George of the Jungle is a 1997 live-action comedy based on the Tarzan parody cartoon series of the same name, starring Brendan Fraser as George, Leslie Mann as Ursula and John Cleese as the voice of Ape.
We learn in the Animated Credits Opening that George (Fraser) 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 Stanhope (Mann) 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 Beatrice (Holland Taylor) 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 pay Brendan Fraser.")
This film provides examples of:
- Accidental Misnaming: As another point of Lyle being the ignorant sort, he can never pronounce the lead guide Kwame's name. It's pronounced "kwa-mi", same as Captain Planet's Kwame, but the whole time, Lyle pronounces it as "kweym". Kwame never bothers to correct him, though, since it's likely not worth the effort.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Ursula, who was a redhead in the original cartoon, is blonde in the movie. George has brown hair instead of black.
- A Dog Named "Dog": George's best friend and mentor is an ape named Ape.
- Aerith and Bob:
- The mercenaries Lyle hires, whose names are Gunner, Gunter, Hans, Jan... and Phil.
- The two poachers are named Max and Thor.
- 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 only sees the ladies crowding around the horses' field and does not notice George) comments "What is it with girls and horses, anyway?"
- All Just a Dream: In-universe, Ursula believes that her first encounter with George and Ape in the treehouse was a dream.
- Amusing Injuries: As the narrator explains, in this film nobody dies, but they will "get big boo-boos". George smashing into trees is particularly a Running Gag.
- Animated Credits Opening: A good one, too. Of course, it's drawn in the same style as the original cartoon series, albeit with a bit of an Animation Bump. It was directed by Bob Kurtz, who also directed the Mr. DNA sequence in Jurassic Park and the Animated Credits Opening of The Pink Panther (2006).
- Argument of Contradictions: Of the "Did not!" "Did too!" variety, between Thor and the narrator.
- Artistic License Physics: The vines George swings on are often moving impossibly beyond how they'd actually be able to be swung upon.
- Artistic License Sports: George claims to hit a lion with a "flying piledriver," when what he actually does is an elbow drop.
- Ass Shove: Thor winds up with Tookie-Tookie's beak embedded in his ass during their fight with George. Or, as George puts it, "Fella got toucan on can!"
- 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 (1994).
- Bare Your Midriff: Ursula's attire when she starts living in the jungle.
- Belated Love Epiphany: While Ursula clearly shows an attraction to George throughout the film, she doesn't fully realize it herself until he heads back to the jungle from San Francisco.
- Better Than a Bare Bulb: One of the film's main quirks is lampshading everything.
- Between My Legs: When George is naked in front of Ursula and Betsy they're shown like this staring in awe at him.
- Beautiful Dreamer: George enacts this with Ursula a couple of times in the first movie.
- Best Friend: Lampshaded, of course, when Ursula comes back to San Francisco with George in tow.Narrator: Well, Ursula's fiancè is in prison, and there's a jungle man sleeping on her balcony. She could use a best friend right now.
(Betsy appears for the first time in the movie)
Betsy: Hi, I got here as fast as I could!
- Big Bad: Lyle in both films.
- Big Damn Kiss: George and Ursula have theirs at the film's end. Doubles as George's First Kiss (from a human, according to the narrator)
- Big "NO!": Lyle when he finds out that a female gorilla has taken Ursula's place at the end for a marriage proposal.
- In the sequel he does this again when the Narrator gets fed up with him and literally pulls him out of the story into the sky.
- Big, Thin, Short Trio: N'Dugo, Kip, and Baleto, the porters.
- Bilingual Backfire: The lead guide makes it very clear that the other guides only speak Swahili and acts as a translator for them, and Lyle spends a great deal of time badmouthing the guides and treating them like primitives. Meanwhile, the guides say mean things about Lyle, leading to a few Tactful Translations. When the poachers offer the guides money to help them hunt the white ape, the guides respond to them in English with a demand for more money, revealing that they could speak and understand English just fine - they were just messing with the stupid tourists.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: Regarding the sequel.
