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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Curious George - Show me the monkey! Opening Feb 10

Theatrical Release Date: Feb 10, 2006 (Wide)

Cast & Crew:
Will Ferrell, Joan Plowright, David Cross, David Cross, Eugene Levy directed by Jun Falkenstein.

Curious George and The Man With The Yellow Hat Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment bring Curious George, the original "monkey see, monkey do" chimp, to the screen in an all-new animated adventure based upon the beloved tales that have been enchanting readers for more than 60 years. George, the inquisitive little guy with an insatiable taste for adventure, sets off in a brand new tale for the big screen, where his spunky and fun-loving nature endears him to new friends he meets along thre way and (of course) lands him in a series of (mis)adventures.

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Originally published in 1941, the book has never been out of print since. Authors H.A. Rey and his wife Margret, creative partners who fled Europe during the Nazi occupation and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, wrote the original seven Curious George tales. In 1998 Houghton-Mifflin began publishing new Curious George adventures and continues to release new titles and formats. Curious George titles have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and have been published in 17 languages, making the little monkey who left the jungle with The Man with the Yellow Hat one of the best-selling and most enduring characters in children's literature.

Will Ferrell (Elf, Old School) lends his voice to The Man with the Yellow Hat, Dick Van Dyke, Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy and Joan Plowright are also among the distinguished cast of voices. Original songs are written and performed by Jack Johnson.

Official Website:
The Official Curious George Site


1) I was a big “Curious George” fan… when I was five. So, it’s safe to assume that the movie is being marketed to a similar demographic. As it should be.

They haven’t bothered with flashy, 3D animation. Instead they’re going 2D, though they’ve given the movie what appears to be a rather unique looking style. I’m sure the kids will love it. In fact, now they don’t even need to bother reading, they can just watch it on TV. Embrace illiteracy young fella.

What I’m wondering is what makes this movie worth putting out in theaters. Is there really that big a Curious George market? I mean, why isn’t this a direct to video release? What’s the deal with all the big name voice talent? Drew Barrymore? Will Ferrell? That’s heavy hitting. That’s a better cast than most CGI movies manage, and those actually make money. Maybe there’s more to this movie than there appears to be on the surface. Or maybe Universal just overspent.

*Previewed by Joshua Tyler

2) As computer-animated movies like Ice Age and Finding Nemo continue to do quite well at the box office, and traditionally-animated movies like Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas and The Wild Thornberrys do quite poorly, there's a lot of talk in the film industry that perhaps traditional is on its last legs, and soon nearly all animated feature films will be CGI. There are still traditional movies being made, but it is true that it seems we keep hearing about more CGI movies being developed, and even many projects that were originally planned as traditional are now being converted to CGI. A glimmer of hope for the old school style, however, is the example this project provides, however, because after 10+ years of trying to get a 'Curious George' movie going that would incorporate some sort of CGI, they have finally decided that the best (and cheapest) way to capture the spirit of George, the Man in the Yellow Hat and the world they live in is to take advantage of the sweetness that traditional animation suggests. I think this is sort of a no-brainer; the simple drawings of the book seem obviously easier to transfer to 2-D artwork than to try and give them 3-D life (much less try to adapt that artwork in live-action). Of course, I feel the same way about the art of Dr. Seuss, but Universal keeps making live-action versions of his stuff, but it's good to see this is a case where they made what I think is the right decision.

Curious George A bit of news that I can offer the world today that I don't think has been reported elsewhere yet is that I heard from an anonymous source over the weekend that Will Ferrell has signed on to provide the voice for the Man in the Yellow Hat. When I first heard the news, I was under the impression that Universal was still going for live-action for the character, and I have to say... he immediately struck me as a brilliant choice. Will Ferrell would look INSANELY GREAT in that yellow hat. But, you know, even though it turns out they're just going to be using his voice, he's still a good choice. Will has a broadly comedic and acrobatic vocal range that should work well for El Hombre del Sombrero Amarillo.

I also think Jun Falkenstein might be just the director this project needs to properly adapt these sweet tales of a precocious chimp to the big screen. With a guy whose major project has been The Tigger Movie at the helm, I think we can safely be assured that this isn't going to be a puerile movie with "gross out" humor, etc. I think that's what some people might expect from a chimp movie, but really... Curious George isn't that sort of chimp movie. It's got to be sweet and nostalgic, or it's not really Curious George.

*By Greg (Yahoo! Movies)


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