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George of the Jungle is a 1997 movie based on the cartoon of the same name, starring Brendan Fraser as George and Leslie Mann as Ursula.
We learn in the Animated Credits Opening that George survived a plane crash in the heart of Africa, but was sadly unfound by the survivors and rescue crew. Here, he grows into a man who rules the jungle. An heiress named Ursula explores the area with her snooty fiance, Lyle (Thomas Haden Church), who abandons her when a lion attacks them. George swoops in to save Ursula, and takes care of her while Lyle and a couple of poachers (in search of the mythical "White Ape", which is George) try to find her. George and Ursula eventually fall in love with each other, and they go back to San Francisco for the requisite Fish Out of Water plot. George and Ursula have to deal with the treacherous Lyle and Ursula's disapproving, meddling mother in order to stay together and live happily ever after.
Completely light-hearted, with a narrator who delights in the fact there's No Fourth Wall and lampshades just about everything, George of the Jungle was a box-office success and relatively well-received with critics. In 2003 it got a Direct to Video sequel, which had Christopher Showerman as George and Julie Benz as Ursula. ("Me new George. Studio too cheap to hire Brendan Fraser.")
- Adaptation Dye Job: Ursula, who was a redhead in the original cartoon, is blonde in the movie.
- Agony of the Feet: Ursula kicks Lyle in the shins to escape and he hops around for a bit before grabbing her again.
- All Animals Are Dogs: Shep, George's pet elephant acts as if he was a dog.
- All Girls Like Ponies: Discussed in a scene, when at a party, the girls are all watching George frolicking with the horses, when one of the male guests (who, of course, has no idea who George is) comments "What is it with girls and horses, anyway?"
- Animated Credits Opening
- Babies Ever After: The film ends with first a scene of George and Ursula's baby showing he's inherited his dad's clumsiness by walking into a low hanging bar, and then proceeds to parody The Lion King.
- Better Than a Bare Bulb: One of the film's main quirks is lampshading everything.
- Big Bad: Lyle in both films.
- Bilingual Backfire: One of the guides makes it very clear that the other guides only speak Swahili. Until it eventually comes to light that they're all completely fluent in English.
- Borrowed Catchphrase:
Narrator: [Ape is] hoping to hear the jungle king's awesome-- (Does the Tarzan yell... in George's voice, no less.) Hey, I'm pretty good at that...
- Bride and Switch: At the climax, Lyle tries to forcibly marry Ursula when they enter a dark tunnel. Upon exiting the tunnel he learns that he actually married an amorous gorilla instead.
- Bullet Seed: Shep the elephant + Coconuts = most unusual artillery cannon ever.
- Call A Loincloth A "Butt Flap"
- Cave Behind the Falls: George attempts to "make Ursula George's mate" (with a gorilla courtship display, get your minds out of the gutter) in one of these, lampshaded by the narrator as the "really big and expensive waterfall set."
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Ursula's father doesn't appear or even mentioned in the sequel. Ursula's mother may have divorced him for favoring their daughter's marriage with George.
- Cool Old Guy: Ursula's father who takes a shining to George and encourages Ursula to follow her heart.
- Contrived Coincidence: When Ursula's mother accidentally sees her and George walking down the street, the narrator lampshades it: "Every story gets to have a really big coincidence and here's ours..."
- Curse Cut Short: When Thor picks a fight with the narrator:
Thor: Why don't you say something constructive for a change, like what we should do now?
Narrator: Because I don't like you!
Thor: Well, I hate you, you snotty son of a-
Narrator: I pretend I didn't hear that.
Max: Thor! Were you arguing with the narrator?
- Deadpan Snarker: Ape named Ape.
- Dirty Coward: Lyle; when a lion attacks him and Ursula, he runs away. Ursula calls him out on this, but he just waves it off.
- Disney Death: The film plays the trope straight, hangs a lampshade on it, and takes it to a blatantly over-the-top extreme bordering on Nigh Invulnerability. In one of the first scenes, for example, one of the guides falls at least 400 meters from a Rope Bridge over a cliff, at which point the Narrator reassures the audience:
Narrator: Don't worry -- nobody dies in this story. They just get really big boo-boos."
