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Curious George
3rd Curious George Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Matthew O'Callaghan
Produced by
Screenplay by Ken Kaufman
Story by
  • Ken Kaufman
  • Mike Werb
Starring
Music by
Editing by Julie Rogers
Studio Universal Feature Animation
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) February 10, 2006 (2006-02-10) (United States)
May 25, 2006 (2006-05-25) (Germany)
Running time 87 minutes
Country
  • United States
  • Germany
Language English
Budget $50 million
Money made $69.8 million

Curious George is a 2006 animated adventure comedy film based on the book series by H.A. Rey and Margret Rey. It was directed by Matthew O'Callaghan, who replaced Jun Falkenstein. Ken Kaufman wrote the screenplay based on a story by him and Mike Werb. Ron Howard, David Kirschner, and John Shapiro produced. It was released on February 10, 2006 by Universal Pictures. It stars Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy, Joan Plowright, and Dick Van Dyke, with Frank Welker voicing the titular character. It was Imagine Entertainment's first fully animated film. The film also marks as the first theatrical film from Universal Animation Studios as it was released under Universal Feature Animation.

The film had been under development at Imagine Entertainment for a long time, dating back at least 1992, but it is possible that it was conceived years before. Although a traditionally animated film, it blends animation with computer generated, 3D scenery and objects that take up 20% of its environment. It features a musical score by Heitor Pereira, with songs produced by the musician Jack Johnson.

The film grossed $69.8 million from a $50 million budget and has a 69% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, which calls it "a bright, sweet, faithful adaptation".

A television series based on the film premiered seven months later.

Plot

The introduction of the movie is a cartoon short where we are introduced to a happy, artistic and mischievous, but lonely orphaned monkey somewhere in the jungle. Meanwhile, Ted Shackleford (Will Ferrell) is an employed guide at the Bloomsberry Museum. We are introduced to teacher Ms. Maggie Dunlop (Drew Barrymore) and her students who come to the museum often, being the only regular visitors. Mr. Bloomsberry (Dick Van Dyke) heartbreakingly informs Ted that the museum will have to close because it is no longer making a steady money flow.

Mr. Bloomsberry's son, Junior (David Cross), wants to tear down the museum and replace it with a parking lot. Ted is convinced to volunteer to go to Africa in place of Mr. Bloomsberry and bring back a mystical, forty foot tall idol known as the "Lost Shrine of Zagawa" in the hopes that it will attract customers, much to Junior's envy. Ted is outfitted with a ridiculous yellow suit (which causes people to laugh at him) and boards a cargo ship to Africa despite his embarrassment.

With the help of a tour guide and tour group, Ted supposedly finds the idol but discovers it to be only three inches tall, much to his disappointment. He sends a picture of it to the museum, but the unfortunate angle leads Mr. Bloomsberry to believe that the shrine was even taller than he had originally believed. Ted also encounters the little monkey and gives the monkey his yellow hat. The monkey, who quickly grows fond of Ted, follows him and boards the cargo ship, unbeknownst to Ted. Ted returns home to find an advertisement for the shrine all over the city, much to his dismay. He enters his apartment only to receive a call from Mr. Bloomsberry telling him to report to the museum, so Ted can do an interview on the news.

The monkey follows Ted to his apartment, and is discovered busily repainting a penthouse apartment in full-scale African animals and due to the strict "no pets allowed policy", Ted is evicted by grumpy Russian accented doorman Ivan (Ed O'Ross). Ted returns to the museum and reveals to Bloomsberry the idol's size. Ted is kicked out of the museum by Junior after the monkey accidentally destroys an Apatosaurus skeleton.

Ted and the monkey sleep outside in the city park, and the next morning, Ted follows the monkey into the zoo, where Maggie and her young students name the monkey "George." George gets into trouble when he begins dangerously floating away on helium balloons high up over the city, prompting Ted commandeers a much larger amount of balloons and a kite to float over the city as well to save him. Ted bumps into the crocodiles, lions, and giraffes as George flies up high. The chase finally comes to a head when George's balloons are popped by bird control spikes on a building and Ted catches him.

Ted and George make their way to the home of an inventor named Clovis (Eugene Levy), where George uses an overhead projector to increase the idol's size making it appear 40 feet tall. Ted and George head to the museum so that Ted can reveal and explain his plan to Mr. Bloomsberry. Junior tries to convince his father that it would not be honest to fool the public, but Mr. Bloomsberry sees it as the only way to save the museum. Crushed by Mr. Bloomsbury’s gratitude to Ted while he is neglected, Junior foils Ted's plan altogether by pouring a cup of latte on the projector causing it to explode and frames George for it by giving the rest to him. Ted addresses the crowd outside of the museum, announcing that it would be closed permanently and they didn’t have the idol. Believing his life to be ruined, Ted allows animal control to take away George.

Ted speaks with Ms. Maggie who helps Ted "see" what is really important in his life. Ted regrets the decision to give George to animal control and drives his car off of a closed pier, and onto George's cargo ship to get him back. Ted tells George that nothing else matters besides their "buddyship". In the hold of the ship, George discovers that when reflected in light, the idol reveals a pictogram with the message "turn your eye to the light, go from blindness to sight". It turns out that when held up to the sun, the small idol is actually a map to the real idol. They sailed the ship back to Africa and George helps him find the real idol which is, indeed, forty feet tall.

The idol is put in the museum, and the museum goes back in business and becomes more successful than ever when it becomes more hands-on because of the addition of Clovis's inventions, the interaction with Ms. Dunlop and her young students and, of course, George. Despite being devasted over not getting his parking lot, Junior gets a job as the valet, but finds joy in Mr. Bloomsberry finally being proud of him. Ivan invites Ted to move back to his apartment because he likes George, and Ted and Maggie almost start a romance, but George causes more trouble by starting up a rocket ship, forcing Ted to follow him.

Cast

  • Frank Welker as Curious George, a curious monkey who is compassionate and clever, with a proficiency in the visual art.
  • Will Ferrell as Ted Shackleford (The Man in the Yellow Hat), Curious George's friend. He is clumsy but resilient and compassionate. In a deleted scene, his last name is established as Shackleford.
  • Drew Barrymore as Margaret "Maggie" Dunlop, a teacher and Ted's love interest. She is named after Margaret Rey, one of Curious George's creators.
  • David Cross as Junior Bloomsberry, the son and only child of the museum's owner, who serves as the film's lead antagonist.
  • Eugene Levy as Clovis, a museum employee who builds robotic animals to help him with his work.
  • Joan Plowright as Ms. Plushbottom, Ted's neighbor. She is an opera singer.
  • Dick Van Dyke as Mr. Bloomsberry, the kind, elderly owner of the museum.
  • Ed O'Ross as Ivan, the Russian doorman at Ted's apartment building.
  • Michael Chinyamurindi as Edu, Ted's African guide.
  • Kath Soucie as Animal Control Receptionist
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