George of the Jungle 2 is the critically panned direct-to-video sequel to George of the Jungle that I still kinda liked. Like any other low quality follow up I saw as a child, I didn’t really notice how bad it was. I first watched George of the Jungle 2 with my brother on the Disney Channel. We both enjoyed it about as much as the first one. Apart from what was pointed out to us, I didn’t even notice that practically the entire cast was replaced by cheaper actors. Specifically some guy I never heard of named Christopher Showerman who replaces Brendan Fraser. Though their joke about it is funny. The only returning cast members are Thomas Haden Church, John Cleese, and the narrator. Whom I felt was the funniest part of the whole movie. Hearing him constantly berate the cast is hilarious. The rest of the plot involving Las Vegas, a kangaroo, a mean lion, and hypnotism is just guilty pleasure nonsense in my opinion. George of the Jungle 2 is a sequel you’ll only like if you enjoyed the first movie.
George and his family
Preceded by: George of the Jungle
George of the Jungle is the funniest Tarzan movie I’ve ever seen. In case you’re unfamiliar, George of the Jungle was a saturday morning cartoon that ran in 1967. It only lasted for 17 episodes, but somehow somebody remembered it enough to want to make a feature length movie about it. The story is meant to be a goofy parody of Tarzan. George was lost in the jungle after a plane crash. So he grew up with the animals becoming the elusive “White Ape.” His friend is an ape named Ape and his elephant Shep is like his dog. Instead of Jane, George’s love interest is Ursula. But unlike Tarzan, George has a problem swinging into trees. Of course 90’s powerhouse Brendan Fraser plays George. He’s just goofy and ripped enough to work. George of the Jungle sees George encounter people and be immediately taken into civilization. Obviously with a premise this ridiculous, don’t expect a masterpiece. Then again, that’s kinda the point. George of the Jungle is hilarious and never takes itself too seriously. Even doing things like talking directly to the narrator. I watched George of the Jungle in theaters and many more times on VHS. I can’t help but get nostalgic everytime I hear that iconic drum beat. Watch out for that tree!
George George George of the Jungle
Followed by: George of the Jungle 2
Love Story is about… well a love story. Although before I only knew it as the movie that featured the famous quote “love means never having to say you’re sorry.” A quote I would say sums up the movie perfectly. Love Story focuses on the love story of Oliver and Jenny. Two college students who come from two different upbringings. So it’s that kind of romance. Oliver comes from a wealthy home. While Jenny comes from a working class home. Of course disapproving parents are their biggest obstacle. As a romance, Love Story works because you can really feel the love between these two. As a movie, it has a hard time pleasing everybody. Love Story is one of many Best Picture nominated films not to maintain its acclaim over time (it did win Best Original Score though). What some might call touching, others would call sappy. For me, I just thought their relationship was on fast forward. They meet, they hate each other, they like each other, they date, they love each other, they get married. All in what seems like no time at all. Plus the characters aren’t always likeable. Although tragically, (SPOILER ALERT!) one of them dies of a mysterious illness. Back to the famous quote. It’s a memorable line, but it doesn’t completely make sense. Love isn’t always easy and people make mistakes. So you should be able to say you’re sorry. That’s why Love Story can really be anybody’s story.
Oliver (right) falls in love with Jenny (left)
Cape Fear (1991) is a remake done right. To the point where most people remember it more than the original. Even though they’re both very good interpretations. It helps that this one is directed by Martin Scorsese. Cape Fear (1991) has the same basic story as the original. Only this time Max Cady is shown being released from prison. His appearance is that of a heavily tattooed man with long hair. And his personality was changed to more of a false preaching philosopher. While his rape charges are discussed and even shown in more graphic detail. Robert De Niro delivers what is easily the most disturbing performance of his career. Even earning him an Oscar nomination along with Juliette Lewis who plays the attorney’s daughter. She’s changed to a more strong willed if not very innocent school girl. Bowden’s wife played by Jessica Lange is also stronger, but more of a mess. The entire family is more realistically flawed. Nick Nolte plays Sam Bowden (despite being bigger than De Niro) who is now the attorney who defended Cady. He also now has a connection to the assaulted woman. It all ends with a bigger more terrifying climax on the houseboat that has a very different outcome. Cape Fear (1991) has more stand out scenes (like the one in the theater), a Hitchcockian style, the hilarious Simpsons parody, cameos from the original actors, and a realistic look into the mind of a madman.
Sam Bowden (left) attempts to quiet down a laughing Max Cady (right)
Remake of: Cape Fear (1962)
Cape Fear is To Kill a Mockingbird meets The Night of the Hunter. When a criminal gets released after an 8 year prison sentence, he stalks the family of the attorney who helped put him in jail. It just so happens that the attorney Sam Bowden is played by Atticus Finch himself Gregory Peck the same year To Kill a Mockingbird was released (see that review here). While in a similar twist of fate, Robert Mitchum’s Max Cady is a stalker just like his character in The Night of the Hunter (see that review here). Cape Fear was intended to be like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. With a lot of its darker moments being implied rather than shown. The director even hired the same Hitchcock composer to write the film’s iconic score. Despite coming out in 1962, Cape Fear is actually very creepy. They may not have been able to use the word rape, but its implication is more than enough. Max Cady is just an ordinary man in a Panama hat. Yet he’s just as scary as any monster, because he could really exist. The things he plans to do to the attorney’s 14 year old daughter are really pushing the boundaries of the decade it was released. Cape Fear shows that sometimes the worst monster is man himself.
