He was the most precious cargo of a plane, which crashed between two unseen mountains (blocked by clouds) and George was separated from his parents. While survivors of the crash searched for George, they were unable to find him. George would be raised by an ape named Ape, whom George considered a brother.
In the jungle, George is considered the king. While an extremely strong fighter, he can be somewhat inept and clumsy at times. He has a habit of crashing into trees when swinging on vines. As a result of being raised in the jungle, he has no experience with the modern world. According to the narrator, he is the defender of the innocent, protector of the weak and an all around good guy (a description lifted straight from the original cartoon).
The animated introduction reveals George's backstory as a survivor of an airplane crash. He would grow up in the African jungle. 25 years later, George is King of the Jungle, living in a treehouse with Ape. By this point, he also has a toucan named Tookie Tookie, and a pet elephant named Shep. Locals would come to believe legends of a "White Ape", who ruled the surrounding area.
One day, George comes across Ursula Stanhope, an American woman traveling through Africa. He fights off a lion threatening her, and brings her to his treehouse when she faints. George, having never seen a human woman before, believes her to be another "fellow", before being corrected by Ape. Meanwhile, her fiancé, Lyle Van de Groot, tells their tour guides that the White Ape has attacked him and kidnapped Ursula. While the group searches for Ursula, Ursula finds herself staying with George. George comes to fall in love with her, but initially tries to woo her using Ape mating techniques. While this fails, George wins her over with his charm.
After Ursula's fiance arrives, George is accidentally shot when Lyle's gun discharges. Lyle is charged with the crime and imprisoned, while Ursula brings George to San Francisco to receive medical care. After recovering (and getting clothing), George explores the city, and saves the life of a paraglider trapped in a bridge. Later George gives Ursula the courage to tell her parents that she no longer wishes to marry Lyle. However, her mother Beatrice refuses to accept this, wanting to have Ursula marry a wealthy man, and threatens to George to give Ursula up.
Soon after, George returns to Africa after learning that Ape has been captured by Max and Thor, poachers who had previously been hired by Lyle as trackers. After realizing that she loves George, Ursula follows. George manages to free Ape and defeat the poachers after many complications, including an agonizing tickle session, with the help of Ursula and his animal friends. However, Lyle reappears, having escaped prison and somehow become a licensed minister. He kidnaps Ursula and attempts to marry them both. However, George rescues her, and after Lyle comes out of a dark tunnel, he realizes that he has married an ape. George married Ursula and the two live together in the jungle. A year later, they have a son who inherits George's clumsiness, and show him to the land.
George and his son Junior ride in on Shep. When the narrator shows a surprise reaction of the actor playing George, the "new George" states that the studio is "too cheap to pay Brendan Fraser." George is currently in a situation where he isn't able to keep track of whether to help the animals, and to be with Ursula and Junior. George also wants to teach Jr. how to vine swing, but Jr. prefers vine surfing. George wanting to spend some time with Ursula doesn't impress some the animals including the Mean Lion, who wants the throne for himself.
Meanwhile, Ursula's mother, Beatrice Stanhope, and three of the Swahilian explorers from the previous film arrive for Junior's birthday. George gives his son a spear, while Beatrice has bought lots of expensive items, to coax Ursula and her son to come back to San Francisco. Secretly, Beatrice is in a plot with Lyle Van De Groot to steal the deed to Ape Mountain, in order to get Ursula as his wife. Their guess is that George's brother, Ape, who is gambling in Las Vegas, has the deed to Ape Mountain, so Lyle cheats in a game of poker, making Ape lose. Discovering Ape doesn't own the deed to the mountain, but George does, he makes Ape work off his debts from the gambling by working in his theatre for the next 17 years. Beatrice tries to convince George to let Ursula and Junior go back to the US, but he goes with them to see Ape in Las Vegas, leaving the Mean Lion to have the advantage to take over the jungle as the new king.
Lyle and his agents, Sally and Kowalski, break into George's room. They go through George's underwear. They almost give up after much searching, but eventually they find the deed. After several failed attempts by her mother and friends (who are also in plot with her) to convince Ursula to leave George and go back to San Francisco, they get a hypnotist to hypnotize her into forgetting George and thinking Lyle is her husband. As Lyle has the deed, he orders bulldozers to destroy the jungle. George, Ape, and Rocky the kangaroo attempt to find Ursula and Junior and take them back to the jungle. As Ape, George and Rocky try and escape to the Jungle. They encounter Sally and Kowalski who have come to capture them, the women attempt to capture them, holding them at gun point.
But Ape manages to disarm them and they make a run for it with a chase ensuing. Despite almost capturing George, an attendant stops the women by holding them down briefly giving Ape and George a chance to run for it. Thus they get away from the rather attractive two. After another chase involving animal patrol and the police happens on the roof, Lyle's women are searching an old granny instead of cranny. George finds Ursula, who doesn't recognize him due to the hypnotism. Junior and the others head back to the jungle (hiding, this time, in a bigger box, as George got advice from Brendan Fraser, who played George in the previous film). Lyle has sent his agents over already to destroy the jungle including his attractive but evil women.
After getting Shep to take them back to the treehouse, they find out that the Mean Lion has taken over, so George defeats him easily with something he learned when he was younger, pinching Lion's ear, which knocks him out. When George discovers the bulldozers heading through the jungle, he and the others fight by methods of catapulting coconuts and elephant feces (or "zug-zug") from palm trees, and igniting them by lighting gorilla farts. The final bulldozer is guarded by the two henchwomen, so coconuts aren't thrown at them as they can't hit women. The bulldozer is heading towards the treehouse, where Ursula is currently unconscious in a hammock. After George manages to climb on the bulldozer, he tries to reason with Sally but fails.Kowalski jumps over to try and help her colleague however for them this would prove to be a great mistake. With the women trying to get rid of George Rocky gets rid of the driver. Kowalski kicks George off the bulldozer but as they turn in to the bulldozer they look see Rocky. He kicks the two frightened women in the face which sends them flying across the jungle screaming! They eventually land in an open piece of land and Rocky hops along to face them.Rocky then proceeds to jump on the women's shoulders 5 times each, with them grunting and squealing in the process.Rocky then leaves the poor women buried in mud up to their breasts knocked out and unable to escape, thus defeating them for good! None of Lyle's accomplices are heard or seen again. Presumably dead or knocked out. Afterwards, Junior swings into the bulldozer and shuts it down before it hits the treehouse. Lyle and Beatrice arrive and tell George that they won't destroy the jungle and will give back the deed if he hands over Ursula and Junior, but George, after convincing from Ape, picks Lyle up and hangs him from a tree branch by his underwear. George kisses Ursula, thus breaking the hypnotic spell. Lyle, angered by his defeat, insults the narrator, who responds by pulling his giant hand from the sky, grabbing Lyle and carrying him off to the sky.
After Ursula's friends are snapped out of their hypnosis, George and Ursula get married again. George tells them from 9 til 5, he belongs to the animals, and from 5 til 9, he belongs to Junior, but at all times, he belongs to Ursula. The film ends with George vine surfing and Junior swinging back to the treehouse for lunch, before George crashes into the side of the treehouse when swinging.
- In the original cartoon, George's tiger pelt went over his shoulder and he sported black hair that was neatly combed back (ironically, the film version's appearance resembles his satirical source Tarzan). The George in the cartoon was also a lot dumber as he would fail to remember that Ursula was a woman and would even forget that he had a mate. His "heroic" endeavors were also the result of sheer dumb luck as opposed to any actual skill that the film version portrays.
- According to the Narrator, George is roughly 25 years old by the film's beginning.