Tarzan (1999)

The next installment in Disney’s stranglehold on children is strikingly beautiful in its fluid animation, color, picture, and at times true excitement. But again it’s just more of the same.

Despite its rich animation, the story is again the lacking problem ringing in Disney’s big ears. Every word and action falls under the strict Disney formula code, which is restraining imaginative thought more than helping it. But that’s what you gotta’ do I guess if you wanna’ sell a billion of Tickle me Tarzan merchandise.

The plot is like a ghost of what Burroughs’ novel was originally, but with the typical Disney formula points; there’s the hero suffering from an identity crisis wanting something more, the fawn-like love interest who will eventually fall in love with the only available white man in central Africa, the treacherous one-note villain, and of course the bumbling sidekicks with comic relief and one-liners of slapstick and amusement for the kids. None of this was in The Iron Giant and it still managed to be a great film. Can we at least drop some of the items on the list?

The movie can get overly pretentious at times with the hammering of the ideals that nature… good, animals… good, man… bad. I’ve heard it all before, do I need it set to Phil Collins’ monotonous radio-friendly pop songs as well now?

Despite some flaws and the worse villain in a Disney movie of recent memory (a poor man’s Gaston) it is still enjoyable and worthwhile even with the creative constraint of the Mickey Mouse. Sure it’s already made millions but for my money Mulan was better.

Nate’s Grade: C+

About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at PictureShowPundits.com (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on August 25, 1999, in 1999 Movies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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