This week, we watched Tarzan II, which takes place during Tarzan’s childhood, specifically during the “Son of Man” sequence. During that sequence, adventures in Tarzan’s childhood are merely hinted at, but in Tarzan II, a more comprehensive story is told featuring familiar characters such as Terk and Kala as well as some new ones.
Tarzan II gets several things right, including its animation. The jungle looks rich and beautiful and, perhaps most importantly, consistent with that of the first film. In fact, this movie does a great job of capturing the spirit of the original, something that many of these sequels lack. However, most of the voice cast has been replaced, with the exception of Glenn Close and Lance Henriksen as Kala and Kerchak, respectively. Close brings warmth to this role whenever she plays it, and it was a wise move to bring her back.
One of the most distinctive things about Tarzan is its use of music. Breaking off from the musical theatre tradition of the Disney Renassaince, Tarzan instead featured original songs by Phil Collins, played in the background of the film. Several fan-favorite songs were written for the film including “Two Worlds, One Family” and “You’ll Be in My Heart” which won an Oscar for Best Original Song. Another popular song is “Son of Man”, which makes a return here during the opening moments of the film to set the context and refamiliarize the audience with the story. Disney brought Collins back for Tarzan II to write two new songs, “I Need to Know” and “Who Am I?”, both of which are nicely written and fit the film well.
As for the story, it is nothing especially inspiring. Though the choices made aren’t particularly bad, they don’t add anything important to the franchise either. The new characters aren’t very interesting or funny (though they tried to make them both), and most of the subplots don’t really work. The lesson of the film- learning and accepting who you are- has been done before and better. In fact, the original Tarzan touched upon that lesson too. My advice? Watch that one. It is more captivating, more heartwarming, and a better movie.
Next week, we are watching Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch. Happy watching!