Direct-to-video sequels, or otherwise “further adventure” releases, are often irritants, especially in the realm of children’s fare. Thrown together jumbles of silly gags and sad excuses for plots are the result more often than not, and the design has more to do with what your kids will yowl about, than any attempt to put out quality product.
Such is not the case with Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey, which is, for my money, a better picture than the first. While obviously not backed by the same sort of budget, the movie is wildly fun, makes good use of rather an interesting story, and has a great soundtrack.
The world’s most beloved and inquisitive monkey is back in Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey, the fun-filled sequel to the hit animated movie. Join Curious George and The Man with the Yellow Hat as they set out on a madcap cross-country adventure to reunite Kayla, a homesick elephant, with her family. This unlikely trio faces all types of comic calamities and colorful characters and in the end, learn that with family, friends and determination, you can achieve anything. The film features the voices of Tim Curry, Matt Lauer, Jamie Kennedy and Jerry Lewis.
The movie makes a great play at capturing the spirit of the original works, while giving us something a bit broader than most video interpretations. Not only are we on a journey that takes us across the country, but there is more going on here than simply the trouble the mischievous monkey can get himself into. There’s a background theme of the importance of family at work, and it’s given to us in rather clever bits and pieces.
The Man with the Yellow Hat is on the verge of taking on a new job, his dream really, but he has to figure out a balance, and going along on the adventure of reuniting Kayla with her family clues him in to the idea.
There is somehow a slightly new twist to the whole idea here, as George’s curiosity and interest leads to… well, trouble, but trouble with a purpose.
It’s a solid release, and one that you won’t be at all sorry about picking up.
The DVD includes two never-before-seen episodes from the new TV season, and it’s a great bonus for parents. While this one isn’t exactly loaded with special features, the additional episodes add a lot of value.
There is also a game, which is really three games in one, and it involves learning about states by matching their shapes, figuring out some simple number ideas by choosing which in a set of plates has more food on it, and a “treat” magic trick to impress the kids. It’s not the greatest DVD game you’ve ever seen, but I imagine kids will get a good bit of entertainment out of it.
There are also a few DVD-ROM bonuses in the way of printable coloring pages and so on. Again, not the most spectacular thing ever, but it adds a good bit of value and fun to the overall purchase.
I recommend it quite highly.