Matthew O’Callaghan / Universal Pictures
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Curious George is one of the most celebrated children’s book series in history. In the 1930’s, while living in Paris, H.A and Margret Rey developed the first manuscript for the beloved, mischievous monkey. In the early 1940’s, H.A and Margret Rey fled Paris with very few belongings, hours before the Nazi’s entered the French capitol. Out of the five manuscripts they brought with them, Curious George was one of them. After reaching the border of French and Spain, the two journeyed to Brazil and eventually landed in New York, where they would go on to write seven original Curious George narratives. These are the origins of a series that has gone on to sell seventy-five million copies worldwide, and has been translated into nearly two dozen languages. In 2006, Curious George made his silver screen debut in the animated family adventure starring Will Ferrell as the voice of the Man in the Yellow Hat. The Man in the Yellow Hat, named Ted in the film, works as a guide at the Bloomsberry Museum. When the museum is on the brink of closure, Ted embarks on a mission to Africa to find a 40-foot tall statue that could regenerate the public interest needed to save the museum. Overseas, Ted locates the figure but it is only 3 inches tall, and coincidentally discovers George, who follows Ted back the states, marking the genesis of their budding friendship and adventure.
Prologue was commissioned to deliver the main on end title sequence for the animated feature.
With a visual language that has been cemented in history for more than six decades, our objective was to celebrate the established brand by aping scenes from the movie and classic moments from the extensive catalogue of stories in an animated fly through, in the vein of the books’ artwork. Widely recognized for his inquisitive and impish behavior, as well as his elegant delineations, these distinctive characteristics of the titular monkey drove our research of which scenes to include from the many volumes of the series, and the movie. For example, we emulated the frames of George entangled in spaghetti from the second Curious George book titled “Curious George Takes a Job”, released in 1947. Prologue hand drew the images in the sequence and generated them as 3D composites, enabling the fluid transitions and moves between the assorted locales and characters. Paying homage to the bond between George and Ted, we incorporated the balloon scene from the film, in which Ted daringly follows a drifting George into the sky to save his closest friend. The Prologue typography echoes that of the series, honoring the legacy of one of the most recognized children’s book characters in the world.