- Blatant Lies: In the sequel, George arrives home, very late for lunch.George: Sorry George late, but George had important royal duty to tend to.
Ursula: In other words... you were playing coconut ball.
- 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...
- Brick Joke: Near the beginning of the Animated Credits Opening, a native in Africa puts on a wildebeest mask, attracting the attention of an actual wildebeest. Later, when the jungle's animals are swinging around on vines, you can see the wildebeest swing by, holding onto that native.
- Bridal Carry: Played straight when George carries an unconscious Ursula to bed in the first movie. Subverted in the sequel where George is about to carry Ursula out the window, but knocks her out on the wall when turning around momentarily.
- 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.
- Butt-Monkey: Lyle. Even his buddies think he's a buffoon when he [unsuccessfully] attempts to portray himself as a charismatic genius.
- Call-Back: The sequel directly re-enacts scenes, jokes and other elements from the first movie. All while lampshading them, of course.
- The Cameo: Then Mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown appears as himself as a guest at Ursula's engagement party.
- Can't Believe I Said That:Ursula: You're my hero! (beat) Did I just say that?
- Cannot Spit It Out: In the sequel, they don't bother hypnotizing Junior into believing Lyle is his dad, yet it takes him nearly the whole movie to tell his mother the truth.
- A deleted scene shows Junior telling his fellow Boy Scouts that Lyle is lying about being his real dad.
- Catchphrase: "George just lucky, I guess."
- 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."
- Chekhov's Skill: George teaches Ursula how to vine swing while in the jungle, and later in making a jungle call in the city. She uses both when she arrives to help George in the battle with Max and Thor.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Ursula's father makes no appearance in the sequel, implying her parents have since divorced or separated.
- Church of Happyology: After getting out of jail Lyle becomes a priest of one of these.
- Circling Birdies: George sees stars getting shoved repeatedly into Ape's cage during the climactic fight in the first film. In the sequel, Shep charges a bulldozer and gets the same result.
- Combat Pragmatist: 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.
- Concussions Get You High: Happens to George, Ursula and others in both films
- Cool Old Guy: Ursula's father who takes a shining to George and encourages Ursula to follow her heart.
- Continuity Nod: The sequel is packed with them, most notably the scene where George and his family are shipped to Africa in a very large crate, thanks to "a tip from Brendan Fraser."
- 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..."
- Covering for the Noise: Played With where Ape first presents himself as a Talking Animal to Ursula, but when she keeps fainting in shock at this revelation, he opts to act like a proper ape whenever she shows up and quickly drops his human-like behavior.
- 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'll pretend I didn't hear that.
Max: Thor! Were you fighting with the narrator?
- Dance of Romance: George and Ursula begin to bond romantically as they dance around a campfire to "Dela" by Johnny Clegg.
- Damsel in Distress: Ursula at times
- Also doubles as a Damsel out of Distress: "Here am I, lost in the wilderness with a jungle man. I should be terrified that no one will ever find me, but I'm not."
- Dating What Daddy Hates: A gender inversion - Ursula's mother is very disapproving of Ursula dropping out of her engagement to Lyle in favor of a relationship with George. Her father is much more open-minded about it.
- Deadly Prank: N'Dugo, Kip and Baleto try to play one on Lyle by replacing his gun-shaped lighter with an actual gun. It turns out badly for George.
- Deadpan Snarker: Ape named Ape. It helps tremendously that he's voiced by John Cleese, and steals the show numerous times. Like everything else in the movie it's also lampshaded, sometimes by Ape himself!
"God, that woman's a pain in the ass."
- Ursula's father spends most of the movie as the quiet, sensible parent who supports his daughter's life choices. Near the end of the film, he shows he's finally losing patience with his wife.
- Decoy Protagonist: George is the main character, but Ursula is the one who develops and grows as a character through the film.
