Review: TARZAN (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Friday, 21 March 2014

Review: TARZAN (2013)

This CGI version of TARZAN is visually engaging, but the plot and the characters are disappointingly mediocre.

For more than a decade, Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic story of Tarzan has been a long-forgotten subject matter for big screen adaptation. In fact, the last time a Tarzan movie that received such cinematic treatment was Disney's animated feature, TARZAN way back in 1999. However, it's nice to see a Tarzan movie made a comeback in the form of computer-generated animation. Simply titled as TARZAN, it's rare to see such Hollywood's popular franchise is handled by a German-based production.

In this new version of TARZAN, CEO of Greystoke Energies, John Greystoke (voiced by Mark Deklin) and his wife Alice (Jaime Ray Newman) died in a helicopter crash following their ill-fated expedition at a meteor crash site deep inside the jungle. However, their 4-year-old son, JJ (Craig Garner) -- who nicknamed himself as "Tarzan" -- is lucky enough to survive the crash. He is subsequently found by a female ape named Kala and raised him like one of her own children. As Tarzan grows up from a teenager (Anton Zetterholm) to adult (Kellan Lutz), he has lived a happy life with fellow apes and treats the jungle like his own home. He even meets the young Jane Porter when he was a teenager and quickly falls for her. They end up stumbling each other again when the adult Jane (Spencer Locke), now working as an ecologist, arrives at the jungle again on her environmental mission with the new CEO of Greystoke Energies, William Clayton (Trevor St. John). Unfortunately, William has an evil plan of his own, as he seeks to get his hands on the missing meteorite which capable of developing an unlimited amount of priceless energy.

Visually speaking, TARZAN is a cinematic triumph in technical wizardry. The computer-generated animation is fairly engaging (particularly the colourful background of the tropical jungle), while the motion capture performances (especially the movements of the human characters) are fluid and convincing.

As for the cast, only Spencer Locker rates the best with her lively performance as the adult Jane.
Sadly, there's none to be found here.
It's a pity that writer-director Reinhard Klooss' screenplay reeks with cliches all over the place. Despite his attempt at updating the classic story with AVATAR-like plot elements (e.g. environmental message, the evil corporation brought in an army of mercenaries to help obtain the priceless source, etc.), the overall execution feels bland and generic.

With the exception of Spencer Locke, most of the voice casts in TARZAN are mediocre. And that includes the stiff voice performance from Kellan Lutz as the adult Tarzan (Ironically, this is the second time in the row that Lutz fails to stamp his mark in the big screen, following his cinematic fiasco of 2014's THE LEGEND OF HERCULES).

While TARZAN fails to match the quality of top-notch animation delivered by Pixar or to a certain extent, DreamWorks Animation, this animated feature remains a decent viewing experience as long as you don't expect too much.

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