George of the Jungle (film)
|George of the Jungle|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sam Weisman|
|Produced by||David Hoberman
|Screenplay by||Dana Olsen
|Story by||Dana Olsen|
|Based on||George of the Jungle
by Jay Ward
|Narrated by||Keith Scott|
|Music by||Marc Shaiman|
|Cinematography||Thomas E. Ackerman|
|Edited by||Kent Beyda
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Pictures|
|Box office||$174.4 million|
George of the Jungle is a 1997 American live-action film adaptation of the cartoon of the same name which is also a parody of Tarzan. The film was produced by Walt Disney Pictures with Mandeville Films and The Kerner Entertainment Company and originally released to movie 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.
Ursula Stanhope, a San Francisco heiress, tours Uganda with local guide Kwame and a trio of porters Kip, N'Dugo, and Baleto. Ursula is joined by her fiancé, Lyle Van De Groot, who tracked her down with help from two poachers Max and Thor. Lyle intends on whisking Ursula home to marry her, but his pompous buffoonery irritates the porters, particularly when he nearly kills one by shaking a rope bridge. Kwame tells Ursula of the legend of the "White Ape", said to be a superhuman primate who rules the local jungle.
The next day, Lyle tries to drag Ursula away but they are attacked by a lion. Lyle tries to flee but knocks himself out. Ursula is rescued by the legendary White Ape, revealed to be a Tarzan-like man named George, who is child-like and has a habit of crashing into trees when swinging on vines.
George takes Ursula to his treehouse home, where she meets his extensive family of apes, including an intelligent talking gorilla named Ape. George also has an African elephant named Shep who he treats like a dog, a toco toucan named Tookie who provides gossip, and Little Monkey, emotional capuchin monkey. Meanwhile, Lyle, Max, Thor, and the porters search for Ursula. George befriends Ursula, teaching her how to swing on vines, and tries to woo her following Ape's advice to do so in the manner that a gorilla would. When this fails, he then charms her with a dance around a campfire.
Lyle, Max, and Thor discover George's treehouse, and Lyle accidentally shoots George with a firearm he mistook for a novelty lighter. While Lyle is arrested, Ursula flies George back to San Francisco to get him medical treatment. George explores the city and rescues a paraglider on the Bay Bridge. Ursula, uninterested in marrying Lyle, admits the truth to her parents, but her overbearing mother Beatrice objects, wanting her to marry the wealthy Lyle. At a party, Beatrice takes George aside and tells him to give up Ursula for her own sake. In Africa, Max and Thor capture Ape with the intention of using him to make money. Tookie is sent to retrieve George, and they return to rescue Ape. Ursula realises she loves George and departs to follow him with her father Arthur's blessing.
Ape tricks the poachers into circling the jungle and returning to the treehouse where George confronts them. Ursula and George's animal family aid him in defeating the poachers. However, Lyle appears, having escaped jail, joined a cult, and is now a wedding minister, intending on forcing Ursula into marriage and has George captured by mercenaries. George escapes with help from his ape friends, and pursues Ursula and Lyle down river rapids, successfully rescuing Ursula by performing the "biggest swing in jungle history". Lyle enters a dark cave, believing Ursula is still in the life raft, and ends up wedding a female gorilla. After professing their love to each other, George and Ursula wed in Africa, later have a son named George Jr, who they present to the animals from atop Pride Rock.
In a post-credits scene, Ape reveals he has become a famous entertainer in Las Vegas, using Max and Thor as stunt men.
- Brendan Fraser as George, a young man and the main protagonist of the film who was raised in the jungle like Tarzan and frequently crashes into trees while swinging on vines.
- Leslie Mann as Ursula Stanhope, a wealthy heiress
- Thomas Haden Church as Lyle van de Groot, Ursula's wealthy, despicable fiancé and the main antagonist of the film.
- Richard Roundtree as Kwame, Ursula's jungle guide
- Greg Cruttwell and Abraham Benrubi as Max and Thor, 2 poachers and trackers who works for Lyle and the secondary antagonists of the film.
- John Bennett Perry as Arthur Stanhope, Ursula's father
- Holland Taylor as Beatrice Stanhope, Ursula's mother
- Kelly Miller as Betsy, Ursula's 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
- John Cleese as Ape, a well-educated, talking gorilla.
- Keith Scott as Narrator, relating the story in a voice evocative of that of Gary Owens
- Frank Welker as Lion, Little Monkey, Shep, Tooki Tooki Bird, and Gorilla sound effects
Gorilla suit performers
- Nameer Ed-Kadi – Ape (body)
- Tom Fisher
- Jody St. Michael
- Philip Tan
- Lief Tilden
- Robert Tygner – Ape (facial puppetry)
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 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.
Track #2, the Johnny Clegg song "Dela", also features the first few bars of the original George of the Jungle theme song.
- "George of the Jungle" (Sheldon Allman, Stanley Worth) – 2:53 – Presidents of the United States of America
- "Dela (I Know Why the Dog Howls at the Moon)" (Johnny Clegg) – 4:16 – Johnny Clegg & Savuka
- "Wipe Out" (Jim Fuller, Berryhill, Patrick Connolly, Ron Wilson) – 2:39 – The Surfaris
- "The Man on the Flying Trapeze" (Traditional) – 0:57 – Roger Freeland, Jon Joyce, Steve Lively, Gary Stockdale
- "My Way" (Paul Anka, Jacques Revaux, Claude François, Gilles Thibault) – 1:11 – John Cleese
- "Aba Daba Honeymoon" (Walter Donovan, Arthur Fields) – 1:55 – Karen Harper
- "George of the Jungle" (Allman, Worth) – 1:03 – "Weird Al" Yankovic
- "Go Ape [The Dance Mix]" (Michael Becker) – 3:25 – Michael Becker
- "Jungle Band" (Michael Becker) – 3:18 – Carl Graves
- "George to the Rescue" – 1:11
- "Rumble in the Jungle" – 3:15
- "The Little Monkey" – 2:23
- "George of the Jungle [Main Title Movie Mix]" (Marc Shaiman) – 2:20
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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.
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 both Thomas Haden Church and John Cleese reprise their roles from the original.
- 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.
- "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.
- Movie Review – George Of The Jungle
- "George Of The Jungle". Chicago Sun-Times.
- "George Of The Jungle' Debut Can't Swing Past 'Men In Black". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-11-12.