The original film features the voices of Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy, Joan Plowright, Dick Van Dyke, and Frank Welker voicing the titular character. A feature film adaptation of the series had been stuck in development since at least 1992 but it was finally produced in 2006.
Curious George starts with a mischievous monkey playing in a jungle in Africa. The film then cuts to Ted, a man who works at Bloomsberry Museum. Unfortunately the museum doesn't get many visitors, besides a teacher named Maggie Dunlop and her class. The museum is due to be closed because it doesn't make enough revenue. The museum owner's son, Junior Bloomsberry, wants to replace the museum with a parking garage. Ted is convinced to go on a quest in Africa to bring back known as the "Lost Shrine of Zagawa" in the hopes of attracting customers. Ted finds the idol, however it turns out to be three inches tall, not forty feet tall like rumours stated. While in Africa Ted finds the little monkey. The monkey bonds with Ted and ends up following him back home, where their adventures together kick off.
The film was a good enough success - earning nearly $20 million above its budget - and as a result it received two Direct-to-Video sequels (featuring a new cast): Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey! in 2010 and Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle in 2015. The television cartoon is also based on the film more than the books.
Curious George and its sequels provide examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: The movie expands upon the books, especially on the character of Ted.
- Belly-Scraping Flight: Used in the third film, when Ted's seaplane goes over a waterfall. George's frantic tug on the control stick pulls it out of its dive in time, although its pontoon skims the water beneath the falls.
- Brutal Honesty: Maggie to Ted after Ted admits that it's his fault George he let George go back to Africa.Ted: I can't believe George is gone. And It's All My Fault.Maggie: Yes. It is.Ted: What?Maggie: Ted, do you want me to tell you what you want to hear, or do want to hear what you should hear, which I'll tell you, and not just just what you think you want to hear?
- Butt-Monkey: Ted takes a lot of slapstick.
- Celebrity Paradox: In Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle, a character sitting on a bench is seen reading a newspaper with the headline "Angela Bassett." Bassett is the voice of Dr. Kulinda in the film.
- Crazy-Prepared: The theater's phone tree has an option for Klingon.
- Cucumber Facial: George ends up in the bathroom of a woman who is doing this while also having a bath and paints her walls, followed by pouring paint in her bathtub.Ted: Do yourself a favor. You're gonna wanna put the cucumbers back on.
- Deadpan Snarker:
- Ted when things don't go well for him.
- Junior. Actually Junior is made of this. Helps from being voiced by David Cross.
- Eureka Moment: George has one in the first film while griping over the loss of Ted's job, which is when he discovers the 3-inch trinket is really a pictogram map to the actual 40-foot lost shrine of Zagawa, which appears when held up to the light. This causes him to regain hope and get Ted to come with him back to Africa where the shrine is found.
- Hero Stole My Bike: Ted, in order to rescue George, ends up stealing many balloons from a balloon vendor and several kids at the zoo, and even a kite from the park to fly with. We don't see him pay for or return any of them.
- Human-Focused Adaptation: The original film focuses more on Ted and has the common "Human gets a wacky anthropomorphic pet" plot, though George still is prominently featured.
- It Was with You All Along: Ted and George discover upon holding the Zagawa trinket up to the light, it creates a pictogram map to the actual lost shrine of Zagawa, which is in Africa where he came from.
- Ink-Suit Actor: Most of the main characters resemble their voice actors (e.g. Maggie to Drew Barrymore, Mr. Bloomsberry to Dick Van Dyke, Bloomsberry Jr. to David Cross, Clovis to Eugene Levy) Ted the Man With The Yellow Hat doesn't look exactly like Will Ferrell, but the resemblance is still striking.
- Interspecies Adoption: Ted treats George somewhere between a pet and a child.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ivan.
- Mythology Gag: The ship George rides on back to the city is the "H. A. Rey".
- Named by the Adaptation: The Man In The Yellow Hat is named "Ted".
- Narrative Profanity Filter: During Ted's exchange with an unseen and unheard angry motorist, Ted yells back, "Well, that's physically impossible for me to do!"
- The Nose Knows: Ivan.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Ted after he lets George get taken back to Africa.
- Parental Abandonment: George is presumably an orphan.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: George, very much. Start to finish, but especially when he plays peek-a-boo.
- Role Reprisal:
- Sequel: Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey - Direct-to-Video and Curious George 3: Back to the Jungle, also direct to video
- Satellite Love Interest: Maggie, who beyond being Ted's love interest is mainly just a voice of reason.
- Single-Issue Landlord: This occurs in the movie.
- Super Cell Reception: Ted's phone go off in the depths of Africa and he comments about the "strong signal" before answering it. Then again, the movie seems to enjoy lampshading and breaking the fourth wall every so often.
- The Unfavorite: Junior.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Junior.