Tarzan

on June 16, 1999 by Annlee Ellingson
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   Disney continues to push the envelope-in animation and in content-in this adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' popular novel.
   Orphaned as a baby and raised by gorillas in the African jungle-there's nothing cuter than monkeys and babies, after all-Tarzan (voiced by Tony Goldwyn) knows nothing of his human relatives. His ape buddies call him the "hairless wonder" and dare him to keep up with them. Kerchak (Lance Henriksen), the silverback who heads the politically correct gorilla family group, refuses to accept him as a son. So Tarzan resolves to be the best ape ever, evolving into a human-ape hybrid: a swinger who puts Austin Powers to shame yet develops tools for hunting and shelter.
   Eventually, however, a trio of explorers discovers Tarzan. Porter (Nigel Hawthorne) and his daughter Jane (Minnie Driver) seek only to broaden their zoological knowledge, but their guide Clayton (Brian Blessed) has more lucrative goals in mind. Kerchak forbids Tarzan from introducing the humans to his gorilla family, but the threat of losing Jane just as their love begins to blossom entices him to disobey. Ultimately, Tarzan comes to realize who his real family was all along.
   Once again Disney has assembled an impressive roster of voice talent. Henriksen particularly captures Kerchak's intensity and integrity, and whether you love her or hate her, kid-friendly Rosie O'Donnell provides appropriate comic relief as Tarzan's best friend Terk.
   Likewise, Disney has once again reached new heights in animation art. The camera zooms after Tarzan as he races through the dense foliage of the jungle and settles on brilliant landscapes when he stops for a rest. Like "Mulan" before it, this film, simply put, is beautiful.
   But just as Disney animation has become increasingly impressive, so have Disney animated films become increasingly adult. While nothing is explicitly shown, a jungle cat kills not only Tarzan's parents but also a baby gorilla, and another character sees a violent demise at the end of a rope. The filmmakers were careful to retain Disney's traditional G rating, but that doesn't mean that "Tarzan" isn't too scary for your kids.    Voiced by Tony Goldwyn, Glenn Close, Rosie O'Donnell, Minnie Driver, Nigel Hawthorne, Brian Blessed, Wayne Knight, Alex D. Linz and Lance Henriksen. Directed by Chris Buck and Kevin Lima. Written by Tab Murphy. Produced by Bonnie Arnold. A Buena Vista release. Animated. Rated G. Running time: 89 min.
Tags: Voiced by Tony Goldwyn, Glenn Close, Rosie O'Donnell, Minnie Driver, Nigel Hawthorne, Brian Blessed, Wayne Knight, Alex D. Linz and Lance Henriksen. Directed by Chris Buck and Kevin Lima, Written by Tab Murphy, Produced by Bonnie Arnold, Buena Vista, Animated, human-age, ape, love, comic
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