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RUNNING TIME: 88 Minutes
• Deleted Scenes/Alternate Opening
• Commentary by producer Bonnie Arnold, directors Chris Buck, Kevin Lima
• Music Videos featuring Phil Collins, ‘N Sync, Everlife
• DisneyPedia: Living in the Jungle educational featurette
• Three games playable w/ remote
"Oh, damn it. The only thing we haven’t done yet is Tarzan."
Tony Goldwyn, Minnie Driver, Glenn Close, Brian Blessed, Lance Henriksen, Rosie O’Donnell, Wayne Knight, a Partridge, and a Pear Tree.
Really the last great hurrah from the Disney 2D animation studios, Tarzan is the story of a young English boy who is marooned in remotest
In Disney’s version of the story, a bumbling professor named Porter has ventured into the African jungle, along with his daughter Jane, to study gorillas. They are accompanied by Clayton, their muscle-bound guide whose intentions regarding the gorillas are suspect (but not that difficult to decipher, seeing as how the first thing he does when he hears the word "gorilla" is fire his rifle blindly into the underbrush).
It’s a small world in the jungle, so Tarzan meets up with Porters, and is immediately exposed to both the best and worst humanity has to offer, as well as helping to popularize the new tree-surfing craze.
Monkey see, monkey do.
Disney does their typically fine job with this DVD, though the film has seen release in the format once already. This release adds a brand new Dolby digital 5.1 track, in addition to the theatrical 5.0 track. The aspect ratio is the original 1.66:1 with a beautiful, smooth transfer that actually improves upon the color of the first DVD release.
The bonuses are kind of skimpy. There is a feature commentary with producer Bonnie Arnold, and directors Chris Buck and Kevin Lima.
Other bonuses include a set of music videos (featuring Phil Collins, ‘N Sync, and Disney-channel favorites Everlife). There is a section of simple games that can be played using your DVD remote, as well as a "DisneyPedia" childrens’ reference to jungle ecology.
This reviewer’s vote for best single shot from a Disney movie, ever.
It’s hard not to be conflicted about Tarzan. On the one hand, it’s a fantastic story, which has been ripe for adaptation by the House of Mouse ever since Edgar Rice Burroughs himself wrote to the studio to suggest the same. On the other hand, it’s features a piss-poor plot. Back on the first hand, the animation quality is among the best their 2D studios have produced, both in character animation and in backgrounds. Returning to the second hand, the music (both the score and Phil Collins original songs) are atrocious and never fail to kill the aim.
I have a theory regarding that last point. It is that the filmmakers saw the potential for their movie to become decidedly more dark than their target audience could handle, and brought in Phil Collins to tone things down again. His songs are distracting, and feature such banal lyrics as to stick the mind into a state of cognitive dissonance when compared to the almost-mature themes appearing on screen.
The voice work is top notch on all fronts, but the dialogue slots into a plot that meanders needlessly and wastes too much time giving the characters any sort of motivation. Clayton, the villain, gets the larger portion of the shaft in this; his goal of kidnapping the gorillas is implied, but left alone, for over half the film’s running time, and then when he finally gets around to declaring his evil plot, which consists of kidnapping gorillas, it takes additional time to get to his explanation for why he wants to kidnap gorillas. The three acts are hammered together with only character threads to stitch them in place, and it doesn’t work well.
It’s a Disney flick with a visual quality that’s unmatched and a darker tone than many (though you just can’t beat The Rescuers) but it’s a bad sign when a skimpy running time is barely justified.
6 out of 10