"Tarzan: Special Edition"
DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)

    Tony Goldwyn as TARZAN
    Minnie Driver as JANE PORTER
    Glenn Close as KALA
    Brian Blessed as CLAYTON
    Nigel Hawthorne as PORTER
    Lance Henriksen as KERCHAK
    Rosie O’Donnell as TERK

    Rated G
    Studio: Disney

    Directed by: Chris Buck and Kevin Lima
    Back to DVD Review Home


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I’d never seen Disney’s “Tarzan” before I got this DVD. And that was kind of odd for me. I usually managed to catch all the major animated releases before this. Even after being disappointed with “Hercules,” caught up on the missed releases when I had kids. But I never saw “Tarzan.”

Maybe it was because I stumbled across the film on the Disney Channel once, right as they were starting the scat song in the middle led by Rosie O’Donnell and featuring ‘Nsync on the soundtrack.

Yup. That must have been it.

So, after I finished watching this film, I turned to my wife and told her this was like watching “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.”

For those who aren’t up on the “Star Wars” films, “Episode I” is reviled among many fans, mainly for two reasons: Jar Jar Binks and Jake Lloyd (who plays Anakin Skywalker). But I liked “Episode I” to a degree. Some things were pretty good – great, in fact. You couldn’t beat Darth Maul, and Liam Neeson was awesome.

I felt the same way about “Tarzan.” There were aspects to it that I kinda liked. I didn’t like them as much as I liked Darth Maul and Liam Neeson, but they were okay. However, this film had its own Jar Jar Binks to deal with: Rosie O’Donnell. If there ever was a reason to hate this film, you only have to look for her presence.

I cannot express the level of irritation I had with her. And for every plus this movie has, it’s her arrogant, screeching voice that made me really dislike this movie.

But even if you take Rosie O’Donnell out of the picture, I still had some issues. Having enjoyed Edgar Rice Burroughs’ original books, it felt sour to look at what they did to ruin the characters. Whenever they took liberties with the original source material, it was always a bad decision. We’re left with a film that preaches about evil hunters and wacko environmental policy.

Probably the best cinematic choice in this movie was to forgo having the characters sing songs, but use song more as a narration. And with Phil Collins as the voice behind those songs, things were pretty good. It paved the way for Phil Collins to be featured on the soundtrack of “Brother Bear,” an underrated animated Disney film that came out a few years back.

The DVD contains a decent selection of special features. There’s a filmmaker’s audio commentary and several deleted scenes, including an alternate opening. The new features that aren’t found on the original release include a music video with Everlife and another featuring Phil Collins and ‘Nsync.

The other special features include an installment of the Disneypedia, which teaches kids about the animals in the film. There’s also several set-top games, hosted by Turk. By the mercy of God, Rosie O’Donnell did not come back to voice her character, and that’s the only thing that makes Turk less annoying.

Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Original 5.0 theatrical soundtrack. Widescreen (1.66:1), enhanced for 16x9 televisions. French and Spanish language tracks. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.

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