- Deus ex Machina: The climax of the second movie is more or less wrapped up when the narrator becomes annoyed with Lyle and literally reaches down and pulls him from the story's world.
- Dirty Coward: Lyle runs away when a lion advances on him and Ursula (but trips on a root and gets knocked out instead). Ursula later calls him out on this, but he just waves it off.
- Disposable Fiancé: Lyle is a huge jerkass and Ursula clearly wants to get away from him in their first scene. She very quickly forgets about him after meeting George and isn't happy when Lyle turns up again - granted, anyone would be sour after being abandoned with a lion.
- 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." (Cut to the battered, bandaged, alive-but-very-much-ticked-off guide) 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 Nike Airs.
- Averted with Ursula, who (unlike her animated counterpart and most Jane Porter-type women) has footware in the jungle for the majority of both films.
- Does He Have a Brother?: Ursula's friend Betsy asks this of George, who brings up his "brother", Ape.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Ursula's mother's attitude towards George is more than a little reminiscent of parents who oppose interracial dating. The fact that she disdainfully calls George an ape just adds to it.
- She even uses a "stripes and spots" analogy later on.
- In the animated opening, a native (wearing an animal mask) is suddenly the object of affection by a male animal. The native's spear suddenly becomes limp...
- Don't Explain the Joke: Only this time, explaining the joke is the joke.
- Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: George licks Ursula's cheek after she faints.
- Dumbass Has a Point: George may not be the brightest bulb, but he has moments of what Betsy refers to as "sensual intelligence."
- For example, Ursula is initially to embarrassed to dance with him. He's able to convince her to by pointing out there's none of the social pressure she's used to to make her feel uncomfortable.
- Eating the Eye Candy:
- Ursula and her best friend Betsy do this to George when he steps out of the shower naked.
- At the party, a group of girls does this when George is frolicking with the horses.
- Eloquent in My Native Tongue: See Fun with Subtitles below.
- Engineered Heroics: When Little Monkey complains that he's unpopular with the other monkeys, George sets up a scene where a lion pretends to attack the monkeys, and Little Monkey fends it off with a Primal Chest-Pound.
- Eureka Moment: When George goes back to the jungle to save Ape, Ursula is left wondering why he would leave without at least saying goodbye to her. But when her mother offhandedly brings up the stripes and spots analogy, Ursula quickly figures out (part of) the reason.Mrs. Stanhope: Well, of course he went back to the jungle. Where else would he go? The Hague?
Ursula: But why would he leave without saying goodbye?
Mrs. Stanhope: Well, personally, I think he acted rather sensibly. Showed good character. He understands that he belongs there, you belong here. It's really all a question of stripes and spots.
Ursula: What? Oh, no. You got to him. Mother, what did you say?
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: George grows up in a family of gorillas, and his "brother" is an intelligent, British-accented ape named Ape. He's also a good friend of the other primates of the jungle, including capuchin monkeys and orangutans.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: George spins a lion on his finger like a basketball early in the first movie, then sends Thor into a wild spin with a wind-up punch late in the movie.
- Fade to White: When George is shot.
- Fainting: Ursula does this in both films in similar fashion - accidentally knocked out by George, brought to new surroundings, then faints upon seeing something strange.
- Fast-Forward Mechanic: Non-Video Game Example.Narrator: The young Miss Stanhope proceeded to spill the beans...
Ursula: So, anyway, I went to the jungle— (suddenly starts speaking and acting rapidly)
Narrator: ...Very quickly...
- Female Gaze: When Betsy stops by Ursula's apartment, she meets a naked and glistening George and thoroughly enjoys seeing what he's packing. The movie also does surprisingly little to cover George up, considering that it's meant for families with young children.
- Film Adaptation (Live-Action): A new Origin Story, adapting the George of the Jungle animated 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 attempts to fit in.
