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It's been 5 years since socialite Ursula Stanhope left civilization to marry George, lovable and clumsy King of the Jungle. Now father to George Junior, George finds himself stressed at having to juggle his cherished roles of jungle king, Junior's dad, and Ursula's loving husband. George's stress level goes way up when Really Mean Lion challenges him for leadership of the jungle, and Ursula's mother Beatrice teams up with Ursula's ex-fiance Lyle in a plot to forcibly take away all that George holds most dear. Written by
There are just so many things wrong with this movie.
To begin with, the first twenty minutes of the film could have been compressed into just five or maybe ten. The overall movie is (mercifully) short already, but this could have been made up for by giving a little more attention to the Mean Lion (how did the miss a reference to "The Wiz" on that one?) and working his subplot a little more closely into the main plot. In short, the script had the seed of a good idea, but needed quite a bit of reworking.
Second, it could have done without the crude humor. The original also had some that it could have done without, but at least there it was almost an afterthought -- here, flatulence and urination abound.
Third, the show is a little too self-aware. The original series had that well enough, as did the first movie, but here it's just way, way too much. The Brendan Fraser in-jokes were just a bit over the top (and why no mention of the "new Ursula"?). Other gags with the Narrator, especially a couple of interactions near the end, also exceed good sense.
Fourth, a bit more attention could have been given to the CGI work. In the first it was hard to tell that Shemp wasn't a real elephant (except by behavior, of course), but here the CGI stands out like a sore thumb. Ideally special effects should merely tell the story whether they're good or bad, and they at least do succeed on that count, so it's a relatively small problem, but it's still there.
All that said, Christopher Showerman's performance as George is decent enough. It lacks Brendan Fraser's charm, but Christopher only really fails in that specific comparison -- he even managed to give George a bit of personal depth, which should have been a major foul in a Jay Ward-inspired movie but wasn't here. Julie Benz as the new Ursula surprised me as being even better than Leslie Mann in the original.
Most other performances were pretty standard, not standing out in my mind as either good or bad.
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