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Tarzan Collector's Edition

review by Zach B.

 

 

Rated G

1 hours 28 minutes

With the voices of Tony Goldwyn, Minnie Driver, Glenn Close, Rosie O'Donnell, Nigel Hawthorne, Wayne Knight

Based on "Tarzan of the Apes" by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Written by Tab Murphy and Bob Tzudiker & Noni White

Directed by Kevin Lima and Chris Buck

 

Retail Price: 39.99

Features: Audio Commentary with Producer Bonnie Arnold and Directors Kevin Lima and Chris Buck, Trivia Game, Tarzan Read-Along, Sneek Peak at Disney's Dinosaur. History & Development: From Burroughs to Disney, Early Presentation Reel, Research Trip to Africa, History of Production. The Music of Tarzan: The Making of the Music, Tarzan Goes International, "You'll be in my Heart" and "Strangers Like Me" music videos, Studio Sessions with Phil Collins and 'N Sync (BAH!), Original Phil Collins Song Demos. Story and Editorial: Building the Story, Original Treatment, Storyboard to Film Comparison, Abandoned Sequences. Animation Production: Concept Art, Color Keys, Layouts and Backgrounds, Deep Canvas, Intercontinetal Filmmaking, Production Progression. The Characters of Tarzan: Tarzan, Jane and Porter, Kala and Kerchak, Tantor and Terk, Clayton and Sabor, Supporting Characters. Publicity: Poster/Ad Campaign, Three Trailers
DVD Rom: Tarzan Action Game Demo, Special Features

Specs: THX Certified, Digital Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer (Aspect Ratio 1:66:1), 5.0 Dolby Digital in English, Spanish and French, Chapter Search (36 Chapters), Descriptive TheaterVision™ for the Visually Imparied, English and Spanish Subtitles, Dual-Layer Format

 

 

In the summer of 99, Disney hit box office gold once again with their newest animated feature, Tarzan, based on the classic story by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Past summers, Disney did struggle a little with their animated features, they only made 100 million or a little bit over that sum. But with great animation, catchy music by Phil Collins and good voice acting, Disney did sort of redeem themselves, Tarzan made over 170 million at the box office. The film was also critically praised. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy the film, but I did find it lacking in some areas. I thought some characters needed a little more development, and I saw ways the story could have been a little bit more expanded. But my biggest complaint was that there could have been more conflict between two central characters: Tarzan and his ape father Kerchak.

Anywho, the story of Tarzan begins when two parents and a baby get off a burning boat wreck, and settle down in an African jungle. But a mean animal by the name of Sabor kills the baby's parents, as well as the young daughter of two ape parents. The mother ape parent, Kala, finds the baby, who is all alone, and is adopted into their ape tribe, but still not excepted by her husband, Kerchak. Yet soon it all clashes together when a few years later humans arrive in the jungle, who Tarzan makes friends with. That includes Jane and her father. But soon enough, Tarzan suffers an identity crisis. Who is he? What is he feeling? And with a ruthless villian named Clayton, who is a threat to his family, it's time for Tarzan to find his place.

The lesson of family and being who you are in Tarzan is very good, and like all Disney movies, all the values and morals are good. Though I did point out the parts I did dislike about the film earlier, there is still lots to like about it. The voice acting is very good, and the animation is Disney's best yet. With some parts created with the help of computers, there are some great angles and shots are breathtaking to look at. The music is great and I must say catchy. All the songs were written by Phil Collins, and, he was awarded an Oscar® for the song "You'll Be in my Heart". Mark Mancia's score is very nice, but not up to par with other Disney features like "The Lion King", but it does work on many levels and fits perfectly into the film. It is better then some of their recent features though, but either how, I really did enjoy it.

Tarzan is great family fare, and if you are the least bit interested in it and have not seen it, it is worth checking out.

 

Simply put: Perfect. This is another great reference disc. No scratches or artifacts whatsoever, all the colors and detail are vibrant and perfect. It's a marvel to look at and it's a digtial transfer too, plus it's anamorphic. Still, I did notice some slight pixelation during the "Trashing the Camp" scene, which is about halfway through the movie. But I believe this was the layer change, and only occurs for a second. Truly a top-notch transfer, all in the ratio of 1:66:1. It's THX too. WOOHOO!

