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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Curious George: Royal Monkey is an animated, feature-length movie for kids, even very young ones. Based on the classic book characters created by H.A. and Margret Rey in the 1940s, George is a mischievous, lovable monkey whose family-friendly adventures have little to no suspense or violence. In keeping with the tradition of the best Curious George tales, this movie includes a story that's easy to understand; thoughtful, relatable messages; and songs that affirm those positive ideas. Family relationships are key here as George and a nearby kingdom's royal monkey accidentally trade places after a series of mishaps. Since neither George nor the royal Phillippe speak a human language, the switch goes undetected, until finally -- destined to be the monkeys they were born to be -- their true identities are revealed.
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What's the story?
After a series of comical coincidences, Curious George (voiced by Frank Welker) and the Kingdom of Simiana's royal monkey Phillippe (also Frank Welker) accidentally trade places in CURIOUS GEORGE: ROYAL MONKEY. Now it's George living in a castle and Phillippe living with Ted (Jeff Bennett) in their big-city apartment. Because and George and Phillippe don't speak in words, the abrupt personality changes just seem odd at first. However, George's presence in the Kingdom while major events are underway (including the coronation of the young Princess Isabel (Daniella Bobadilla) and a much anticipated horse race) causes all kinds of trouble. And in the city, Ted gets more and more unsettled about his beloved companion who seems to have lost his wonderful spirit. It's only a matter of time before the drastic changes in the two monkeys can no longer be ignored.
Is it any good?
Content to release full-length Curious George movies only every few years, the creators of this fourth well-crafted, direct-to-DVD entry deliver another gentle, relatable, and funny story for kids. It's a delight to see how the artists have differentiated the two monkeys simply by defining their eyes/eyebrows; even little ones will be able to tell George from Phillippe at any given moment. Curious George: Royal Monkey's music is wonderfully original and offers solid affirmation of the film's core values. Performances are uniformly spirited and skilled. Once again, this franchise lives up to its creators' original promise. It's a fine addition to the little monkey's collection.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Curious George's "family." Though Ted, the Man with the Yellow Hat, isn't George's dad, he behaves as if he is. What makes Ted a good parent?
A message in Curious George: Royal Monkey is "Don't let fear stop you from doing what you love." What does this mean? Have you ever been afraid of trying something new and doing it anyway? How did it turn out?
What did the King learn from what happened in this story? How did it make his life, as well as the lives of Princess Isabel and Phillippe, better ?
What makes watching movies about "trading places" so much fun? If you could trade places with someone, who would it be? Do you think you might be surprised by what you discover?
- On DVD or streaming: September 10, 2019
- Cast: Frank Welker, Jeff Bennett, Daniela Bobadilla
- Director: Doug Murphy
- Studio: Universal 1440 Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Book Characters, Friendship, Wild Animals
- Character strengths: Courage, Curiosity, Teamwork
- Run time: 86 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: September 11, 2020
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