Tarzan 1999 ★★½

Released when Disney were on a steady decline, both commercially and creatively, Tarzan is a perfect illustration of where the studio was at the time. It is a film with beautiful animation and excellent art direction (the sinewy appearance of Tarzan and the fluid action is perfect) yet marred by a terrible sidekick and insipid songs.

Disney animated features have always worked to a formula, Tarzan is one of the last films of the late ‘90s to follow a formula that was looking very tired indeed. That formula being take a classic piece of literature, add a celebrity voiced sidekick and music from a popular musician. Sadly, where once they would attract talent like Robin Williams they are now lumbered with the likes of Rosie O’Donnell who kills every scene she is in. Whilst the hiring of Elton John may have led to The Lion King featuring some of the studio’s most iconic music they can’t repeat that success this time around. Even the biggest Phil Collins’ fans (I’m sure he must have some) must find his collection of songs here utterly forgettable. I’ve just finished watching the film and I can’t remember a single hook, melody or lyric let alone whole song.

At least the story rattles along at a good pace, the action is exciting and excellently choreographed and whilst the Tarzan-Jane relationship is perfunctory it serves its purpose. It’s just a shame the humour falls flat at every turn because with a better soundtrack and less annoying comic relief it might have been a good film.

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