MOVIE REVIEW: “Tarzan” is voiced by Tony Goldwyn (The Last Samurai, King Richard), Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting, Circle of Friends), Glenn Close (Guardians of the Galaxy, Fatal Attraction), Brian Blessed (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Flash Gordon), Rosie O’Donnell (A League of Their Own, Sleepless in Seattle), Wayne Knight (Jurassic Park, My Favorite Martian ), Nigel Hawthorne (The Madness of King George, Demolition Man), and Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Hard Target). It is directed by Chris Buck (Frozen, Surf’s Up) and Kevin Lima (A Goofy Movie, Enchanted), with the screenplay being written by Tab Murphy (The Hunchback of Notre Dame , Brother Bear), Bob Tzudiker (Anastasia , 102 Dalmatians), and Noni White (Newsies, Anastasia ).
A man raised by gorillas on a distant island has his world turned upside down when a group of explorers and scientists arrive.
This review should’ve happened years ago. Because if there is one definitive film of my childhood, it’s Disney’s “Tarzan.”
No, I didn’t include this one on the Walk Down Nostalgia Lane series. Why? I figured that, at some point, I’d review the entire catalogue of Disney’s “renaissance era” pictures. From “The Little Mermaid” to “Tarzan” (though I would argue that “Emperor’s New Groove” belongs on this list). However, being that I have so few months left in the year and I am incredibly busy, I doubt I’ll get around to that marathon. So, here comes the man in loin cloth!
This movie is a gem. Truly. Riddled in its fun, heartwarming narrative are action-packed sequences, lovable moments, and a legendary Phil Collins soundtrack that blows all other Disney soundtracks out of the water (and that’s a fact). I mean, seriously guys: Phil Collins made this movie. I would listen to the soundtrack just to have something to bop to. And “You’ll Be in My Heart” has been my mom and I’s song since the film’s release (as it is for other mothers and sons, as it has played at various weddings I’ve attended). It made me tear up listening to it this go-around because this movie oozes with sentimentality and nostalgia. Something I absolutely needed during the night I chose to watch it.
Of course, it’s safe to say that this review is biased. I won’t deny that. “Tarzan” is my favorite Disney movie, and for many reasons. The animation in this is fantastic. Combining both 2D and 3D animation elements, the animators behind this behemoth pulled together something visually stunning. Seeing Tarzan (Goldwyn) glide across various branches and vines is too awesome, especially when you pair it with a killer Collins track. The look and feel of this picture is fun, taking us through a jungle environment fit with gorillas, jaguars, and elephants. And the story that mends all of this is powerful.
I love the themes illustrated in Tarzan. Particularly the one that dives into what makes a family. The relationship of Tarzan and his gorilla mom Kala (Close) is the heart of this picture, only to be followed by the romance between Tarzan and Jane (Driver). Watching this again after so many years brought a new light, as my family has since adopted two kids into our dynamic, both from different countries. Seeing Tarzan’s struggles of fitting in brought great perspective, and it drew me in more to the story at hand. Sure, not many people will draw into this as strongly; I don’t expect you to. But the core of “Tarzan” is undeniably soul-satisfying.
Stepping outside of my bias for a moment, I will say it’s not perfect. The final act is hastened (as is the case with a lot of childhood flicks) and it’s quite short. There’s not a whole lot of time given to secondary characters or in-between moments, but the structure is tight enough to keep things entertaining.
Revisiting this childhood classic brought me great joy. What I loved about it still retained its worth, offering a night of escapism I needed. The humor given by Tantar (Knight) and Turk (O’Donnell) is too good, the themes hit home, and the music steals the show. It’s a beautiful piece of animated cinema that I highly recommend. FINAL SCORE: 95%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
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