- That said, George adapts INSTANTLY to modern conveniences, such as understanding TV, modern clothing, including running shoes, knowing how to answer a phone (re: yelling in the receiver), and, even if it's via Rule of Funny, knowing how and where to ship himself and Tookie via UPS crate back to Africa. That's not to mention his minor adventure in downtown San Francisco before climbing the Bay Bridge, including being able to operate the coin-operated binoculars to see the bridge.
- Flanderization: The sequel takes certain aspects of the characters and dials them Up to Eleven:
- George made a lot dumber.
- Beatrice's villainy is amped up. In the first film, she doesn't approve of Ursula and George's relationship, but seems to relent. In the sequel, she stops at nothing to break them up.
- Betsy - in the first film, she jokes once about hooking up with George. In the sequel, she willingly ignores her best friend getting knocked out in hopes of finding out if George has a brother, then later, forces herself on him to help break her hypnosis.
- Foreshadowing: In an early scene, Lyle worries aloud that the guides think he's the biggest jerk they've ever seen in their lives and are thinking of something evil to do to him — and the guides say to each other (in Swahili) that Lyle's the biggest jerk they've ever seen in their lives and plan to do something evil to him. It seems like a simple comedy gag — which foreshadows The Reveal that they can speak English just fine.
- Fourth Date Marriage: George and Ursula's romantic arc unfolds over the course of about a week.
- Freudian Threat: Beatrice threatens "to remove George's reason for wearing a loincloth" unless he leaves Ursula.
- 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: (in Swahili) 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.
- When Lyle tries to explain why he didn't save Ursula:
- Fun with Subtitles: When George is speaking "gorilla" to his ape friends. George sounds incredibly stupid in English, but apparently he speaks Gorilla like a Shakespearean scholar, complete with an ornamental calligraphy-style font for the subtitles.
- Glass Smack and Slide: A parasailing George and the tugboat window.
- Going Native: Ursula. The movie novelization goes into more detail about why she prefers the jungle over the city, the movie making it only seem like it's for George.
- Good Luck Charm: George has his "neck crown," which is a necklace made from a pulled tooth from an aching crocodile. Ursula has a cereal box ring she found at 10 years old.
- Groin Attack: A number of them occur in the first film.
- Hammered into the Ground: How Rocky the Kangaroo subdues Sally and Kowalski in the sequel.
- The Hand Is God: Played With in the film and its Direct to Video sequel, where the narrator (something of a metaphorical God to the series) will frequently interfere with the plot by reaching down and fixing things himself, comically invoking the "hand of god" imagery.
- Hand-or-Object Underwear: Innocent Fanservice Guy 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..."
- Hard Head: In the sequel:George: George lucky man. He has Ursula, and Junior (coconut falls on his head, unfazed)...and really strong head.
- 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! (tooth gleam)
- HeelFace Turn: Seemingly played straight at the end of the first movie - Beatrice is seen dancing with Ape at Ursula and George's wedding, giving the impression that she's no longer opposed to them as a couple - only to be subverted by the time the sequel rolls around - Beatrice plots with Lyle to break up their marriage and have Ursula wed Lyle.
- Heroes Love Dogs: George adores his grey, peanut-loving poochie.
- Hidden Supplies: In the sequel, Lyle is kicked in the shin by Junior. In a later encounter, he tries it again, only Lyle has shin guards hidden by his pants. This doesn't prevent Junior from stomping on his foot afterward.
- Hulk Speak: George.
- Human Mail: George ships himself from San Francisco to the jungle via UPS."Next time, George get bigger box."
Narrator: After getting a tip from Brendan Fraser, who was cramped during the first pic, this time, George managed to get an even bigger crate.
- And in the sequel he does get a bigger box! Big enough to hold him, along with Ape, Ursula, Junior, and Rocky!
- Hurt Foot Hop: Ursula kicks Lyle in the shins to escape and he hops around for a bit before grabbing her again.
- I Can't Dance: Ursula is too embarrassed to dance with George, until he helps her realize there's no one else around to cause that feeling.
