George of the Jungle (film)

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George of the Jungle
George Of The Jungle.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySam Weisman
Produced byDavid Hoberman
Jordan Kerner
Jon Avnet
Screenplay byDana Olsen
Audrey Wells
Story byDana Olsen
Based onGeorge of the Jungle
by Jay Ward
Starring
Narrated byKeith Scott
Music byMarc Shaiman
CinematographyThomas E. Ackerman
Edited byKent Beyda
Roger Bondelli
Stuart Pappé
Production
company
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • July 16, 1997 (1997-07-16)
Running time
92 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$55 million[1]
Box office$174.4 million

George of the Jungle is a 1997 American live-action film adaptation of the Jay Ward cartoon of the same name, which is also a spoof of Tarzan. The film was produced by Walt Disney Pictures with Mandeville Films and The Kerner Entertainment Company and was released in theatres on July 16, 1997. It stars Brendan Fraser as the eponymous main character, a primitive man who was raised by animals in an African jungle; Leslie Mann as his love interest; and Thomas Haden Church as her treacherous fiancé.

A direct-to-video sequel, George of the Jungle 2, was released on DVD in 2003, however only three of the original actors (Thomas Haden Church, John Cleese, and Keith Scott) returned for the sequel.

Plot[edit]

In an animated sequence, a plane flying through the fictional Bukuvu region in the heart of East Africa crashes. A child on board the plane, George, disappears into the jungle and is raised by a sapient, talking gorilla named Ape. Twenty-five years later, George, who enjoys swinging on vines to move about but has a habit of crashing into trees, has grown to be King of the Jungle.

Ursula Stanhope, a San Francisco heiress, tours Uganda with local guide Kwame and a trio of porters. Ursula is tracked down and joined by her fiancé, Lyle Van De Groot, with two poachers named Max and Thor. Kwame tells the group of the "White Ape", a local legend of a superhuman primate that rules the jungle. The next day Lyle, insistent on taking Ursula home as soon as possible, goes into the jungle with her to find the White Ape and they are attacked by a lion. Lyle knocks himself out trying to flee while Ursula is saved by George. George takes Ursula to his treehouse home and cares for her, introducing her to Shep, an African bush elephant that acts like George's dog, and Tookie, a toco toucan. George is smitten with Ursula and attempts to woo her; Ursula reciprocates his attraction, and her time spent with George makes her no longer wish to return home.

Lyle, Max and Thor find the treehouse and Lyle confronts Ursula and George. Max and Thor make to shoot Shep for his ivory, and Ape shouts at Shep to run. Everyone is stunned by the sight of a talking ape and Max and Thor decide to tranquilize and capture him. George runs to stop them and is accidentally shot by Lyle, who thought his gun was a novelty lighter. Lyle and the poachers are imprisoned and Lyle is identified as the shooter by the porters; Max and Thor are released and resolve to capture Ape to make a fortune in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Ursula takes George home to get medical help for his wound and to see the human world he belongs in.

While Ursula is at work, George explores San Francisco and uses his vine-swinging to rescue a paraglider that got tangled in the Bay Bridge. Ursula, uninterested in marrying Lyle, admits the truth to her parents, but her overbearing mother Beatrice objects. At a party intended to celebrate Ursula's engagement, Beatrice takes George aside and coldly tells him she will not let Ursula's engagement fall apart, and refuses to let George be with her. In Africa, Max and Thor capture Ape, who manages to order Tookie to find George before he falls unconscious. Tookie flies to San Francisco and George returns to the jungle, leaving Ursula in the night. While Ursula's parents comfort her, she realizes she loves George and goes to find him, much to Beatrice's dismay but to her father's approval.

Ape tricks the poachers into circling the jungle and returning to the treehouse where George confronts them and incapacitates them with his animal friends. However, Lyle arrives: the narrator explains that Lyle escaped prison, joined a cult, and is now an ordained minister. Lyle has the mercenaries he brought with him subdue George and takes Ursula to the nearby Ape River, where he has a boat waiting to escape while he performs a marriage ceremony. However, the river is a harsh series of rapids that hurtle the two into danger. George performs a big swing, only to crash into a massive tree. However, the tree falls over the river and he pulls Ursula to safety. Lyle ends up in a cave and, believing he is still sharing the boat with Ursula, proclaims them wedded; he lights his lighter and beholds that he just married himself to a gorilla.

George and Ursula fall in love with each other and marry, Ursula moving into George's treehouse. Some years later the two are raising a son, George Jr, who they present to the animals from atop Pride Rock.

In a mid-credits scene, Ape reveals he has become a famous entertainer in Las Vegas, using Max and Thor as stuntmen.

