(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from George of the Jungle. The movie's theme song plays throughout)
Doug (vo): So at the time they were making live-action movies out of any dumb old cartoon, yeah, I know, as opposed to today, George of the Jungle was the one that everyone thought was going to be the biggest flop. And who can blame them? It’s not like there was a ton to go off of with the original cartoon, and the past live-action films based on cartoons have been so bad, this clearly had no chance. But, with an upbeat innocent sense of humor and an upbeat innocent main character, as well as upbeat innocent side characters, George of the Jungle is a lot of fun. Is it die-hard hilarious? No. But as kids’ movies go, this has a lot of stuff about it that’s pretty unique.
Doug (vo): Ursula and her fiancée are on an expedition to the jungle. At some point, they get separated and she comes across a wild man named George, played by Brendan Frasier. This is obviously a Tarzan knock-off, but it has a few other twists to it. For example, he doesn’t really have a pet dog like most people have. He has a pet elephant. Yet, strangely enough, it still acts like a dog. And not only can he communicate with the apes, but the apes can communicate with people. In fact, they’re kind of geniuses. One of them is voiced by John Cleese. Ursula wants to show George the human world and George wants to show Ursula the ape world, and we find out that the fiancée is actually a bad guy and he has this evil plan and, oh, it doesn’t matter.
Doug (vo): And I don’t mean that in an insulting way, I mean that in a way that, literally, the film doesn’t care much either. The narrator keeps interrupting that it’s all fake, it’s all a film, and it’s here for jokes, and, yeah, it sort of works that way and it works well. It sort of has its own kid-friendly unique sense of humor, and the devotion all the actors have to being silly throughout the entire thing but still totally committed is actually kind of charming. There’s something nice about the fact that it knows it’s a kids’ movie, and it’s gonna have fun with it and it’s not gonna try and be badass and make the kids older. No, it’s just gonna try and be smart and, for lack of a better word, cute. It is a cute movie, and I think a lot of people forget that you can do cute movies okay. Not everything has to have a ton of references, or swear words, or really harsh action, or these dark backstories. You know what? Sometimes, you can just have a fun, dumb comedy that can actually be smart in its dumbness. And it can be child-friendly. It’s kind of like if the Zucker Brothers or Mel Brooks did a kids’ film. It’s the same amount of effort except it’s put into something that’s family-friendly. Now as I said before, not every joke works. In fact, there’s a lot that really die and don’t go anywhere, and you sort of say to yourself, "Yeah, you could’ve cut that." But shortly after, you see about five other jokes that do work, and you kind of forget about them. And the actors, as well as the narrator, are so good at carrying you from one joke to another that it just feels like fun. You don’t want to rate every joke or judge the story or the pacing or anything, you just kind of sit back and enjoy it. And that’s the kind of experience I had.
Doug (vo): I don’t think it’s a big staple for comedy or anything, but for a movie that clearly should’ve been dead on arrival, it’s actually very enjoyable. Kids love it, adults seem to like it, what’s not to enjoy? I mean, aside from that catchy-ass theme song that’ll never leave your head. Oh, screw it. I enjoy that, too.
[More scenes of George are shown as the theme song reaches its end]
Singers: George, George, George of the Jungle, friend to you and me!