Recommended for: All Ages
Filled with thrills, laughs, and Academy Award-winning music (Best Music, Original Song, "You'll Be In My Heart," 1999), this family favorite will make you go wild. Disney's magnificent adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' story begins deep within the jungle when baby Tarzan is adopted by a family of gorillas. But his "Two Worlds" collide with the arrival of humans, forcing Tarzan to choose between a "civilized" life with the beautiful Jane and the life he shares with his fun-loving friends and his gorilla family.
No, I didn't see Disney's Tarzan until I was 19. Yes, I absolutely loved it. It was fantastic. At one time (around the time I read The Jungle Book) I had a fascination with the concept of human children raised by animals, and watching Tarzan reminded me of that phase. I love the story, I love the songs, which I already knew thanks to Pandora, and it's a movie I can highly recommend for young and old.
It's an animated movie, obviously, but the animation is well done. The voice acting was good, the songs all suited the part of the movie in which they were featured, and it was just all round well done.
Well, no, it's not completely realistic. I have my doubts a gorilla would be able to raise a human child. And that an elephant would be paranoid about germs and piranhas. But the types of animals which were around was accurate to the setting. The costuming all seemed to fit within the same time period, rather than jumping about to various eras. And, hey, the jungle is pretty neat. Plus there was the cameo appearance of Mrs. Potts and Chip in Jane's camp that got us all excited.
Now, a complaint I would have is that I would have liked to see more of Tarzan learning about humans, as it is all montaged during the song "Strangers Like Me" (a song I love). But I suspect that the book (which is now sitting on my kindle along with 55 other unread books) goes into more detail. I do very much love the storyline. And it is actually quite complex with several layers of conflict. There is Tarzan trying to fit in with the gorillas, which is difficult since Kerchak, the lead gorilla who is kind of scary, disapproves. There is the threat of Sabor, the leopard, who killed Tarzan's parents, Kala's real baby, and continues to terrorize the island. Then there is Clayton, the guide of Jane and her father, who has a deeper, nefarious reason for seeking out the gorillas. And there is then the romance angle. All of these plots are seamlessly woven together in a story that is more complex than the average kids' movie, but still simple enough for a toddler to follow along. It really is the type of story that can appeal to all ages. It left me wanting more about Tarzan and Jane, and I'm looking forward to reading the book.
Character Development: 4.5/5
I came to love these characters easily, particularly Tarzan and Jane, of course. While I wouldn't say they're exactly the most amazingly, intricately developed characters I've encountered in fiction, I would say they are far more than sufficiently developed. Maybe it's just that I like the concept of a human raised by animals. But it was so interesting to see someone discovering things that we would take for granted, just as it was delightful to see Jane's love for sharing it with him. And I liked Jane. She's feminine, but adventurous, and I appreciate that. The villains were properly scary without being evil without reason, well, maybe except Sabor. An animal like that doesn't need a motive to act that way.
Disney's Tarzan is a good movie. It's family friendly, while being deep enough and complex enough for adults. It's also on Netflix right now, so easy access if you have Netflix. Great movie.