There was a time when 2-D animation was all the rage. The movies were, for the most part, character and story driven with a humour that was appropriate for young audiences but smart enough for adults too.
Now animated films are almost all 3-D CGI and the focus is strictly on technical achievement over story telling. The humour is all smart-ass, pop culture references that are old by the time the film ends its run. Itís the age of Shreck and Ice Age and itís a sad time for animation produced in North America.
Thatís why Curious George is such a treat. While itís not as sophisticated at the work of Miyazaki or Aardman Studios itís still smart enough thatís an adult can enjoy it. The film deals with the ďquaintnessĒ of the source material in a sensible way while never turning itself over to cheap facetiousness.
Instead the film stays pure, an exploration of the value of childhood innocence. Young children will love Georgeís predicaments and adults will too. The story is engaging enough to remain entertaining but not so complicated that it becomes inaccessible.
Curious George is also beautifully drawn. The lush, stylized art is a nice break from the harsher images in the latest CGI release. It makes you long for the days when animation was treated as an art form and not a money maker.
Now I donít mean to imply Curious George is of the quality of the best animated films being made today. It is strictly for a family audience, although it is certainly better than most of the family crap out there. A good family movie is unique thing. A movie that you can feel good about taking your kids to is worth the price you pay.
I can not say I read the Curious George books when I was a child but I can say that this film makes me wish I had.