DVD REVIEW: Curious George 2 - Follow That Monkey
More monkey fun on DVD today...
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Four years after the moderate success that is Curious George, the folks at the Universal Animation Studios and Imagine Entertainment returns with a brand new feature length film that comes straight to DVD on today. Curious George 2: Follow that Monkey reunites Ted, the man in the yellow suit, (Jeff Bennett takes over for Will Ferrell) with George on a cross-country adventure with a home-sick elephant named Kayla. Thanks to complications in modern communications, Ted and George become fugitives in a mistaken elephant-kidnapping plot, all while Ted's priorities of becoming museum director are jeopardized.
Reprising his role as George is long-time voice actor Frank Welker (Transformers, Aladdin, Chipmunk Adventure). The all-star cast also features Tim Curry as the magician Piccadilly, Matt Lauer as TV Journalist Hark Hanson, Jamie Kennedy as head of security, and a small cameo by comedy legend Jerry Lewis. Songs this time around are performed by Carbon Leaf and they do a good job keeping the film going with a special appearance by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Curious George 2 is executive produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.
The film has a slim running length at 80 minutes but because this is a film aimed at much younger audience, it may not hold up very well for all audiences. At its heart, however, is a simple story that young kids can certainly enjoy. It moves at a brisk pace and for the most part, does its job. This isn't the original, but holds up fairly well.
From an animation perspective, the film returns to its hand-drawn roots and that in itself is endearing. When CG is used though, it is painfully obvious and reminds me of where Disney was in the late 80's when they began introducing CG elements into their films. But the art and animation is all rendered well and thankfully, does not feel like the stereotypical direct to DVD movie.
There are a handful of bonus features included with this DVD release including two never before seen bonus shows from the all-new TV season. These shows are also hand drawn and definitely aimed at children but thankfully doesn’t insult your intelligence at the same time. Also included is a Curious George Cross Country Caper Game that contains puzzles that take George and Kayla from New York to California. A music video of "Hold On, Here We Go" is also included.
For fans of the books created by Margaret and H.A. Rey and of the previous films and television shows, Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey is a nice addition to the collection and library. For more monkey fun, you can also catch the Live Stage production or enjoy the Curious George play area at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Review by David Yeh
DVD Sample Courtesy of Universal Studios Home Entertainment