Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Tarzan and Jane (2002)
Plot: It's been a year since Tarzan and Jane have gotten married. Jane wants to secretly surprise Tarzan with a party to celebrate their marriage, but Tantor and Terk, try to convince her otherwise by reminding her of some of the adventures she and Tarzan have experienced. The first is a story about Jane's friends from London coming to the jungle and wanting to make Tarzan act civilized, the second is about two men convince Tarzan to lead them to a cave of diamond, and the third one is about Tarzan getting jealous when a childhood friend visits Jane.
Tarzan and Jane might be one of the cheesiest direct to DVD Disney sequels I have ever seen. There are one or two things I do like about it and it did start the Tarzan animated series which was a decent show, but for what it is, it's so cheesy and so boring that is probably one of the least interesting Disney sequels that I have seen.
What makes this sequel so unbearably corny are the stories themselves. It probably goes without saying that it's clearly not even really a coherent story worthy of a full length movie given that it's just three stories of together just like with Cinderella II and Atlantis 2: Milo's Return which I'll get more into with those two some other time, but man are the stories themselves cliche. At first I couldn't even get past the first 10 minutes of this movie just because I could tell very quickly what was going to happen in the first story and I really did not want to go through that. The other two stories fell pretty hard into the line of being boring and predictable - especially the third story which has a big misunderstanding thing going on between Tarzan and Jane and it's as dumb as it sounds. I think the most annoying thing about all three stories is that the one thing they all have in common is there is always a conflict between Tarzan and Jane over how much Tarzan should try to give up or try to adapt into the ways of Jane's old life. Now don't get me wrong, the concept of that is good and I'm sure somewhere there's some interesting stories that Disney could have done, but the way they do it here is so predictable and uninteresting that it's hard to really pay attention.
The animation is obviously a major downgrade from the first film. The first movie was so creative with Tarzan swinging and surfing vines and has all these quick moves, but here, you can tell that they're trying to keep into the spirit of it, but it's just not the same. This is also a shame because some of the stunts that Tarzan pulls in this movie like escaping an erupted volcano could have come out really cool to see if they had the right budget.
Speaking of the original film some more, I'm just going to say it; where in the world is Kala? I mean yes, she briefly appears without a line at the very end of the movie, but why does she not have a leading role in this movie? Or even the show for that matter? I know that the title is Tarzan and Jane, but I get the feeling both this film and the TV show make Karla completely disappear along with the rest of the Apes. I guess that's kind of a bother for me because in my mind, I often viewed the first movie as partly a mother and son story. It did have all the adventures with Tarzan being conflicted with being half man and half ape and things like that, but it always seemed to come back also being a story about a mother and a son and what they're going through together. So with that in mind, I find it a little concerning that Kala has almost no part whatsoever in Tarzan and Jane or the show. I'm not saying that the focus shouldn't still be on primarily Tarzan, Jane, the professor, Tantor and Terk, but shouldn't we see Kala every now and then? Isn't he supposed to take care of the apes after Kerchak's death? I also say this because when I was a kid, I remember seeing music videos advertising this movie that lead me to believe that it was going to be about Kala and the apes accepting Jane as part of the family. I guess to me that is so much more interesting than anything this film gave instead.
If I have anything legitimately positive to say about the movie, I will say that I liked Jane's role. While none of the original voice actors come back and most of their replacements sound a little off, the voice actress who replaced Minnie Driver gives her own energy to it. I also really like the moments where she shows that she's braver and more accustomed to the ways of the jungle than she was in the first film. The first story contains her and her friends ending up lost int he jungle and she just does all these things that disgust her friends but she's like "we're doing this or we're going to die. Simple as that." That was nice to see. There's also moments where she tries to be a little more like Tarzan like surfing vines or trying to help him against a panther or something.
And that's my review for Tarzan and Jane. I liked watching Jane herself, but the plot is as cheesy and predictable as you can get, the animation is not as good as the original, and I think it would've worked better if it was more about Jane and Kala more than any of the stories they're telling here. At the very least it lead to the TV series which like I said was decent, but on the whole, I would definitely skip this.