- Gilligan Cut to the battered, bandaged, alive-but-very-much-ticked-off guide*
Narrator: What did I tell you?
- Does Not Like Shoes: Inverted with George. He tends to go barefoot in the jungle, but for a cross-country running montage, he pulls out a pair of Nikes.
- Don't Explain the Joke: Perhaps the ONLY time where this is actually funny:
- Eloquent in My Native Tongue: See Fun with Subtitles below.
- Mr. Fanservice: Brendan Fraser as George.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys
- Fade to White: When George is shot.
- The Film of the Series
- Fish Out of Water: The movie's second act follows George back to Ursula's urban home and depicts his awkward and oftentime heartbreaking isolation and attemps to fit in.
- Fun with Foreign Languages:
Lyle: (about the guides) They're probably saying I'm the biggest jerk they've ever seen in their lives. Probably trying to think of something evil to do to me.
First guide (in Swahili, subtitles) That guy's the biggest jerk I've seen in my life.
Second guide Let's think of something evil to do to him.
- When Lyle tries to explain why he didn't save Ursula:
Lyle: The important thing, Kwame, is that I was outnumbered.
Guide: (in Swahili) It's easy to be outnumbered when you're a zero.
- Fun with Subtitles: When George is speaking "gorilla" to his ape friends. George sounds like a retard in English, but apparently he speaks Gorilla like a Shakespearean scholar, complete with an ornamental calligraphy-style font for the subtitles.
- Hand or Object Underwear: Innocent Fanservice Boy George has this scene with Ursula grabbing things for him to cover up with. It does spur an amusing comment from Ursula's friend Betsy: "...see why they made him King of the Jungle..."
- He Cleans Up Nicely: in the first movie;
Narrator: Later, in the Men's Department, after discovering his long lost brothers, the jungle king was pleased to find he looked pretty good in Armani.
George: Pretty darn good!
"Next time, George get bigger box."
- Imagine Spot: Done by - who else? - the narrator:
Narrator: Ursula Stanhope went inside to break the news to her parents, who took it extremely well.
Ursula: Mother, Daddy, I love you both very much. I have something very important to tell you... and I hope you'll understand. I don't want to marry Lyle any more.
Ursula's parents, smiling, in unison: We understand, dear.
(Ursula smiles brightly)
Narrator: Juuuust kidding!
Ursula's mother: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! (drops wine glass)
- Immortal Hero: Lampshaded by the narrator:
"Poor George was really shot, but can't die, because let's face it, he's the hero!"
Guide: So in this version, there are two lions with the white ape?. A minute ago, there was only one.
Lyle: Hey, the important thing, Kwame, is that I was outnumbered.
- Innocent Fanservice Boy: George complains about the shower, saying that the "waterfall" is too warm and he slipped on a "strange slippery rock"... while nude, in front of the heroine and her best friend.
- Intellectual Animal: Ape. Voiced by John Cleese to make it even funnier.
- Interactive Narrator: The narrator is an active and slightly malignant force. At one point, Thor (a Mook) picks a fight with him over his insulting description, to which the narrator responds by rewinding the movie just to taunt him. (The mook's comrade then asks, "Thor, were you fighting with the narrator?")
- In the sequel, Lyle gets into an argument with him during the climax. The infuriated narrator calmly reaches down and plucks him off to the sky while the heroes stare in complete bemusement.
- Jerkass: Lyle. Ursula's mother's not so nice, either.
- The Klutz: George.
- Last-Second Word Swap:
Narrator: And they [the guides] were dangerously close to sticking a coconut up Lyle's... sleeping bag.
- Lemony Narrator
- Live Action Adaptation
- Must Have Caffeine: George goes crazy for Chock Full o'Nuts coffee while in Ursula's apartment.
- My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Lyle uses a phrasebook to attempt to communicate with his native porters in the African jungle: "Pardon me, girls. I know you're feeling pretty hey sailor up here about now. But if you would just let me order a bowl of fried clams, we can all have smallpox tomorrow."
- Narration Echo:
Narrator: And they responded with awe.
Narrator: I said awe. A-W-E.
