Tarzan

Another summer has arrived, and with it comes another animated Disney feature that's easy to like but difficult to love. In a move that seems inevitable, Disney has tried its hand at the Tarzan series, and the results, while generally pleasing, could use a bit more fire. Like last year's Mulan, Tarzan is a beautifully animated film featuring songs by a washed-out '80s pop star, but fortunately, Phil Collins' bland, almost subliminally Africanized contributions—unlike Matthew Wilder's efforts in Mulan—are more forgettable than objectionable, and Tarzan has the good sense to confine them to a few montage sequences. The main problem with Tarzan is its story, which, after a strong start, finds a steady groove and stays with it, offering no particular highs or lows. In that way at least, it's a stark contrast to the frequently thrilling but just as often frustrating Mulan, and it has its share of other problems, too. Voiced by Tony Goldwyn (as an adult) and Home Alone 3 sensation Alex D. Linz (as a child), Tarzan himself is a pretty bland hero, while his wisecracking, attitude-driven, Rosie O'Donnell-voiced gorilla best friend veers dangerously close to Jar Jar Binks territory. But there are far worse things than an attractive Disney film that's otherwise filled with memorable characters: As the hero's surrogate mother, Glenn Close firmly establishes herself as the rarest of Disney characters, a strong, assertive maternal figure, while Minnie Driver does good comic work in the oft-bland Jane role. Kids will like it, and with its bright, moving images, most apes should like it, too. Everyone else runs a good chance of leaving Tarzan with a feeling that's not quite disappointment, but something short of satisfaction.

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