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Tarzan (1999) Disney DVD

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After watching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote to Walt Disney about adapting his novel of an ape-man into a feature animated cartoon. Some 60 years later, the tale is finally told with brilliant design work that looks unlike any previous animated film. The story is a natural for Disney since the themes of misunderstood central figures have been at the heart of its recent hits. Disney's Tarzan doesn't wander far from the familiar story of a shipwrecked baby who is brought up by apes in Africa. What gives the film its zing is its clever use of music (the songs are sung by Phil Collins himself rather than onscreen characters) and the remarkable animation. Deep Canvas, a 3-D technology, was developed for the film, creating a jungle that comes alive as Tarzan swings through the trees, often looking like a modern skateboarder racing down giant tree limbs. The usual foray of sidekicks, including a rambunctious ape voiced by Rosie O'Donnell, should keep the little ones aptly entertained. The two lead voices, Tony Goldwyn as Tarzan and Minnie Driver as Jane, are inspired choices. Their chemistry helps the story through the weakest points (the last third) and makes Tarzan's initial connection with all things human (including Jane) delicious entertainment. Disney still is not taking risks in its animated films, but as cookie-cutter entertainment, Tarzan makes a pretty good treat. --Doug Thomas

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