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My three year old son loves watching the Curious George series on tv, so when I spotted this Christmas DVD on offer I knew it would make a lovely stocking filler for him.
The Curious George programmes are based on the books originally written by Margaret and H.A Rey. We''ve never read any of the original stories but do enjoy watching the fun antics of Curious George - a cute pet monkey owned by The Man With The Yellow Hat- on tv. The pair live in an apartment block and George is a very independent little monkey who always end up getting into trouble and mischief.
?A Very Monkey Christmas'' is a single feature length film, rather than a collection of tv episodes, and runs for just under an hour. In all honesty, I thought the story had been very stretched out to fill the slot rather than needing an hour to cover it. The actual content could quite easily have fit into one of the standard twenty minute episodes without losing any sense of the story. There is a lot of space filled with (quite annoying) songs and sketches where very little happens.
I have watched a couple of other feature length Curious George films and, despite their target audience being pre-schoolers and young children, found them to be genuinely funny and entertaining. This Christmas film is, by comparison, a very poor offering, certainly for an adult viewer.
The story, whilst covering the build up, preparations and excitements around Christmas, is fairly weak. Essentially, The Man With The Yellow Hat has asked George to produce a Christmas list, showing what he wants for Christmas. Unfortunately, he can''t make any sense out of the shapes and pictures he produces. Likewise, George wants to give TMWTYH a special Christmas gift but can''t think of anything to make or offer him.
The humour, scrapes and cheekiness that I associate with Curious George is really lacking here. The only scene which raised a smile for me was the opening when George is up at 5am a couple of weeks before Christmas, mistakenly believing it to be Christmas Day. There is some slapstick humour here that had my kids giggling - such as when Curious George makes a mess with tomatoes- but they tend to laugh more at one of the standard cartoon episodes. My youngest did love a scene where artificial snow was produced inside, especially when George decides to tamper with the equipment. (We have to rewind the film a few times at this point to satisfy my three year old!)
Although I was disappointed with this film, my youngest children have been thoroughly entertained by the film. They enjoy the singing and dancing and often choose to join in. The length of the film is just right to hold their attention completely and the storyline is so simple that it is easy for even very young viewers to watch and understand.