Before he found himself in the midst of the massive "Mummy" pictures, Brendan Fraser successfully managed to capture the dim-witted main character in "George of the Jungle", a slapstick live-action adventure based on the cartoon. While a mild success theatrically, the film continued to do fairly well as a rental for kids. Which, of course, lead Disney to smell sequel. Not theatrical sequel, mind you, but a direct-to-video live action feature similar to the countless direct-to-video sequels to many of the studio's animated features.
Although kids will no doubt be overjoyed to get another slapstick adventure, I can't say I found too much funny about this continuation, whose funniest line I found early in the picture. The narrator asks who this unknown is playing George and he responds, "studio too cheap to pay Brendan Fraser." Said unknown is Chris Showerman, an actor with few credits in his resume, but who sounds like Brendan Fraser and has a rather remarkable ability to mimic Fraser's performance in the first film.
While Showerman's performance is a decent recreation of Fraser's, there's not much else to the film. The thin plot involves George's old enemy Lyle (Thomas Hayden Church) trying to scam George's pal Ape in Vegas. When George finds out that Ape's in trouble, he flies off to save his friend, with the deed to his land in hand.
Although not quite the dreadful affair that most will be expecting from this kind of a direct-to-video effort, there's simply not much story for the film to go on and the only witty moments are provided by the narrator (parodies of "Charlie's Angels" and "Lion King" aren't successful). The film itself is an odd mix of slapstick and more mature humor; while the kids will be entertained by the animals and lowbrow humor, I don't think they'll be as involved with the attempts by Lyle and his mother to convince George's wife, Ursula, that she should give up life with George to move back with them.
While I suppose it wasn't out of the question to try another adventure with George, the material here simply isn't very good, with little in the way of plot or humor.
VIDEO: "George of the Jungle 2" is presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality is generally quite good, although the clarity of the presentation makes the cheapness of the sets and effects of the sequel even a bit more apparent. Still, sharpness and detail remained solid and quite consistent, as definition remained satisfying.
Only a couple of issues presented themselves during the film. A light amount of shimmer was present in some of the jungle scenes, while a compression artifact or two appeared in a couple of scenes. The print seemed in excellent condition and edge enhancement remained absent. Colors remained bright and vivid throughout, with very good saturation.
SOUND: In a surprise move, "George of the Jungle 2" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French and Spanish options) as well as DTS 5.1. The film's soundtrack has its moments early on in the jungle scenes, where sound effects are clearly heard all around the viewer. Once the picture moves to Vegas, it turns into an almost entirely front-heavy audio presentation.
EXTRAS: Deleted scenes, featurettes, interactive game and previews for other Disney titles.
Final Thoughts: An unnecessary sequel, "George of the Jungle 2" starts off with some witty comments about the kind of direct-to-video affair that it is, then proceeds to prove - aside from a couple of moments - that it's exactly that kind of cheaply made film. Disney's DVD edition provides good video and audio quality and a couple of decent supplements. Still, I'd skip it.
The Film * 1/2