- I Choose to Stay: Ursula decides to stay in the jungle with George, rather than George staying in the city with her.
- If I Wanted X, I Would YThor: You dragged me all the way up here to look at some guy in a leopard-skin bikini. If I wanted to see that, I could have stayed in Miami.
- Ill-Fated Flowerbed: To his dismay, Ape's rosebed gets crushed by a trunk dropped by Shep the elephant.Ape: "No, not ON THE ROSES! Aaaaaugh!"
- 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 sighs in relief and smiles brightly)
Narrator: Juuuust kidding!
Ursula's mother: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! (drops wine glass)
- Immortal Hero / Plot Armor: Lampshaded by the narrator:"Poor George was really shot, but can't die, because let's face it, he's the hero!"
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: George is one of the most friendly and downright likable protagonists ever put on film. Just don't threaten his loved ones.
- Inflationary Dialogue: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 Guy: George complains about the shower, saying that the "waterfall" is too hot and he slipped on a "strange yellow 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?")Thor: Well, he started it.
- 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.
- Interrupted Declaration of Love: Ursula returns to the jungle when she realizes she loves George.Ursula: George, I came all this way to tell you that-
George: (in the middle of a fight) Ursula talk later, George busy now! (drops her on the ground)
- Her second attempt is then interrupted by Lyle.
- It's not rather surprising that Ursula eventually decides that she doesn't want to marry Lyle anymore. First he gatecrashes Ursula's trek through Africa and tries to drag her back home, even when it's clear that she's enjoying herself there and doesn't want to leave. Then he nearly kills one of the group's porters, and has the nerve to blame the porter's "inexperience" for it. Then he treats the porters as if they barely understand the modern world (referring to a lighter and camera as "magic fire" and a "magic picture", respectively). Then he drags Ursula into the jungle so that they can find a white ape and therefore leave, gets both of them lost, and ditches Ursula when they encounter a lion. And the next time he sees her, he claims that he was fighting the lion the whole time, and that she's just too scared to remember this. And this is just the first act. Heck, even Lyle pretty much hit the nail on his own head when he thinks the guides are saying that he's the biggest jerk they've ever seen in their lives. Which to be precise, he really is.
- Ursula's mother Beatrice isn't so nice, either. She is completely insistent that Ursula marry Lyle, even when Ursula adamantly refuses, and even after Ursula lays out everything Lyle did (see above). Ursula's mother even tells George that Ursula couldn't really love him and that they're from two different worlds, and that he should just go home, or else she'll remove his reason for wearing a loincloth. Although her schemes ultimately fail, she ends up as a Karma Houdini in the first movie. The second movie has her continue to try and pair Ursula up with Lyle, even though, by this time, Ursula's already married to George—and has a son!! She finally gets her comeuppance this time, though.
- Jungle Drums of course. They're Bongo-grams.
- The Klutz: George.
- Last-Second Word Swap: Done twice in the same sentence.Narrator: Kwame and his men were getting dangerously close... to shoving a coconut up Lyle's... sleeping bag.
- Lemony Narrator: Revealed at the end of the film to be an Ape named Ape.
- Limited Wardrobe: In the sequel, George packs a couple dozen of extremely identical loincloths, which Lyle and his goons unfortunately must search through to find the deed to Ape Mountain.
- "Lion King" Lift: George holds up his newborn son with Ursula for the animals to see as the movie ends.
- Literal-Minded: George, on a number of occasions.
- Live-Action Adaptation
- Live-Action Cartoon: Taken to ridiculous heights, with Amusing Injuries, Cartoon Physics and an Interactive Narrator abounding.
- A Lizard Named "Liz": Tookie Tookie Bird is a toucan in this adaptation.
- Logo Joke: The sequel opens with a silhouetted George swinging and crashing into the castle in the Disney logo, leaving an Impact Silhouette.
- Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: As George fights with Max and Thor, he is literally punched out of his sneakers.