Narrator: That's better.
- A more straight example:
Narrator: Ursula was amazed that she was lost in the wilderness with a jungle man.
Ursula: Here I am, lost in the wilderness with a jungle man.
- Nobody Can Die: They just get really big boo-boos.
- No Fourth Wall: Placed on top of a pedestal and worshiped relentlessly. The narrator gleefully lampshades every plot point and convention, George has a lot of asides to the viewer, and one of the villains in the first movie even take the time to berate the narrator for giving them such a hard time. Taken up to eleven in the second film, where the narrator directly gets rid of Lyle!
- The Obi-Wannabe: Despite being much more intelligent than George, Ape is this when it comes to giving George love advice. Understandable, since he's of a different species.
- The Other Darrin: As the quote lampshades, the sequel changed the roles of Geroge, Ursula and Ursula's mother. Only Thomas Haden Church (Lyle) and John Clesse (Ape) returned from the first movie. It is said that Brendon was offered to come back but didn't want to go through the training process to get his body to the build needed for the role. He even came up with a joke for the movie that he would come back a bloated mess and be lured off the set by donuts but it wasn't used.
- Police Lineup: Parodied when Lyle takes part in a lineup. In normal police lineups, the people hired are meant to have similar physical features to the convicted/accused. Lyle ended up standing next to jungle natives who weren't even the same skin colour as he was and they were of different shapes and sizes.
- Precision F-Strike: "God, that woman's a pain in the ass."
- Followed immediately by the Narrator saying, in regards to Ape in captivity, "Meanwhile, halfway across the world, another ass was feeling pain..."
- Pretender Diss: Parodying Lloyd Bentsen's famous comment:
Ursula's mother: Arthur, I wish you would do something about all these monkeys. I feel like Jane Goodall.
Ape: Madam, I knew Jane Goodall and you are no Jane Goodall.
- Rage Against the Author: Thor (one of the bad guys) gets into a fight with a narrator: "Why don't you say something constructive for a change, like what we should do now?"
- BECAUSE I DON'T LIKE YOU!
- This ends up defeating Lyle in the second film, where he pisses the narrator off so much, he plucks him out of the film.
- Reality Warper: The Narrator parodies this. He is able to change anything in the story as much as he wants - such as getting rid of Lyle, letting Beatrice and a Zulu guide live, fastforwarding a mook's rant at him...
- Road Apples: Lyle falls face first in fresh elephant dung in one scene.
- Sexual Karma: Lyle winds up with a (semi-sentient) gorilla... who he'd just exchanged vows with while in a dark cave, thinking it was Ursula.
- This Is Gonna Suck: "This biggest swing in jungle history. Will hurt very much... But George have to do it." The swing is so long that he builds up enough velocity to actually knock a George-shaped section of bark off the other side of the tree. Ow.
- This Is My Boomstick: Parodied. Lyle Van de Groot, rich snob white guy, attempts to impress his native guides by offering them lighters and showing off his camera... even though his guides are clearly familiar with such things. The guides play along for a bit, and then burst out laughing at him, whereupon their translator makes it clear they're not only unimpressed, they know more about cameras than he does.
Kwame: He says that he likes your magic pictures... but he prefers the resolution of the Leica 35-millimeter transparencies. He also says that your lens is dirty, but he has the equipment to clean it for you.
- Going the other direction, Lyle later attempts to scare George off with a lighter shaped like a handgun. George, having never seen any kind of gun before, keeps charging. Then it turns out the gun is real.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Max and Thor.
- Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: During George's fight with Max and Thor to save Ape, George is losing... until Ape tells him to forget about fighting fair. Cue Groin Attack.
- Viva Las Vegas: The Credits Gag for the first film reveals the apes got a show at the Las Vegas Strip.
- Its also a bit of the setting in the second movie.
- What's an X Like You Doing In a Y Like This?: Ape reads a book on "human courtship rituals" to help George (Coffee, Tea or Me, a real-life book about two lusty young fictional stewardesses) and suggests the line "What's a nice girl like you doing in a plane like this?"
- World's Shortest Book: Ape, talking about "George's Secrets". Provides the page quote.