Have you ever started watching a movie inside a theatre and about 15
minutes into the feature presentation you can't wait to leave? That is
exactly the feeling created as 'George of the Jungle' unfolds. Based on the
cartoon of the same name, 'George of the Jungle' is an absolutely abysmal
offering from Walt Disney Pictures and it looks as if Disney now believes
that movie audiences will buy into anything and I do mean ANYTHING. The
first few minutes of the film features an exploration team deep in the
jungles of Africa whose leader (the cast mostly features nameless, tasteless
and untalented wannabe actors) is a rich snob and immediately sickens the
audience with his unlikable and obnoxious personality. His bride to be has a
voice that could crack glass and torture the most vicious attack dogs all in
the same breath and she immediately becomes embroiled in a jungle
confrontation with a lion.
Enter George (Brendan Fraser). He's a jungle hero raised by nature when
he was separated from his family in a plane crash when he was an infant.
Naturally he saves her from peril and proceeds to use a few pro-wrestling
moves (clothesline, elbow drop and suplex) all in cartoon fashion which
exploits cruelty to animals in extremely poor taste. We laugh about that
sort of thing in cartoons as politically incorrect as it may seem in today's
day and age but for some reason it doesn't work here in live action.
George's companion is a gorillas named "Ape" voiced by John Cleese and
George is soon rewarded by the girl he saved as she takes him back to America
(San Francisco to be exact) and introduces her to her very wealthy family and
friends. She is engaged to a man suited to her position and George returns
to his jungle for the film's climax.
Brendan Fraser is such a talented young actor whose work in such films
as 'School Ties' and 'With Honors' was a treat and I don't understand the
reason he chose this jaw dropping project of extremely crude and unfunny
material. I saw 'George of the Jungle' on opening day with a theatre filled
mostly with small children and their parents and the laughs were very few and
far between so there goes the theory of appealing to the kiddies and upon
looking around the theatre some parents were shaking their heads and putting
their hands in front of their face in embarrassment. I saw it with my 69
year old father who kept falling asleep.
'George of the Jungle' is a live action film based on a cartoon that
features visuals and sound effects derived directly from cartoon antics and
it features people falling in excrement, animals expiring gas from the bottom
end in people's faces, wooden dialogue, quick scenes of lost logic, and
faceless performances with no creative turns from anybody behind the camera.
If this film were edible, you would get food poisoning. Definitely a
candidate for worst film of 1997 (that honor still belongs to John
Leguizamo's 'The Pest' until I digest this one further) and one of the worst
films of the 90's.
Copyright © 1997 Walter Frith