First a totally random comment. I am so excited I can hardly stand it, I just picked up tickets for a Placebo concert (I love those guys). Unfortunately, it’s not until September, so I have to wait two months to see them. I don’t know how I will survive.
Ok, back down to business. Since I have been rather grumpy this past week (as evidenced by my blog on Wednesday) I decided to write about a light hearted movie this time around. I remember watching the “George of the Jungle” cartoon when I was a kid. So when this came out as a live action movie, I was excited to be able to take my son to see it (he was about 7 at the time) and share something from my childhood with him.
This is one of those movies that you watch if you need something mindless and fun. It was cleverly done and has fun dialogue (some of which will go right over kid’s heads); they even kept the narrator role from the cartoon. It’s a movie I don’t watch very often anymore, since my son is all grown up. However, I keep it around for when I need a pick me up or just need to ogle Brendan Fraser in a loin cloth (all I have to say is Wow!).
George (Brendan Fraser) was lost in the jungle as a baby when the plane he and his family were on crashed. He was never found and ended up being raised by apes. Before she gets married, Ursula (Leslie Mann) wants to have an adventure, so she goes on a trip to the jungle to see the wild animals. When she is in danger of being attacked by a lion, George swings in to save her. After he accidentally knocks her out when swinging with her through the trees, he takes her back to his treehouse.
At first she is anxious to get back to the group she was with, but ends up enjoying her time with George so much she kind of forgets about them. That is until they stumble across the treehouse and find her. Her fiancée is not very happy to find out who she has been hanging out with. After a brief altercation, George ends up being wounded, so she takes him back to San Francisco with her to make sure he has the best medical treatment available.
We then have the fun of watching George adjusting to being in the big city. Dealing with high rise buildings, cars, stores, and people (including Ursula’s family). Her mother is really not pleased to discover that her daughter has returned home not with her fiancée, but with a jungle man instead.
As I said before, this is a fun movie. It really captures the spirit of the cartoon. You have George accidentally slamming into trees while swinging, a talking ape, a big/gray/peanut loving pooch named Shep (ok so he’s an elephant) and a narrator that is a times slightly sarcastic (and at one point even argues with one of the characters).
What really makes this movie is Brendan. He is absolutely amazing with characters like this. He is able to portray George in a way that makes him silly, sweet, lovable and a bit naive; but never crosses the fine line that would turn him into a stupid caricature (which other actors – who will remain nameless – would be tempted to do).
Some of my favorite scenes (without being too spoilery):
When George goes to help the little monkey that is sad because the other monkeys call him a “runt” and won’t let him play with them. It is such a cute scene. Both the monkey and George are just adorable in it.
Ape teaching George what to do to win Ursula’s affections. Of course, since he’s an ape, his advice may be a bit off track. It’s a silly, goofy scene; but it is also fun. I don’t know how Brendan managed to pull off scenes like this while keeping a straight face.
When George gets Ursula to dance with him around the fire. It’s such a sweet scene, with a touch of romance. It’s also beautifully lit, with the warm glow coming from the fire.
Brendan in a sundress; nuff said.
Some of my favorite quotes:
Narrator – “Don’t worry, nobody dies in this story. They just get really big boo-boos.”
George – “Huh? Something funny about this fella.”
Ape – “She’s not a “fella”, George. She’s a woman, the female of your species.”
George – “George having stirring of special feelings right now.”
Ape – “I see.”
George – “Good thing she same species, huh?”
Narrator – “And so it came to pass that George of the jungle attended his first co-ed dance.”
Max – “Did that monkey just speak?”
Thor – “That monkey just spoke.”
Betsy – “I see why they made him king of the jungle.”
George – “Not true. George have every intention of doing exactly what Ursula say.”
Narrator – “Really? Is that so?”
George – “For a while.”
The “George of the Jungle” theme song (which I now have stuck in my head … help me make it go away) is sung by “The Presidents of the United States of America”. They are an interesting alternative band that tends to have quirky songs. I’m not so much into their new stuff, but I like their first album. My favorite song of theirs is “Lump”.
Following is additional information about the show that contains spoilers. If you don’t want to be spoiled don’t read any further.
I love how after he eats the coffee grounds (I’m not even going to try to explain why he does it – it’s one of those, it’s better to see it than hear about it things) he gets all hyper and runs around the apartment. Then the weatherman says it’s such a nice day that he should be outside. He thinks the man is talking directly to him so he decides he should do just that. We then see him running around the city doing different things. My favorite part is when we he goes into the dance school and ends up drumming for them.
Of course, we get the happily ever after ending. A wedding in the jungle with family, friends and animals present. Then later we get to see George Jr. toddling around and find out how much he takes after his father (which means he seems to have trouble with trees).