Projections - Movie Reviews


Writer Edgar Rice Burroughs always wanted his tale animated, and Disney does it up right with this excellent production.

An exciting beginning has mom, dad and baby Tarzan surviving a shipwreck, only to be attacked by a cheetah in their African tree house.  Little Tarzan is orphaned and adopted by a mother gorilla (voice by Glenn Close), who had lost her own baby to the same hungry cat.

The best thing about a Disney film is the human-like qualities that are given to the animal characters, and the younguns here are as funny and unpredictable as any child.

As Tarzan grows to be a young boy, he romps and wrestles and generally has a great time with a  mischievous young gorilla (energetically voiced by Rosie O'Donnell).  Their pranks are a constant source of frustration for the serious, scowling gorilla leader, Kerchak (voice by Lance Henriksen).

The lush jungle and waterfalls make for a great backdrop for the family of gorillas.  It also serves as a springboard for a growing Tarzan (adult voice by Tony Goldwin).  He swings and surfs on tree top vines, as his strength and agility increases.  He grows into a muscular man whose gait falls somewhere between human and ape; all the while Phil Collins sings high spirited, upbeat tunes in the background.

Tarzan is aware that he's different from the rest of his jungle family, so when he meets Jane and discovers there are more of his kind around, a sweet little romance develops.  Jane (voice by Minnie Driver) travels from England on expedition to study gorillas with her elderly father and macho guide, Clayton, who has more than observation on his mind.

Jane is drawn with a sharp up-turned nose and brown wispy hair.  Tarzan is a bundle of bulging muscles, deep set eyes and a chiseled nose.

A strong sense of responsibility and family, along with a good dose of fun comes out in Tarzan's story.  One of Disney's more action-packed films, it has thrills and adventure galore!

A Top Ten pick for 1999

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