Cast[edit]

  • Brendan Fraser as George, a young man who was raised in the jungle like Tarzan and frequently crashes into trees while swinging on vines.[2]
  • Leslie Mann as Ursula Stanhope, a wealthy heiress.
  • Thomas Haden Church as Lyle van de Groot, Ursula's wealthy fiancé.
  • Richard Roundtree as Kwame, Ursula's jungle guide.
  • Greg Cruttwell and Abraham Benrubi as Max and Thor, 2 poachers and trackers who work for Lyle.
  • John Bennett Perry as Arthur Stanhope, Ursula's father.
  • Holland Taylor as Beatrice Stanhope, Ursula's mother.
  • Kelly Miller as Betsy, Ursula's best friend.
  • Abdoulaye N'Gom as Kip, Ursula's friend and an African tour guide.
  • Michael Chinyamurindi as N'Dugo, Ursula's friend and another African tour guide.
  • Lydell M. Cheshier as Baleto, Ursula's friend and the third African tour guide.
  • Crystal the Monkey as monkey.

Voices[edit]

Gorilla suit performers[edit]

Animals[edit]

In the opening animated sequence, various animals swing on vines with young George, his "dog" Shep (actually an elephant), fetches a crocodile instead of a log, and a wildebeest falls in love with a bushman wearing a wildebeest mask.

In the live action film, a whole host of animals are seen. George fights with a lion, accidentally swings on a snake instead of a vine, rides an elephant, talks to a bird, and lives with various monkeys and apes.

The lion, elephant, and bird scenes were all filmed with a mix of real animals, puppetry (especially for the lion fight), and CGI (to show Shep the elephant acting like a dog). The scenes with the orangutan, a chimpanzee, and the capuchin monkeys were filmed with live animals, but some computer work was used in a scene wherein the little monkey imitates George.

The large gorillas who live with George were all costumed actors or animatronic figures with the gorilla suits provided by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

In the "Pride Rock" scene, when George presents his son to the animals, CGI work is again used.[3]

Soundtrack[edit]

Track #2, the Johnny Clegg song "Dela", also features the first few bars of the original George of the Jungle theme song (movie version only).

  1. "George of the Jungle" (Sheldon Allman, Stanley Worth) – 2:53 – Presidents of the United States of America
  2. "Dela (I Know Why the Dog Howls at the Moon)" (Johnny Clegg) – 4:16 – Johnny Clegg & Savuka
  3. "Wipe Out" (Jim Fuller, Berryhill, Patrick Connolly, Ron Wilson) – 2:39 – The Surfaris
  4. "The Man on the Flying Trapeze" (Traditional) – 0:57 – Roger Freeland, Jon Joyce, Steve Lively, Gary Stockdale
  5. "My Way" (Paul Anka, Jacques Revaux, Claude François, Gilles Thibault) – 1:11 – John Cleese
  6. "Aba Daba Honeymoon" (Walter Donovan, Arthur Fields) – 1:55 – Karen Harper
  7. "George of the Jungle" (Allman, Worth) – 1:03 – "Weird Al" Yankovic
  8. "Go Ape [The Dance Mix]" (Michael Becker) – 3:25 – Michael Becker
  9. "Jungle Band" (Michael Becker) – 3:18 – Carl Graves
  10. "George to the Rescue" – 1:11
  11. "Rumble in the Jungle" – 3:15
  12. "The Little Monkey" – 2:23
  13. "George of the Jungle [Main Title Movie Mix]" (Marc Shaiman) – 2:20

Reception[edit]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 56% based on 52 reviews with an average rating of 5.3/10. The consensus states: "George of the Jungle is faithful to its source material—which, unfortunately, makes it a less-than-compelling feature film". Roger Ebert awarded the movie three out of four stars, praising the film as "good-natured" and complimenting the cast's comedic performances.[4]

Box office[edit]

The movie debuted at No. 2 at the box office behind Men in Black, and eventually went on to become a box office success, grossing $174.4 million worldwide.[5]

Sequel[edit]

The movie was followed by a direct-to-video sequel, George of the Jungle 2, which picks up five years after the original. Most of the major characters are re-cast using different actors, although Keith Scott, Thomas Haden Church and John Cleese reprise their roles from the original.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eller, Claudia (1997-08-12). "COMPANY TOWN; The Heat Was On; Sun Shines on Studios This Summer After All". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
  2. ^ "GEORGE, GEORGE, GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE A TREE-SWINGING BRENDAN FRASER ENJOYED PUN AND GAMES OF MAKING NEW DISNEY FILM". Morning Call. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
  3. ^ Movie Review – George Of The Jungle
  4. ^ "George Of The Jungle". Chicago Sun-Times.
  5. ^ "George Of The Jungle' Debut Can't Swing Past 'Men In Black". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-11-12.

External links[edit]

[Category:Films about animals]]