Tuesday, 3 June 2014

George of the Jungle (1997)

This is a very silly movie.

I mean very silly.  Massively over the top pratfalls, wrestling matches with lions, a talking ape, and characters who actively interact with the narrator.

It's also jolly good fun.

The original George of the Jungle was an animated series that ran for a mere 17 episodes (each episode containing three 10 minute shorts) in 1967.  How it got turned into a movie thirty years later I don't know, but I'm rather glad it did.

George himself is a blatant Tarzan parody, possessing all the strength, stamina and animal controlling tricks of the original, but coupled with dim-witted good humour and a habit of accidentally swinging into trees.  Fortunately, he's aided by his much smarter ape 'brother', Ape, and by his 'big grey peanut-lovin' poochie' Shep (an elephant).

In the movie, George happens to save an American tourist - Ursula - from a lion.  She is knocked out in the fracas, so he takes her back to his tree-house to recover.  Alas, her jerk of a fiance follows her, and in that fracas, George ends up being shot.  But only slightly.  Still, it gets the fiance sent to jail and motivates Ursula to bring him back to the US for medical treatment.

You can probably guess what follows: comedic spots about George's unfamiliarity with the modern world, a growing attraction between the two leads, an an overbearing mother who has no intention of seeing her daughter marry some 'jungle man'.  Why is it always the mother in these things, I wonder?

This movie skates by on its self-aware, irreverent script and the affable charm of its leads, but frankly, that's the smart call with a premise like this.  George of the Jungle delivers a hour and a half of light entertainment that should leave you smiling at the end.

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