- To a lesser extent, Ursula loses her scrunchie after she and George collide with a tree.
- Love Epiphany: Beatrice mentions Ursula's feelings for George to her and using the word "love" solidifies Ursula's realization of her feelings.
- Manchild: George, largely due to having been raised in the jungle by apes.
- Miles Gloriosus: Lyle towards Ursula when he finally reunites with her after the lion incident.*Lyle begins creepily embracing and kissing Ursula*
Ursula: Lyle, don't get all smoochy and disgusting with me. I remember what you did to me when that lion came.
Lyle: What are you talking about? I was fighting the lion the whole time.
- Misplaced Wildlife: For some reason, there's an orangutannote hanging around in the heart of the African jungle, as well as a toucannote , a group of capuchin monkeysnote , a clearly Indian elephantnote and, if we're going to be picky, a lion (lions live in plains and open spaces rather than jungles).
- Monster-Shaped Mountain: Ape Mountain is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a mountain shaped like an ape's head.
- Mr. Fanservice: Brendan Fraser as George, a dorky but well-toned man in a Loincloth.
- Must Have Caffeine: George goes crazy for Chock Full o'Nuts coffee while in Ursula's apartment.George: Javajavajavajavajavajavajavajavajavajavajavajavajava!
- My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Lyle uses a phrasebook to attempt to communicate with his native porters in the African jungle. The subtitles supply, "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 in the morning."
- Mythology Gag: George initially refers to Ursula as "Fella," just as he would do in the original cartoon. Though here, he learns to address her properly.
- In the sequel, George Jr. is seen reading a Tarzan book (specifically the Disney version).
- Naked First Impression: When Ursula calls her best friend Betsy into her apartment to meet George, the first thing she sees is him stepping out of the shower naked. She's immediately taken by him
- Named by the Adaptation: Ursula did not have a last name in the original series. Here, she's given the last name "Stanhope."
- 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.
- And:Narrator: So, the naturally concerned and preternaturally wealthy Ursula Stanhope whisked George off on a private jet bound for the country of his birth, where he would get the finest medical treatment available.
Ursula: I'm going to get you the finest medical treatment available.
- A more straight example:
- Nature Hero: George is an incompetent, bumbling parody of the trope.
- Newscaster Cameo: Meterologist Pete Giddings and anchor Terilyn Joe of KGO-7, ABC's O&O station in San Francisco, appear during George's stay in the city. The former has a sort of The Television Talks Back moment, while the latter anchors coverage of the parachutist caught on the bridge; the station's helicopter can also be seen swooping around. (The KGO reporter on the scene, however, was an actress.) Counts as Company Cross References since Disney had just bought ABC the year before.
- Nice Guy: George is regularly described as "a protector of the innocent, defender of the weak, and all-around good guy."
- Nobody Can Die: As the narrator reassures the audience - while one of the guides falls 400 feet from a rope bridge over a gorge - nobody dies in the story - "they just get really big boo-boos."
- No Fourth Wall: 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 completely gets rid of Lyle by physically reaching in and plucking him out of the movie!
- Non Sequitur, *Thud*: In the original, after getting sent into a crazy spin by a wind up punch, all Thor can let out is a dazed chuckle before toppling like a fallen tree.
- In the sequel, as animals are launching coconuts at impending bulldozersGeorge: George will stand here just as long as George's name is (two coconuts fly at his head)...Herb... (falls over)
- In the sequel, as animals are launching coconuts at impending bulldozers
- Not My Boyfriend: Ursula denies being "stuck on George" or having a "fling in the jungle" before realizing her true feelings.
- 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.
- Oblivious Adoption: Until meeting Ursula, George isn't aware that he's a different species or that Ape isn't his biological brother.
- Oh, Crap!: Lyle has this reaction ("Oh, My God!") as the raft he and Ursula are on ends up floating right into river rapids.
