in the care of his longtime guardian, the so-called Man with the Yellow Hat (voiced by Will Ferrell), whom the movie has named Ted. In this scenario directed by Matthew O'Callaghan, Ted works at the fledgling Bloomsberry Museum, which is in danger of going belly up due to diminishing attendance. In a last-ditch effort to save the museum, Mr. Bloomsberry (Dick Van Dyke) sends Ted to Africa to bring back the legendary Lost Shrine of Zagawa. The 40-foot statue of an ape, Mr. Bloomsberry is certain, will be a blockbuster draw. Not so enthusiastic about the idea is Bloomsberry's scheming, insecure son (David Cross), who sabotages Ted's mission by ripping out a crucial section of the treasure map.

The expedition proves to be a disaster. What Ted identifies as the Lost Shrine is a three-inch statuette. "I traveled 10,000 miles for a ... paperweight?" he muses aloud. But the journey isn't a complete wash. In the African jungle, Ted meets the ever-curious George, who stows himself away on the boat back to the United States.

Hijinks ensue, as well-meaning George causes all sorts of trouble for the Man with the Yellow Hat (the movie also reveals how he ended up with that unconventional wardrobe). The whole affair is relaxed, breezy and charming, buoyed by the laidback pop of surfer-turned-troubadour Jack Johnson.

The voice work is solid throughout, with Ferrell a particular standout as the lovably nerdy Man with the Yellow Hat (Drew Barrymore, on the other hand, is wasted as a schoolteacher with a crush on Ted). The relationship between Ted and George is actually touching. All in all, Curious George is a kid-friendly flick that won't make parents want to pull their hair out after (the inevitable) repeat viewings.

The DVD

The only improvement from the movie's 2006 DVD release is the packaging: a yellow plastic carrying case perfect for that busy toddler on the go. Tucked inside is a small booklet of games and activities, the caliber of which you might get at the bottom of a fast-food sack. In other words, save your money if you've already got this in your DVD library.

The Video:

A stellar print transfer preserves the vibrant colors and sharp lines of the cell animation. Still, this edition takes a significant and inexplicable step backwards by offering only a full-frame version (the previous DVD incarnation offered both widescreen and full-frame). What gives?

The Audio:

The Dolby Digital 5.1 offers a rich, full audio track with rear channels used effectively for ambient sound. Five-speaker tracks are also available in French and Spanish. Optional subtitles are in Spanish, French and English for the hearing-impaired.

Extras:

All are carryovers from the 2006 DVD, and most of the extras are geared solely for children. The most interesting material for grownups consists of 14 deleted scenes and one extended scene with an aggregate length of 16 minutes, 49 seconds. Plenty here would have been a good fit for the movie, but likely was trimmed for the lean 86-minute running time. Only a few clips feature completed artwork; most are rough sketches, although voice work was recorded for them.

Also, Jack Johnson fans might check out his "Upside Down" music video (3:12), which can be viewed with optional sing-along subtitles.

"Drawn" to George (5:09) has animator Jeff Johnson demonstrating how to draw the curious monkey. Monkey in Motion (1:47) instructs kids on do-it-yourself animation. In Monkey Around with Words, tykes can learn the definition and spelling of several items seen in the movie.

Product placement haters, beware. A Very Curious Car (4:46) is a shameless plug for Volkswagen that involves the film's animators. Similarly, Shea Homes slaps its logo all over the one-minute, three-second Read with Your Child clip.

The disc includes four games suitable for small humans: Banana Hunt: Help Hungry George Find the Bananas; Where's George?; Virtual Coloring Book; and The Ever Changing Colorful Chameleon. More is available on the DVD-ROM.

Final Thoughts:

Older kids might bemoan the lack of CG bells and whistles, but this 2-D animated tale is gentle, laidback and thoroughly charming. Recommended, but with the caveat that I'm talking to parents who don't already own the movie. The 1.33:1 aspect ratio shortchanges the film's appealing visuals, and the "carrying case" edition hardly warrants a double-dip.

Other Reviews:
Popular Reviews
1. Victor and Victoria
2. Testing
3. Come and See: Criterion Collection
4. Madchen in Uniform (1931)
5. The War of the Worlds (1953)
6. Narrow Margin (1990)
7. Deanna Durbin Collection (100 Men and a Girl / Three Smart Girls Grow Up / It Started with Eve)


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2020 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use