Curious George

After watching the Sunday talking heads, I watched a little of Ebert & Roeper reviewing movies this morning when I saw the review of Curious George. This was timely in a way that I find happens often to me as we were planning on seeing it this afternoon. Ebert gave it a thumbs up but Roeper gave it a thumbs down because he could not recommend it to all audiences. I thought this curious, as did Ebert as the movie is quite clearly aimed at kids and not general audiences. Mister Roeper seemed to have this incapability of being able to put himself in the shoes of the intended audience more than once today.

In any event we did see this with the wee ones today. Now I am an adult so I fall outside the audience Roeper was worried about i guess. By way of disclosing my personal bias, I do have a soft spot for Curious George from my own days as a diminutive person. After seeing the movie, I have to say I side with Ebert and think Roeper needs to lighten up.

The movie was delightful. It captured much of the essence I think of as belonging to the original stories. George was darned cute but not in any way distastefully cute. It was mercifully immune from ‘Disney disease’ (shoddy modern animation with repugnant characters overdone by poor voice choices with campy and tasteless allusions to modern life.) There was only one part that seemed like it was going to be over the top, but even that part turned out not to be. It was just good clean fun. Even my 13 month old just sat there and soaked it up. The music by Jack Johnson was the only modern touch and I thought that it was the perfect complement to a movie well conceived and well executed. This is one of the few non-japanese (read Miyazaki) animated films we will buy on DVD for our kids. The others I can think of are Brad Bird efforts: The Incredibles, which was incredible, and The Iron Giant.

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