- Once Done, Never Forgotten: When Lyle is reintroduced during the sequel, the narrator gleefully reminded him of the time he fell into a pile of elephant poop in the first film. Lyle is less than amused.
- Only a Lighter: Inversion: Lyle shoots at George with a pistol that he thought was a novelty lighter.
- Only Sane Man: Ursula's father. Unlike her mother, he calmly accepts that Ursula is in love with George and there's nothing that can be done to stop their union. How he deals with his wife is really unknown, but he is something of a Deadpan Snarker noting that she is a pain in the ass.
- Over-the-Shoulder Carry: Used in both movies by George with Ursula.
- Parachute in a Tree: Happens to a skydiver whose parachute gets tangled in the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Fortunately, George is there to help him out.
- Parting-from-Consciousness Words:
Ursula: Mommy, make the monkey stop talking...
- In the first movie, during Ursula's bouts of unconsciousness following her crash into a tree:
Ursula: I'm gonna pass out again now. Bye.
Ursula: Oh, the elephant's wearing New Balance. (faints)
- Later, in the sequel:
- Phrase Catcher: "George! Watch Out for That Tree!!" Though in one case, the last word is unsaid given he would crash into a boat instead. And George Jr. earns a "Watch out for that branch!"
- Plot Armor: At one point George gets shot point-blank by Lyle in an unspecified area which apparently should have killed him - "but can't die because, let's face it, he's the hero."
- 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:Beatrice: 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.
- Product Placement: Lyle's Polaroid instant camera (disparagingly compared to a professional-grade Leica 35mm by the porters). Chock Full o' Nuts instant coffee (which drive George hyperactive). Neiman Marcus and Armani (which George looks "pretty darn good" in). UPS (which ships George from L.A. back to Africa) and Nike Airs (which George runs from the village in question back to his treehouse wearing). Lampshaded in the sequel, as Shep sports some New Balance sneakers.Narrator: Uh, see if you can spot our discrete product placement.
- 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! (and eventually invisible punches are thrown into Those Two Bad Guys...)
- 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, even fastforwarding Ursula's long-winded explanation about why she doesn't want to marry Lyle anymore...
- Rescue Romance
- Road Apples: Lyle falls face first in fresh elephant dung in one scene.
- Running Gag: "Watch out for that—" (George slams into something) "--ooooh."
- Sadistic Choice: After Tookie alerts him to what's going on, George realizes he has to leave Ursula in San Francisco in order to go save Ape.
- 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.
- Silly Animal Sound: Shep, the elephant, barks and pants like a dog.
- Shipper on Deck:
- Betsy knows Ursula has feelings for George and spends a bit of her screentime in the first film prodding her about it.
- Unlike his wife, Ursulas father seems quite supportive of his daughter being with George, especially since he doesnt try to stop her.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: In the sequel, Ursula (though not a comic relief character) is put to sleep just before to the big fight at the end, waking up just as it ends. This is odd, considering her actually contributing to the fight at the end of the first movie.
- George's appearance is inspired by Christopher Lambert in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes.
- In a reference to Funny Girl, Ursula is seen riding a tugboat as the score riffs on "Don't Rain on My Parade."
- The first film ends with George and Ursula displaying George Jr. atop Pride Rock from The Lion King (1994).
- In the sequel, Betsy and two other of Ursula's friends engage in a brief spoof of Charlie's Angels.
- Also in the sequel, Ape latches on to the top of a pointed building in Vegas, ala King Kong. Lampshaded of course:Ape: You didn't think we were gonna pass up this parody?
- The local news shows this on the TV, and Beatrice convinces a hypnotized Ursula that it really is King Kong, only colorized.
- In the sequel, George Jr. at one point is seen reading a Disney ''Tarzan'' book.
- Similar Item Confusion: A plot point in the movie is how Lyle has a cigarette lighter that looks like a pistol. At the end of the first act he asks one of his African guides for it (earlier he asked for it to be cleaned as long as they're working on his camera), and the guy accidentally gives him an identically-looking real gun instead.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Ursula's attraction to George is based mostly around his kind and affectionate personality.
