6 out of 10


King of The Commercial Jungle

The central problem with a story about a child brought up by the apes is that whilst there’s plenty enough to merchandise in a jungle, there’s only so much that can be done with characters in a lush green wilderness, other than boy meets girl so Disney concentrate on Tarzan’s early life with their stock-line plot of misfit youth comes to terms with his place in the tribe. In two senses, the film does break away from commercialism that so stilts Disney products. Firstly, in their films, characters regularly break into song at the most inopportune moments, for "there’s gold in them thar notes". Uniquely, this is not a problem here, thanks to Phil Collins who has produced such a tuneless and forgettable musical score, you barely even notice even while you watch it, and Disney don’t stand a snowball’s chance of marketing it.

Secondly, Disney has built on its achievements in "Aladdin" in terms of computer-aided animation. The dynamics of movement are well beyond anything I’ve seen before. Furthermore, despite a weird anatomy where his foot is bigger than his head (based, I guess, on Disney’s Board of Director’s own) and his heart on the wrong side of his body, Tarzan (voice by Tony Goldwyn) and his deliciously cute girlfriend, Jane (voice by Minnie Driver) are highly credible.

Regrettably, though, old habits die hard, and Disney slip back into their rut with one-dimensional supporting characters with little relevance to the story and who have clearly been created as the basis for money-spinning spin-offs. Despite all the hard work, yet again, it remains largely nullified by the dead hand of Disney’s set formula.

Not totally spoilt by the merchandising

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett