Monday, July 14, 2014

Tarzan (Chris Buckand Kevin Lima, 1999) Review

Yes, I have been absent on this website for several weeks now but now that everything is out of the way, I can get back to film watching and reviewing! Huzzah! I still have another top ten list scheduled for 23rd August but, until then, let's get back to the reviews. It seems fitting that after my Disney list, my next review should be a Disney film. Sounds about right.

After being shipwrecked on an seemingly desert island, a couple face against a leopard labeled as Sabor only to meet their end after an attack. Their baby is left alone in their makeshift home and is taken in by a gorilla named Kala (Glenn Close). the baby, named Tarzan (Tony Goldwyn), grows up as one of the apes with his ape friend Terk (Rosie O'Donnell....that's a name I didn't want on this site) and an elephant named Tantor (Wayne Knight). Things get complicated when a group of human explorers arrive on an expedition to find wild apes. Tarzan saves a woman named Jane (Minnie Driver) who introduces him to her father (Nigel Hawthorne) and their bodyguard Clayton (Brian Blessed). As ne tries to teach Tarzan about human life, Clayton grows impatience and insists that Tarzan leads them to the apes for his own reasons.

There are two things that one comes to expect with an animated Disney film: wonderful animation and a strong soundtrack. Firstly, Tarzan does not disappoint with the animation as it continues the main aspect I loved about Aladdin and The Lion King's animation was the great lighting and colours. Their vibrant and stand out against the great backgrounds although, with Tarzan, its a bit more obvious that all the backgrounds are computer generated. I have to appreciate the new take of Tarzan's movement as he not only swings through the trees but is given much more ways of maneuvering such as grinding down branches and leaping from tree to tree. It looks great and is fun to watch.

The other big aspect is the music (or sound, since I'm going to talk about the voice acting too). Straying away from Disney norm, Tarzan uses non-diegetic music as Phil Collins provides songs rather than the characters themselves singing. In any other Disney film, this would be a disappointment but here it works because Tarzan is a much darker film in the Disney line-up so it wouldn't quite fit in. We have catchy songs and they don't ruin the tone. What's not to like...unless you don't like Phil Collins in which case, I'm sorry. Of course, we can't ignore BRIAN BLESSED! can we? The cast are just great. Yes, even Rosie O'Donnell...but Brian takes the cake because his booming voice has been asking to be animated and here we are!

Tarzan, while not Disney's strongest animated film, holds it's own very well. It's much darker in comparison to Disney's usual style but the lovely animation (mainly the lighting and the colours), strong voice acting and great take on the source material. It's worthy of being part of the Disney Renaissance but it's just a shame that it's the very last one of that era of Disney...god damn it Dinosaur.

Well animated (although those backgrounds are dated), well voiced and all around well put together.

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