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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by DanB-4 8 / 10

One of Disney's Best

The true measure of a family film is to watch a child's reaction. My (normally jumpy) three-year-old sat with enraptured glee through this movie and was able to articulate the plot back to me with amazing detail. That's not a parent's rambling, its a credit to a brilliant movie. Tarzan ranks just below Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid in the list of the best of Disney's new films.

Disney formula (rogue orphan, evil villain pretending to be a friend, whacky sidekick, neurotic friend and lots a snappy tunes) has never been more apparent, but it works perfectly. But the real joy of this movie is its breathtaking beauty and the message of living without prejudice.

Don't expect anything new from Disney, and do not expect a detailed retelling of the original novel. But do expect to see their product refined even further and at its best since Beauty and the Beast. This is a kid's movie, but any grown-up can like it. Minnie Driver and Wayne Knight provide the best voice overs.

As my six-year-old daughter told me once, "I like movies with scary beginnings, silly middles and happy endings." Needless to say, she loved Tarzan. **** out of ****.

Reviewed by Elswet 8 / 10

Excellent Disney fare. One of the best.

Okay. They rewrote the whole legend. But Disney has an unerring way of doing that. Anyone remember Pocahontas? They even changed Cinderella, Snow White, and every other Disney Masterpiece sitting on your shelves, so why does it matter that this, too, was changed?

It matters on several different levels, but the most important reason it matters is because Disney, in their positioning among the children's entertainment market, is in the unique position to actually teach these legends, these snippets of history, these morals and ethics, to the children of their audiences, rather than proffering sugar-coated, merchandized over-glorifications in exchange for the great American dollar.

That having been said, this is still an entertaining introduction to the legend, but I highly suggest "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes," (1984), directed by Hugh Hudson. It is the most faithful adaptation I've ever seen, and a highly enjoyable adventure, which carries a PG rating and is safe for most ages to view.

A lot has been said about the deep canvas effect used throughout the jungle scenes, and I must admit that I found the technique highly effective and extremely well done. I do computer graphics myself, and I was very impressed with the 3D effects throughout, including the water variants and textures used in the ship scenes, the fire effects used in the jungle, and the smoke effects from the guns used by the poachers. The textures and backgrounds were absolutely stunning, and for me, as a graphics artist, that's what I look for when I view a quality animation.

Very good endeavor.

It rates an 8/10 from...

the Fiend :.

Reviewed by Brian Orndorf 5 / 10

Mmmmmmm... Apey.

Animated Disney films always seem to be the same in hindsight. It's only when the directors get the inclination to try something bigger that the films achieve a legendary status. It's been ten years since this new Disney renaissance began with "The Little Mermaid", the new "Tarzan" represents exactly what is wrong and what is so very right with the Mouse House's approach to the animated features.

During these last ten years, the studio has learned what's worked, and what doesn't. Disney always plays it safe. The "Tarzan" opening is very similar to the mega-successful "The Lion King". They compress the entire backstory into a
10 minute opening, and it works like a charm. We all have to admit that Phil Collins hasn't done anything substantial in the last ten years as well, yet his songs for this new film are spot on. They narrate the film and guide the audience perfectly through this loose adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel. Having been weaned on poor character songs throughout the years, it's deliciously blasphemous to not have to sit through 5 or 6 god awful musical numbers that even the composers don't seem to like. It brings an unexpected freshness to this well-known material. With "Tarzan", Disney is taking on a character and story that has gone through countless adaptations. This animated approach seems to fit just right. By not having to rely on a physically impressive (but poorly expressive) actor, the animators have created the most believable Tarzan yet. He glides through the jungle with ease, dragging behind his the well worn knuckles of an ape-man. It's probably one of Disney's most impressive creations, even though it is one so renowned. Tony Goldwyn brings the voice of Tarzan to life with unexpected sweetness. While used sparingly, Goldwyn manages to capture the character with ease. I also enjoyed Minnie Driver's spunky voice for Jane, making her the most palatable animated heroine since Lady. Rosie O'Donnell is about as grating as you might suspect and Glenn Close is perfect as Tarzan's ape mother. It's the villain that Disney needs to work on. While watching "Tarzan" you can easily feel that the addition of the bad guy is superfluous. He's just there because the filmmakers think we can't go without it. They're dead wrong. The flick is filled with lush visuals (courtesy of the more prominent GCI work), grand music, and a strong story. We don't need forced conflict. The conflict within is what "Tarzan" is all about. The rogue brings the film down more than it should. Coming out of "Tarzan" I had feelings I haven't felt from a Disney production in some time. I was moved by the material, shockingly filled with emotion. I
came out of the theater humming the music, not an easy thing in the years of "Mulan" and "Hunchback". I also came out impressed that Disney might be making baby steps to a new and brighter future of animated films. I look forward to it. ------------ 7

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