George of the Jungle

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film begins with an animated introduction showing a plane crash in which George, then an infant, is lost in a jungle in “the Heart of Africa” (more specifically, a region called “Bukuvu”). Over 25 years later, George (Brendan Fraser) is a Tarzan-like man, the “King of the Jungle”. His friends include a sophisticated talking gorilla named Ape (voiced by John Cleese), along with a toucan named Tookie, a small capuchin monkey (played by Crystal), and an African elephant named Shep, whom he calls his “dog” (all voiced by Frank Welker).

The live action begins as heiress Ursula Stanhope (Leslie Mann) explores the jungle near George’s home with the help of her guide, Mr. Kwame (Richard Roundtree) and some native porters. She has traveled to Africa alone, but she is joined by her wealthy fiancé, Lyle Van De Groot (Thomas Haden Church), who has found her with the help of two poachers (Greg Cruttwell and Abraham Benrubi) who are posing as trackers. That evening, Mr. Kwame recounts the legend of the White Ape, said to be a huge, super-strong primate who rules the surrounding jungle.

The next day, Lyle almost causes the death of one of the porters, and he abandons Ursula when he and she are attacked by a lion. George saves Ursula and takes her to his treehouse home, and Lyle returns to the camp, claiming to have been attacked by the White Ape. While the exploration party searches for Ursula, George entertains her and teaches her to swing on vines. He also falls in love with her, so Ape advises him to woo her by making faces and beating his chest, as gorillas do. This fails to impress Ursula, but George wins her over with his charm, and they enjoy an evening of dancing around a campfire.

On the third day, the explorers discover George’s treehouse, and Lyle shoots George as George tries to prevent the poachers from shooting Ape with a tranquilizer gun. While Lyle is jailed for the shooting, Ursula flies George to her home in San Francisco for medical treatment and buys clothes for him, and George explores the city and saves a paraglider’s life. With George’s help, Ursula finds the courage to tell her parents that she no longer wants to marry Lyle, but her mother (Holland Taylor), who is intent on marrying her to a man of wealth and prestige, threatens George with castration unless he gives Ursula up.

Meanwhile, the poachers have captured Ape, and Ape has sent Tookie to San Francisco to ask George for help. When Tookie finds George, George returns to Africa, and, after realizing she loves George, Ursula follows. George finds the poachers at the treehouse, with Ape in a cage, and he defeats them after an extended battle, with help from Ursula and his animal family. However, Lyle appears, having escaped from prison and joined a cult, and kidnaps Ursula with help from several mercenaries. Having been made a minister by his cult, Lyle intends to marry himself to Ursula immediately. After escaping the mercenaries with help from his gorilla friends, George chases Lyle and Ursula as they float into some river rapids on a raft, then saves Ursula while Lyle enters a dark tunnel. After performing his wedding ceremony and exiting the tunnel, Lyle discovers that he has just married a gorilla.

After admitting their love for each other, George and Ursula are married in a jungle ceremony, and they eventually have a son, whom George holds at the top of a rock outcropping in a scene derived from The Lion King. The film ends in Las Vegas, where Ape performs a song-and-dance act using the poachers as stage props.

REVIEW:

Yes, it is kind of funny that a few days ago I reviewed  Tarzan and here I am today doing George of the Jungle. No, I don’t have a thing for half-naked jungle men, they just happened to come in from Netflix around the same time.

Following in the footsteps of previous cartoons-turned-live-action films such as Dudley Do-Right, Inspector Gadget, The Flintstones, etc., this film makes an attempt to bring the cartoon to life on the big screen.

It really is a shame that so many people are jaded and cynical these days and want everything to be so dark and brooding, because the filmmakers really did a good job of capturing the spirit of the show with this film.

So, what is this whole thing about? Well, basically, George has to keep poachers from poaching his ape/monkey friends, save Ursala, and stop swinging into trees. Honestly, there isn’t much else to it than that.

However, the comedic scenes involving this cast, who actually look as if they are enjoying themselves are what make this sch a delight to watch. Sure, it may be cheesy, bt it works for the tone of the film. If you don’t like it, then don’t watch, it’s as simple as that.

The casting left a bit to be desired, though. Sure, Brendan Fraser is made for these roles. Why else would he have done this and Dudley Do-Right. Leslie Mann was ok, but the villains didn’t really work.

Thomas Haden Church is a good villain, but this role was all wrong for him. Maybe if he wold have been some yuppie in New York sitting behind a desk. He just has that kind of look about him.

The poachers also didn’t work for me. Not really sure why, bt they seemed all wrong. Maybe it was the British accent?

The sets in this film are very reminiscent of what you wold see in a film of yesteryear. Now, for me, this is no big deal. I actually prefer that fake look sometimes, plus it fits the tone and spirit of the picture, but I know there are some out there who hated it and insist that they should have filmed this in the real jungle.

Final verdict on George of the Jungle? Well, this a great, funny, family film. It isn’t the best flick in terms of how its made and all that other stuff critics usually harp on, honestly. That being said, don’t us real people watch movies for sheer entertainment value, and not for the point of criticizing every little thing? I highly recommend this to any and everyone. A good time will be had by all!

4 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

One Response to “George of the Jungle”

  1. […] previous cartoons brought to life on the big screen, Dudley Do-Right, George of the Jungle, Mr. Magoo, etc., they decided to not make this feel like an episode of the show. Something that […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: