Universal // 2009 // 58 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // November 9th, 2009
"I understand my monkey!"
In the original Curious George book series, created by H.A. and Margret Rey, there was no Christmas story. However, the rules of commerce dictate that any and all animated franchises directed at young children must have a Christmas special. Thus, Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas was born as part of the PBS Kids television series.
Christmas is approaching and Curious George and The Man with The Yellow Hat are getting ready for the big day. But there's a problem: neither knows what the other wants for a gift. The result is mad scramble by the two friends to figure out what to get each other. As Christmas draws closer George and The Man get more desperate in their search for the right gift. Minor monkey initiated hi-jinks occur and characters like Gnocchi the cat, Hundley the dog, Chef Pisghetti, The Doorman get to make appearances. And, of course, there is the obligatory singing of (not particularly good) Christmas songs, including the first monkey-themed Christmas song.
Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas teaches the values of giving and friendship in an "old fashioned" manner that is more in line with The Berenstain Bears: Christmas Tree and A Charlie Brown Christmas than a similarly themed SpongeBob SquarePants episode would be. This is to say that it is relatively tame, subdued, and free of manic antics that are likely to push young kids into hyperactivity.
There are no problems to report on the technical side. The colors are vivid and sharp. The surround sound is clear.
There are no extras.
Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas is benign and will appeal to young children, most likely those around age 4 or 5. Parents may likely find it more tolerable than other available children's programming. However, it's difficult to envision this becoming a lasting holiday favourite. Overall, the best thing to do, as I have noted in other reviews, is to skip the DVD entirely, pick-up the original books, and read to your kids.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 58 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site