Disney Marathon: ‘Tarzan’


We approached this one with the trepidation of ripping off a band-aid.

For those just joining us, this is a movie marathon with a twist. Myself (cranky 40 year old blogger), my son Josh (10 year old Nintendo obsessive) and my daughter Amelia (drama llama 8 year old princess) are watching Disney movies in a random order and ranking them. We hope to see interesting differences in how we organise our lists.

Film: Tarzan

Released: 1999

Director: Kevin Lima and Chris Buck

Cast: Brian Blessed, Tony Goldwyn, Minnie Driver, Glenn Close, Lance Henriksen, Nigel Hawthorne, Rosie O’Donnell, Wayne Knight

Plot: A young child is raised in the jungle by gorillas. With the appearance of more white people, Tarzan finds himself torn between two worlds.

Review: It’s amazing how much the soundtrack derails this movie. Disney leaned very heavily into the Phil Collins as auteur here, giving him free rein to put out an album attached to a Disney movie. Whether you like Phil Collins or not, his power ballads land at the most jarring time. Often the story comes to a grinding halt for these slow pans of scenery set to Phil Collins crooning. It really lowers the experience.

If that makes the movie sound padded out, that’s because it is. There are so many montages in place of storytelling. We get a montage of Tarzan’s parents learning to live in the jungle, Tarzan growing up among the apes, Tarzan getting to understand the white people’s culture…there seems to be an assumption that we’re going to lose interest if we’re not rushing to the next earnest Phil Collins ballad.

I struggle to find things to say about this movie because I always struggle to recall the details. There’s a penny farthing? And he can tie a complex bow? How we get from the first and final act is all a blur. Nothing really happens in this story. There are a couple of Disney movies that stand out for at least being unique, but Tarzan feels like a very safe attempt to replicate the success of the fading Disney renaissance.

Some of it is shockingly mishandled. Most of the casting is fine, but they cool and marketable to children role is given to Rosie O’Donnell. Ms. O’Donnell has many talents, but she’s not especially marketable to children. Her routine does not set well alongside the Actor Experience brought to the table by Brian Blessed and Nigel Hawthorne.

Best Song: eh…

Coolest Easter Egg: There’s a fine Mrs. Potts cameo, but that’s all we remember.

Weirdest Trivia: Brian Blessed provided the voice to the evil Clayton. When Tony Goldwyn couldn’t quite muster the signature Tarzan yell, Blessed stepped up to the plate.

Rating: THREE out of TEN

THE RANKING

ME

This movie was quite well received on release, but I’m not seeing it. It seems to have slipped out of public consciousness though.

Click those titles if you want to see what we said about the other movies.

  1. Zootopia
  2. Robin Hood
  3. Aladdin
  4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  5. The Lion King
  6. Wreck-It Ralph
  7. Alice in Wonderland
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. Moana
  10. Big Hero 6
  11. Lilo & Stitch
  12. The Great Mouse Detective
  13. The Little Mermaid
  14. Frozen
  15. Tangled
  16. The Sword in the Stone
  17. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  18. Enchanted
  19. Mulan
  20. Raya and the Last Dragon
  21. Cinderella
  22. Emperor’s New Groove
  23. Fantasia
  24. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  25. The Three Caballeros
  26. The Jungle Book
  27. Fun and Fancy Free
  28. Sleeping Beauty
  29. The Princess and the Frog
  30. Hercules
  31. The Rescuers
  32. Oliver & Company
  33. The Aristocats
  34. Saludos Amigos
  35. Home on the Range
  36. Bolt
  37. Dinosaur
  38. The Fox and the Hound
  39. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  40. Pocahontas
  41. A Goofy Movie
  42. Tarzan
  43. Fantasia 2000
  44. Treasure Planet
  45. The Wild
  46. Chicken Little

AMELIA

This was the second time Amelia has seen Tarzan. It wasn’t as good as she remembered.

  1. Raya and the Last Dragon
  2. Frozen
  3. Moana
  4. Tangled
  5. The Little Mermaid
  6. The Rescuers
  7. Emperor’s New Groove
  8. Zootopia
  9. Lilo & Stitch
  10. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  11. The Great Mouse Detective
  12. Home on the Range
  13. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  14. Mulan
  15. Hercules
  16. Alice in Wonderland
  17. Cinderella
  18. Wreck-It Ralph
  19. Bolt
  20. Pocahontas
  21. Enchanted
  22. Dinosaur
  23. The Aristocats
  24. The Princess and the Frog
  25. Robin Hood
  26. The Jungle Book
  27. Fantasia 2000
  28. The Lion King
  29. Beauty and the Beast
  30. The Three Caballeros
  31. The Fox and the Hound
  32. The Sword in the Stone
  33. Saludos Amigos
  34. Tarzan
  35. Oliver & Company
  36. Aladdin
  37. Treasure Planet
  38. Big Hero 6
  39. Fun and Fancy Free
  40. Sleeping Beauty
  41. A Goofy Movie
  42. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  43. Chicken Little
  44. Fantasia

JOSHUA

Josh didn’t engage with this one at all. He’s just discovered Greek mythology though, so he’s not interested in anything else right now.

  1. Zootopia
  2. Big Hero 6
  3. Raya and the Last Dragon
  4. Aladdin
  5. Emperor’s New Groove
  6. Treasure Planet
  7. Moana
  8. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  9. The Three Caballeros
  10. Saludos Amigos
  11. Wreck-It Ralph
  12. The Rescuers
  13. Frozen
  14. Mulan
  15. The Princess and the Frog
  16. The Lion King
  17. Lilo & Stitch
  18. The Jungle Book
  19. Robin Hood
  20. Bolt
  21. The Sword in the Stone
  22. Beauty and the Beast
  23. Oliver & Company
  24. Sleeping Beauty
  25. Tangled
  26. The Great Mouse Detective
  27. Cinderella
  28. The Little Mermaid
  29. Enchanted
  30. Home on the Range
  31. Pocahontas
  32. A Goofy Movie
  33. The Aristocats
  34. Fantasia
  35. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  36. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  37. Fun and Fancy Free
  38. The Fox and the Hound
  39. Fantasia 2000
  40. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  41. Dinosaur
  42. Hercules
  43. Tarzan
  44. Alice in Wonderland
  45. The Wild
  46. Chicken Little