Tarzan and his Teen Troubles
When their boat catches fire and begins to sink a couple and their little baby abandon ship and come to rest on a remote island were they set about building themselves a home up in the trees. But one day a wild cat attacks killing the couple but leaving the baby who is discovered by a female gorilla who has been in mourning since the death of her own child. Despite the objections of the gorilla chief the female gorilla raises the baby as her own, giving him the name Tarzan. Tarzan grows up to be an athletic man well aware that he is different to those around him which gets him down. That is until a jungle exploration brings humans and in particular Jane into the vicinity who Tarzan finds himself falling for after saving her from some angry animals.
Those who come to The Movie Scene often are likely to know that one I am not the hugest of fans when it comes to animations but also that I am also sceptical when I come across any movie which is rated highly on a certain popular movie information site. So you can imagine how sceptical I felt when I decided to watch Disney's "Tarzan" and saw how highly rated it is. But here is the thing as a reviewer I take notes watching a movie and found myself having to force myself to do my job as I just became immersed in this wonderfully entertaining and beautifully drawn cartoon. Within minutes of it starting I could see why it was rated so highly with a brilliant opening which featured not only impressive visuals of a burning boat but also the Phil Collins soundtrack.
Now of course this is a Disney movie and whilst it is clear to see that it has been based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' original "Tarzan" the 20 plus writers have used the original story to create something aimed at the younger market with part of the movie focusing on the young Tarzan. We get introduced to a variety of amusing characters and animal friends as young Tarzan swings through the trees, skip over crocodiles and gets up to all sorts of mischief. But what we also get is Tarzan struggling with feeling different to those around him, which lets be honest, is the perfect theme for a movie aimed at young children. Of course there is also the love story which arrives with the arrival of Jane but it is the obligatory element, the Disney cliche which in fair do's is nice but is nothing special.
In truth Disney's "Tarzan" works because it is familiar but with some enjoyable new ideas as it focuses on the young Tarzan for a while. It also has the Phil Collins soundtrack which I must admit that as a fan of Collins I prefer to the Elton John soundtracks which featured in Disney animations. And it has great animations which draw you in right from the word go and never lets you go. The detail is spectacular and the scene where the mother gorilla comes across the baby is amazing right down to the animators including how the gorilla's body interferes with the ray of light coming in to the room causing the dust in the air to be shadowed.
What this all boils down to is that Disney's "Tarzan" is something quite special as I constantly found myself drawn into the story, animations and humour even though I should have stopped watching children's cartoons many years ago.