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The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Film Review: Tarzan

Disney swings back into classic animation features

For the past few years Disney has tried to return to the creative talent of 'Little Mermaid', 'Beauty and the Beast', and 'The Lion King'. Pixar's 3-D Disney movies have shown that the Mouse Kingdom hasn't completely lost it, but their own animation has lacked an overall magic. Now the magic returns in Disney's latest animation feature 'Tarzan'. As most reviews of animated features say nowadays 'the movie is not just for kids but for adults as well' and with Tarzan I have to agree.

Tarzan the Disney cartoonThe film opens with a visually devastating shipwreck scene. Tarzan and his parents are the only survivors. The usually haunting dark side of the story is dispatched within the opening few minutes with Tarzan's parents dieing and the apes losing their own baby. Cue scenes of Tarzan growing up, trying to fit in with the apes and eventually meeting up with Jane. The usual romance finally blossoms, Tarzan finally wins the respect of his ape father and they all live happily every after - sort of. It's the usual Tarzan story but the fun and magic of this movie lies in the lushly rendered backgrounds; some nice solid "cartoon" characters (gone is the fake realism of Pocahontas, Hunchback); and the array of suitable vocal talent.

The vocal talent of this movie is the strong point. The movie isn't about what big name star is voicing the characters. I had to remind myself that Glenn Close was the female ape and there are other big names involved. But the star of the film has to be Minnie Driver's Jane. Driver gives a stunning performance and her improvisation scene (when she explains how she met Tarzan to her father) is great. I've heard some say that the villain, Clayton, isn't strong but he is not what the movie is about. The music? Even if you're not a fan of Phil Collins, you'll be humming the tunes when walking out of the cinema.

If you like animation, you'll adore this picture. If you don't like animation pictures, go see it, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

My final advice: grab a child; stuff their mouth with popcorn (to shut them up - or lock them in the toilet); sit back, relax and enjoy.

My post-movie thought: how does Tarzan manage to skid along the trees without ever getting a splinter?

Robert Lanigan

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