Tarzan (1999)

(In French, On Blu-Ray, July 2015) For parents with Disney-addicted toddlers, there are a lot of familiar Disney-film elements in Tarzan: The jungle location, the animal characters, the dead parents, the musical numbers, the adaptation of a familiar tale… Fortunately, the way it all blends together is also classic Disney, which means that it works pretty well even when it’s following the rule book.  As an animated film, it does have the luxury of presenting much of Burroughs’ original story without compromises.  It certainly help that the animation is eye-popping, flawlessly integrating CGI environmental elements with traditional hand-drawn characters thanks to the vaunted “Deep Canvas” technology.  (In that, Tarzan shows its place in animation history – films completed two years earlier like Anastasia still had dodgy integration between the two animation methods, whereas Atlantis, two years later, would feature even more CGI elements well-integrated with the rest of the traditional animation.)  The three-dimensionality of some sequences is jaw-dropping (better than most live-action films), and the rest of the animation is as good as it ever gets.  Musically, the film is well-served by Phil Collins’ songs, with the “Two Worlds” anthem being instantly memorable.  (Interestingly enough, the French version also has Collins signing his own songs in French, although it’s obvious that he’s doing so phonetically, with a heavy accent peeking through.)  It all amounts to a pretty good adventure, albeit with a slightly weaker third act.  Still, it’s a pretty good example of late-era Disney 2D animation, aiming for the slightly older set of kids.

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