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Walt Disney Home Video presents
Tarzan II (2005)

"Mom, where are you?"
- Tarzan (Harrison Chad)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: June 14, 2005

Stars: Glenn Close, George Carlin
Other Stars: Brad Garrett
Director: Brian Smith

MPAA Rating: G for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:11m:05s
Release Date: June 14, 2005
UPC: 786936189360
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C- C-B+B C

DVD Review

I figured Disney's direct-to-DVD sequel madness would have died down by now. But the House of Mouse seems to be content keeping these—and many of their other animated features—going straight to the shiny disc and out of theaters. The key to these sequels' success compared to the lack of popularity of other genre's direct-to-DVD entries is their target audience: small children. You see, these kids could care less about seeing their favorite, loveable (usually animal) characters on the big screen. As long as the Aladdins and Stitchs of the world are around, the entertainment world is great.

The latest of these Disney debacles is Tarzan II, a sequel to the 1999 animated blockbuster that was quite entertaining for the entire family. This new film's first misstep is evident right away; Tarzan is now a little kid. While this alone wouldn't normally alienate the adult audience, the first few minutes indicate that the story is aimed only at the youngsters.

We first see the young ape man (voiced by Harrison Chad) frolicking with his friends Terk (Brenda Grate) the gorilla and Tantor (Harrison Fahn) the red elephant. It seems that Tarzan's family isn't too happy with him since he has repeatedly endangered them with his wild behavior. When Tarzan is separated from his ape mother Kala (Glenn Close, reviving her role from Disney's original Tarzan) after another prank, he sneaks back and sees how glad the other apes are that he's gone.

Upset, Tarzan decides to really leave his family, going off on his own and meeting a gorilla family. This bumbling bunch of gorillas leads Tarzan to Dark Mountain, in habited by the old hermit Zugor (George Carlin), which could change the young boy's outlook on life. Meanwhile, Tantor and Terk decide to search for Tarzan, convinced that he's still alive.

The voice work is just fine, with young Harrison Chad being one of the film's few bright spots, sounding very mature for his age. Glenn Close is great, as always, and the incomparable George Carlin does a fine job, but Brad Garrett's shtick as Uto gets old real fast.

The bottom line is that, as with so many other Disney DTD sequels, the new film doesn't even come close to being as entertaining as the original. Sure, the original songs by Phil Collins (who also provided the music for Tarzan) may be a selling point for some, but the far inferior animation and sit-com-like storyline cheapened the experience far too much for my tastes.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation looks excellent, despite the non-theatrical look of the animation. Colors are rich and bold, while each image is sharp as a tack. Some of the computer-generated images don't mesh particularly well with the hand-drawn items, but chalk this up to the inherent nature of direct-to-DVD films.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, Frenchyes
DTSEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Both a Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS track are available, with the latter getting the slight edge over the former, due to wider dynamic range and a stronger bass presence. Phil Collins' songs sounded quite good in both mixes, benefiting from ample use of the surrounds. Dialogue comes across well in both audio options, blending in perfectly with all aspects of the audio.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
7 Other Trailer(s) featuring Cinderella: Special Edition, Chicken Little, Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch has a Glitch, Pooh's Heffalump Halloween: The Movie, Kronk's New Groove, Bambi and the Great Prince of the Forest, Power Rangers S.P.D.
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Tarzan Matter-Of-Facts: Subtitles that provide information about real jungle animals in relation to their animated counterparts.
  2. Music Video: "Who Am I?" by Tiffany Evans
  3. Gorilla Grumble: Interactive game involving patterns.
  4. Tantor and Terk's Jungle Guide: interactive, informative collection of animal footage.
Extras Review: Compared to other Disney DVDs, there isn't much in the way of extras here. We begin with the standard Sneak Peeks, which, in this case are seven previews for other Disney DVD releases.

Next, Backstage Disney: Bringing the Legend to Life is a five-minute featurette consisting of a few interviews with the director, some of the voice talent, and Phil Collins, crammed into this short segment which does offer some nice information.

A couple of interactive pieces are available as well, including a game called Gorilla Grumble. This is basically a memory exercise with Kago and Uto providing the fun. Tantor and Terk's Jungle Guide is also interactive, in that kids can choose from 12 different jungle animals, who Tantor and Terk describe incorrectly. Each animal is correctly described eventually in this fun little feature.

There's also a music video for the song Who Am I? by Tiffany Evans and a collection of Tarzan Matter-Of-Facts, which is textual information that appears at the bottom of the screen during the feature. This supplement can be turned on and off at any time.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

Disney apparently hasn't run out of poor sequels yet, as 1999's Tarzan is their latest victim. Tarzan II does have some solid voice talent going for it, but in the end, even a solid DVD like this one can't save the film from mediocrity.

 


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