With as much history as Tarzan has had besides the Disney movie there have only been two other movies based on the character by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes from 1999 to cash in on the Disney movie releasing that same year since it was based on a public domain character and one in 2013 capitalizing on the 3D fad and the centennial celebration of Tarzan, surprising to see the only major release for Tarzan’s 100th birthday. Both tell the origin of Tarzan, both were considered cheap cash-ins at the time of their release and both got reviewed badly. New to Tarzan I’ll be able to check these movies out with fresh eyes to learn more about this character.
Tarzan of the Apes 1999: Enchanted Tales
I had pretty low expectations for this and I was surprised by how decent it is, unlike the Disney version this Tarzan movie has songs and musical acts. We get a full origin story with Tarzan’s parents being robbed by Pirates and landing in an unknown place before they get sick and die. The cartoon doesn’t shy from the concepts of death and loss. We get the full origin story even with a Mufasa like Lion on Lion’s pride, suck it Disney. The movie looks like an early 90s cartoon so it isn’t terrible to look at either, in fact I think as an animated show it could’ve been a good show.
We get multi-colored chimpanzees and ape wars as well, not to mention Tarzan steals a bow from a nearby tribe. Jane is blonde here and comes with her family, they have a weird quick romance and I believe it. Tarzan gets an Ape enemy and Tarzan fights him, all of this is rushed quickly since the movie is less than 50 minutes and Tarzan still saves someone from the natives to end up with Jane with that we get an ending of the origin of Tarzan, quick, to the point, with details. Catchy music, rushed even the ending credits have al original animation since there wasn’t enough time in the actual movie runtime but it works, Awesome. Where is the animated show for this?
Tarzan 3D: The Legend Starts Here 2013
We get dinosaurs and the meteor, already to a good start but origin confirmed to be very different since they’re actually in search for the meteor that killed the dinosaurs. The CG faces look odd but in a real humans have odd faces and while the CG is not “traditionally” pretty I don’t think it has the same boring lifeless cookie cutter Pixar look most CGi movies have had during the 2010s and even before that. In fact it strays pretty far but in a way it’s not a bad new origin albeit a bit unnecessary with all the extra drama it has. All of this happens in the first 20 minutes which is fast for so much information just not as fast as the previous movie.
The narrator stays for quite a while since we mov eon to a more present time with a mjch older Tarzan but still relatively young that meets Jane and encounters the plane of his parents. He starts getting depressed and confused about who he is and if you ever wanted some psychological scars in a Tarzan movie well this film has got it covered. We then flashforward to when he is an actual adult and Jane is in there once again, this time more mentally stable
After that we get some cool jungle action where we explore cool looking places, no real threat or anything , just random exploration with the implication that Jane’s business partner is a bad guy. Jane here is blonde with a cute enough design and interesting enough motives through out. The lips of the characters are generally weird since it wasn’t made as an English film. I’m hoping that in its original language German the lips make more sense.
The meteor storyline is ok, glad they still find a way to get the rival primate storyline in despite this. The final battle doesn’t feel as important despite the whole meteor power they set-up since he beginning of the movie and yet it’s fine since not every movie needs to have this unbeatable big bad to overcome the odds. It can be something of a smaller scale, and the stakes were big because of the meteor after all.
Overall I had high expectations despite the bad reviews and it didn’t quite reach them but it was still a good enough Tarzan movie that deserves more attention, it’s not a superhero movie but it’s good. Unlike the 1999 movie which I had low expectations and it exceeded them since it did a lot with what it had. These are two Tarzan stories that any newcomer can enjoy and I’m glad I was able to watch them.