Consolidating the computer-aided advances in 'deep focus' cel animation made in Beauty and the Beast and elsewhere, the directors of this animated Disney version of the Tarzan novels have produced a remarkably fluid, dynamic visual style, climaxing in the prehensile Tarzan's joyous flights through the jungle. Though the greater muscular definition of Tarzan has the effect of sexualising his image, the film otherwise makes little or no play with any erotic subtext, while stepping back also from postmodern wordplay and parody. Storywise, it's a far cry from Edgar Rice Burroughs. Tarzan's aristo background is ignored. Jane is thoroughly modern, arriving with personifications of colonial good and evil: her sympathetic naturalist father and the dastardly Clayton, who blackmails Tarzan into betraying his adopted family to save Jane.
What makes the mind boggle is the application of PC to inter-species relationships. Gorilla Kala insists on saving the shipwrecked orphan against the wishes of her husband, and the early scenes of Tarzan growing up thus become an extended (and intriguingly absurd) examination of prejudice, difference and belonging. Bucking the trend, also, is the use of Phil Collins' songs as accompaniment rather than as sung musical set-pieces. No classic, but very enjoyable.
Cast and crew
|Director:||Chris Buck, Kevin Lima|
|Screenwriter:||Tab Murphy, Noni White, Bob Tzudiker|