Archive: Tarzan (1999) A Review

The launching of Disney+ has shown me just how many Disney Classics I have never seen.  So I started to remedy that, and not too shabby of a start either.

Certificate: U

Director: Chris Buck, Kevin Lima

Screenwriter: Tab Murphy, Bob Tzudiker

Starring: Tony Goldwyn, Minnie Driver, Brian Blessed

Genre: Animation, Adventure

Runtime: 88 Minutes

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

There have been many adaptions of this ape man love story over the years, and while I was partial to the Alexander Skaarsgard version (for it’s cinematic prowess obviously) but in terms of storytelling and emotional connection between characters, I am afraid to say that this film may out do it’s sexy, muscular counterpart.

The movie is about the life of Tarzan. Tarzan was a small orphan who was raised by an ape named Kala since he was a child. He believed that this was his family, but on an expedition Jane Porter is rescued by Tarzan. He then finds out that he’s human. Now Tarzan must make the decision as to which family he should belong to… – From IMDB

This was so stinking cute.  The entire thing.  From the very beginning, the film just oozed charm and emotion.  There are parts that are humorous, or sad or happy, and they are all don’t so very very well.  I have seen sense in films with real actors that don’t portray emotion this successfully.  Story wise, this has one of the most developed stories of the older Disney films.  With deep and complex characters with real problems, and who go through real development throughout the story, despite it being aimed for children.

You don’t get the jaunty tunes that we are used to from Disney films.  For the most part the characters don’t randomly burst into song at random times.  There is music, and it is topical, and reflects what is happening in the film.  But most of it is sung by Phil Collins and is mostly in the background. So that’s a bit discombobulating, but other then that, this may be one of my new favourite Disney Classics. 

It saddens me that twenty years later, the discussion around animal hunting and the trading of exotic animals is still an issue that we are facing now.  Especially as this film was set so far back in history and we have apparently learned nothing in that time.  So, adults will definitely see the sadness in that message, even if it goes over the heads of younger children.

It’s a well known story, and we all know how it goes, so it does sort of lose the element of surprise, but it is so damn enjoyable and so much fun, that I can forgive it it’s tiny flaws.  A great offering from Disney and one that I would highly recommend you spend some time with if you have access to Disney Plus.

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