Max Cady (right) confronts attorney Sam Bowden (left)
The Secret World of Arrietty (or Arrietty to all my Japanese readers) is not something I expected to see from an anime. Since Arrietty is based on the English series of children’s books The Borrowers. Although the more I think about it, Asians do seem to have a fascination with British culture. I was even more surprised, because the book had already been adapted before in the 1997 live action movie The Borrowers. Plus a few other times on TV. So I didn’t think I’d ever see another version of the story. Arrietty is actually the first Studio Ghibli movie I saw that wasn’t directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Since I had a completely different reason to watch it. This is also the film debut of Spider-Man actor Tom Holland. Even though I didn’t watch the British dub. As the title suggests, Arrietty puts more of the focus on the borrowers spunky daughter Arrietty. All she wants to do is explore, but it’s a dangerous world out there. Unlike the previous adaptation, all the action is limited to one location. But what a lush beautiful location it is. The threat is also much smaller. Making Arrietty a far more personal retelling of Mary Norton’s classic story.
Arrietty in her little room
The Borrowers is the kind of movie I watched numerous times when I was a child. As it was a prominent part of my VHS collection. However, unlike most movies in my collection, I have no idea how we got it. I don’t recall seeing it in theaters, but we still ended up getting the movie. The Borrowers puts a unique spin on the miniature people genre. Where the people in question are already tiny. Borrowers are people that live inside a person’s house and “borrow” things that people won’t notice are missing. Being as small as they are, they need specially made miniature gadgets to get around. The Clock’s are a family of borrowers that have to stop a ruthless lawyer from demolishing their house. John Goodman makes for a fun and surprisingly physical villain. The Borrowers features impressive miniature effects that make their world feel huge. Since all the action isn’t limited to one location. This is also surprisingly the film debut of Draco Malfoy actor Tom Felton. Who plays a kid with red hair and a hand-me-down robe (must be a Weasley). Although most of the focus is on the borrowers spunky daughter Arrietty. Since she’s the one who befriends a (human) being. The Borrowers is a fun little adventure.
The Borrowers borrow
Don’t let the 2 fool you, Fright Night 2: New Blood is yet another rehash of Fright Night. How is it possible that this was made only 2 years after a movie that was already a remake? What was the bloody point? Especially considering it was direct-to-video. I don’t know how many times we can see Charley Brewster discovering vampires exist, his friend “Evil” turning, recruiting Peter Vincent, and rescuing his girlfriend. The difference this time is the setting is now Romania. Jerry Dandridge is now Gerri Dandridge. The only thing the gender swap does is give off more lesbian undertones. While the third version of Peter Vincent is now one of those reality show monster hunters. Fright Night 2 has nothing but unknown actors, cheap effects, and did I mention it was another remake. If not for its forced connection to the original, sequel, and remake, I would never have even considered seeing Fright Night 2.
Gerri bares her fangs
Preceded by: Fright Night (2011)
Fright Night (2011) is the completely unnecessary, yet somehow still good, remake of Fright Night. It’s at this point you really have to start questioning Hollywood when they start to remake movies from the 80’s. Though it’s possible Fright Night (2011) was only made because attractive vampires (such as Twilight and True Blood) were really big at the time. This version plays out mostly the same. Only with most of its scenes taking place at different points in the movie. For example, Charley’s friend “Evil” (who’s now his ex-friend) gets turned at the beginning instead of the end. There’s also more explanation on how someone like Charley ends up with a girlfriend like Amy. Charley’s mom also has a bigger presence. In order to modernize things, Peter Vincent is changed to a Chris Angel like gothic magician. Colin Farrell was born to play a vampire and his Jerry Dandridge is spot on. The same can be said for David Tennant’s Peter Vincent. Probably the only real problem would be its cheesy effects. Fright Night (2011) may be unnecessary, but its moody atmosphere and unpredictable delivery make it one worth checking out.
Amy turns into a vampire
Remake of: Fright Night (1985) & Followed by: Fright Night 2: New Blood
Fright Night Part 2 is just a shameless rehash of the first Fright Night. Heck, I didn’t know the movie existed, because nobody ever brings it up when talking about the original or remake. Even though Charley and Peter Vincent return for the sequel. Nobody else does though. Not even Charley’s very important girlfriend Amy returns. She’s instead replaced by a new girl named Alex. The new threat is the sister of the vampire from the first movie. Though she lacks the charisma that Jerry Dandrige had. Her entire performance is monotone. Together she, a vampire on rollerskates, a werewolf?, and a vampire who eats bugs attempt to turn Charley into a vampire. Even though he now believes there’s no such thing as vampires. Despite there being no other explanation. Fright Night Part 2 redoes pretty much every important scene from the original. From mirror reveal to sunlight death. Only with more cheesy vampire bowling. Fright Night Part 2 is just a pointless sequel that’s practically been forgotten. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to find on DVD.
Regine tries to bite Charley
Preceded by: Fright Night