Fans of the Tarzan story will finally be able to watch Disney’s take on the Edgar Rice Burroughs’ iconic yarn about an orphan who was raised by animals and ended up becoming the de facto king of the jungle.
Disney is known for changing aspects (even major ones) of stories and fairy tales in order to make it more family-friendly or at least commercially viable but they do have a knack for preserving the basic framework of the source material. This is the case with Tarzan. Disney’s version of Tarzan also starts with the baby Tarzan being adopted by a family of Gorillas, and follows him into adulthood until the arrival of humans and the problem it causes Tarzan – namely the need to choose between the conflicting worlds of a civilized life with the beautiful Jane or the safe and comfortable existence with his adoptive family.
Now, there’s nothing to be said about the changes between Disney’s take on Tarzan and the original Rice Burroughs version, mainly because the average viewer won’t mind or notice the big changes. Tarzan has always been the vine-swinging, king of the jungle who loves animals but is not above kicking beast-butt in order to protect innocents. Oh, and there’s the iconic jungle call. They’re all pretty much preserved in Disney’s version. The important part is that Disney was able to take all that made Tarzan a memorable character and build a lively and colorful world using the magic of modern animation and a story filled with characters that come alive and serve their purpose.
As for the Blu-Ray version, the quality is to be expected. Tarzan was released around 1999, old enough for the industry to still not be highly dependent on 3D CG yet new enough that the studio isn’t hampered by aged or obsolete archives. Bonus content-wise, Disney’s Tarzan has all the essentials, from deleted scenes, to “making of” featurettes, and even the music videos for the film’s songs – which include masterpieces from Phil Collins and N’Sync. To wit, getting Tarzan on Blu-Ray makes sense as it manages to take advantage of the added clarity and fidelity that the medium brings.