 

You may have recalled in the standard DVD version of the film there was an audio problem on some of the discs. Thankfully, this has been corrected with this DVD. The mix is very nice, and it is needed. The chirps of the birds, the crashes, the various noises, without a good mix it's hard to watch the movie. But thankfully, it is a nice sound mix. Dialogue is clear too, and things are loud and ear-crackling. But for some reason, something feels missing in this mix, but I can't put my finger on it. The mix is Dolby Digital 5.0 in English, as well as French and Spanish. Also, there is "TheaterVision™", something I have heard of but never actually seen (well, heard before), and it is used if you are blind, I guess. It just describes the whole movie, so, if you can't see, this helps you imagine the movie quite a bit more.

 

Collector's Edition means many many features! While this disc does not cover so much new ground, because the whole layout is basically like the great A Bug's Life Collector's Edition. Even the booklet is the same layout (I guess this is how all Disney Collector's Edition booklets and discs are going to be). A very good majority of the features is about the whole making of the movie, all the process and techniques involved. Before I deeply go into that, let me tell you about the stuff about that is not so much about the making. On the first disc, there is the Tarzan Read-Along, basically a storybook which you can read yourself or have read to you. For the kids, basically. There is also a somewhat hard Trivia Game, Disney seems to be including these in all their animated discs now. Just for the record, I scored 13 out of 15 the first time I played. If you've seen Toy Story 2 in the theaters, then you have already seen the Sneek Peak at Disney's Dinosaur, which is the opening to Disney's summer 2000 spectacle. It has 2.0 sound and a stunnng transfer. On disc two, there is a publicity section featuring Posters, which is an ad campagin from all across the world advertising the movie (A Bug's Life did have a lot more of these, and in various langugaes too). There are also Three Trailers, each having 2.0 sound, two are full frame and one is widescreen. Also, there are some DVD ROM features. I haven't checked them out yet, but I know there is a Tarzan Action Game Demo (PC only) and some other stuff, I am assuming there is the usual Disney Blast stuff. Now, all the making of stuff! Back to disc one, there is an Audio Commentary with Producer Bonnie Arnold and Directors Kevin Lima and Chris Buck, which I have not listened to as of now, but I am sure they have lots of stories to tell. Disc two then features a few sections. The first is History & Development, which is a lot of pre-production stuff. From Burroughs to Disney is a short featurette about Tarzan and Burrough's grandson and the filmmakers/animators thoughts, an Early Presentation Reel showing storyboards, a Research Trip to Africa and History of Production. Then there is the very nice section, The Music of Tarzan. There is The Making of the Music, Tarzan Goes International where Phil Collins explains and showing him singing his songs in many many languages, the nice "You'll be in my Heart" and "Strangers Like Me" music videos and Studio Sessions with Phil Collins and 'N Sync (BAH!). But my favortie part of this section is the Original Phil Collins Song Demos. It's amazing how some of the songs were planned, and how the music was changed. The Story and Editorial part features Building the Story, the Original Treatment with the whole plot outline with some storyboards, the Storyboard to Film Comparison which is self explanitory, but very interesting to watch. An Abandoned Sequences part, there are only three and animated using storyboards, and you can see what they cut out before totally animating it. Were's almost done! Then comes Animation Production: with Concept Art, Color Keys, Layouts and Backgrounds, and the much talked about, computer oriented Deep Canvas process. Also is Intercontinetal Filmmaking, and Production Progression where for one scene you see the whole animation process come to life. Finally, there is The Characters of Tarzan, with designs and everything of Tarzan, Jane, Porter, Kala, Kerchak, Tantor, Terk, Clayton, Sabor and some Supporting Characters. And that is it! There is a lot of supplements here as you can see, all for a very nice retail tag of around forty bucks. But as I early mentioned, it's very similar to the previous "A Bug's Life Collector's Edition", and I said, I guess this is how Disney Collector's Editions will format now. It also seemed like the filmmakers of "A Bug's Life" were more involved with the DVD. But my biggest complaint is that a lot of the stuff is very short (according to the DVD itself, the second disc only runs about 86 minutes in total, a far cry of length from what the Bug's Life CE was timed at) and for some reason, I was really expecting more, maybe I got my hopes up too high for this one. Either way, there is a lot of stuff, and the menus are nicely done with the second disc too.

 

While I did find some weak points to this film, the DVD has a great transfer, very good sound mix and lots of stuff you'll spend some time to go through. Plus it's THX, and it shows! Though I wish a little bit more could have been done with the extra features, Tarzan Collector's Edition is truly worth it, especially since the standard DVD version is five dollars cheaper. If you're going to buy Tarzan on DVD, go with this version, especially with this pricepoint and comparison. And how can you go wrong with TheaterVision™!?

 

(4/5, NOT included in final score)

(5/5)

(4.5/5)

(4.5/5)

(4.5/5, NOT an average)

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