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: Ursula crashes into two trees in the first movie, and in the sequel, is knocked out by George swinging her against a wall. In a deleted scene from the sequel, George even swings into her, sending her flying.
- Slept Through the Apocalypse: Ursula remains unconscious during the entire fight in the sequel, waking just when it ends. George comments:George: Sure, George care about family. Even half of family sleeping through best part of movie.
(cut to Ursula, snoring in a hammock)
- Slipping into Stink: Lyle falls into a pile of elephant poop, prompting the tour guides to laugh at him. This is even lampshaded by the guides when it happensGuide: Bad guy falls in poop. Classical element of physical comedy! Now comes the part where we throw our heads back and laugh. Ready?Fellow Guides: READY!(They throw their heads back and laugh)
- Slow-Motion Drop: Parodied with the Imagine Spot listed above.
- Spoiled Sweet: Ursula. Despite being a wealthy heiress who's rich enough to have a man completely treated for being shot in the head, she's a very nice person.
- The Stinger: At the end of the credits of the sequel, The Narrator seemingly begins a relationship with the narrator from Mulan.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: In an early scene, Lyle's decision to cross a dilapidated bridge causes some of his expedition guides to get really bad boo-boos. In the next scene, he's shown to be wary of them and specifically states that they "Must think [he's] the world's biggest jerk" and that they're probably planning to do something evil to him. Camera pans to them speaking in Swahili, and the subtitles reveal they say nearly the exact same thing.
- On the other paw, it is later revealed that the guides speak and understand fluent English; they understood him saying that, and probably said it to mock him.
- Tap on the Head: George, and even Ursula, smash into trees and other things in both movies and don't seem to need extensive medical aid afterward.
- That's Gotta Hurt: A couple of examples in reaction to George's crashing into something, or in some cases, in anticipation of the inevitable ensuing crash.Watch out for that—
- Theme Tune Cameo: The show's theme song is incorporated into the score in both films. In the sequel, George cites it as Ursula's favorite song and has a polka band play it for her.
- Third-Person Person: George.
- This Is Gonna Suck: "This biggest swing in jungle history. Will hurt very much... But George have to do it." Whimper. 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. Right before impact, he says "This gonna hurt."
- 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.note
- Those Two Bad Guys: Max and Thor.
- Toon Physics: Both films run on this, having an Interactive Narrator, No Fourth Wall, and allowing characters to survive deadly things with only really big boo-boos.
- Toyota Tripwire: George obliviously sticking his head out of a car window and smacking it on a van door.
- Trauma Button: Ape believes speaking would serve as this to Ursula, causing her to faint in shock beforehand.
- True Love's Kiss: In the sequel, a kiss from George is all it takes to bring Ursula and her friends out of their hypnotic states.
- Turn Out Like His Father: Averted with George Jr., who prefers vine surfing to vine swinging, which he finds dangerous. George isn't too thrilled.George: (to Ursula) Must be from your side of family.
- Uptown Girl: Ursula comes from a very wealthy family and ditches her high-status finance for a jungle man.
- Unwanted Rescue: Lyle's attempt to "rescue" Ursula from the "White Ape" (George) proves to be this.
- Vine Swing: Done a lot, including "the Biggest Swing in Jungle History".
- Viva Las Vegas!
- Walking Shirtless Scene. George.
- Wakeup Makeup: The Narrator describes Ursula as "perfectly permed" as she first wakes up in George's treehouse.
- Waking Up Elsewhere: Ursula in both movies.
- Watch Out for That Tree!: Of course. And George is not only one to crash into them!
- What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Since he spent a lifetime in the jungle, George doesn't understand what he's feeling for Ursula, but he likes it.
- 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.
- You No Take Candle: George of course, what after being raised in the jungle and left unfounded by the survivors.