Tarzan is another one that I enjoyed as a child but had not seen in many, many years. But other than the Sabor fight, and the scene with the gorillas in the camp making music, my fondest memory of Disney’s Tarzan had little to do with the movie. They were that I had a cousin that was obsessed with the soundtrack and it led her to buy almost the entire Phil Collins discography, and the fact that the PS ONE videogame was fucking hard (especially the levels where you had to run from the elephants and the one with the baboons). Now, watching after so many years became vivid once again. As for the movie, it is good, with some great stuff sprinkled throughout, but far from great.
There are a couple of things that kept the movie from being great. The first one is that they try to cram this epic story into 88 minutes. Disney had done this successfully in the past, but not here. In this movie they try to cover just about every aspect of Tarzan’s life and it doesn’t work with such a short running time. As a result, the development of other important characters, mainly Jane and Clayton, is almost non-existent.
The other big flaw of the movie is the Phil Collins overload. I like the guy as a musician, and I think “You’ll Be in My Heart” is a great song and it is put to good use in the film. But the rest of the songs were not needed at all. They made the already-cheesy montages even cheesier. They should have just expanded the score and use it for these scenes.
The rest of the parts of the movie vary from good to excellent. The good ones are the performances (nothing worth singling out, except maybe Glenn Close as Kala, Tarzan’s surrogate mom), and I do think that the directors did a great job with the rather poor script they had. As for the excellent, that would be the animation. New software was created to make the CG jungle look more realistic than one would expect in 2D animated movie. And it works. The CG doesn’t stand out like the scenes in Aladdin and The Rescuers Down Under. It is the most beautiful animation since Sleeping Beauty. Oh, and also, Sabor is one of the freakiest Disney villains.
Tarzan is a good movie, but not quite what I would have expected from the last film of the Disney renaissance.