The First and Only Weekly Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
TARZAN ® owned by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.. Tarzana CA
TARZAN © 1999 Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., and Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.
The first appearance of the Disney Tarzan trailer was on
the Internet at their official Tarzan site:
It was then released to theatres as an opening short
for the Disney feature
The Mighty Joe Young.
Two longer, five-minute promos, with commentary,
are featured on the Disney video releases of
Mulan and A Bug's Life.
These exciting snippets of animation from the
first-ever animated feature Tarzan film
have caused a flurry of excitement among the
many loyal fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
The fan most outspoken and eloquent in his praise
for this Disney event has been
Featured below are some of Tarak's comments:Well, when it comes to dreaming, this trailer sure got me to dreaming. I just couldn't believe it. I saved it and I've watched it at least seven times, with a magnifying glass the last several, which was necessary for me to fully appreciated the sensuality of that glove scene.
I'm dreaming that the promotion and the trailer are indicative that Disney has recognized that Tarzan of the Apes is a timeless story known by untold millions around the world, and that they could have a veritable blockbuster of a movie, not just for kids, but for their parents and for ERB/Tarzan fans all over the world. This is not the tale of an Indian princess or an original cartoon creation. This is the saga which has inspired numerous movies, comics, strips, pastiches, and other mementos; and which simply has never gone away.
When Disney decides to do something right, they know how to do it. Their special effects have always been cutting edge for cartoons, and what I saw in this trailer is simply visually stunning, as is the music/drums.
Presumably the trailer is indicative of what we will generally see in the movie. The purpose of trailers, after all, is to entice people to see the film; so if the trailer concentrates on the grown ape-man, it seems likely that the film will also do this.
I of course had nothing to do with Tarzan of the Apes. However, he has always been so important to me, and I am so fond of him, that when I watch this trailer I feel something akin to a father watching his son come alive. I want to go to this movie and stand up and say to everyone, "You want to see a damn hero? THERE'S a damn hero! Look what my boy can do!
Cartoon or no cartoon, when I watched this trailer I saw something I've wanted to see my entire life. I saw Tarzan of the Apes. I just can't wait for this film.
Well, I just rented Mulan and watched this trailer three times. The snow-boarding, skate-boarding Tarzan. I wonder what this Mulan film is about. I don't ever think I'll get to it. I'm not sure I'll ever get to the office today, this is so spectacular.
This concept of using movements of skateboarders and snowboarders was a stroke of genius. These are athletes who actually soar and turn and move through an environment which requires a combination of balance and strength and skill which is the closest thing I can think of to what the young Tarzan would have encountered which exists in our real world. Perhaps that's why it's so damn good. Also, these are skills only the young can acquire to this degree of proficiency, as Tarzan acquired skills which no other person could possibly emulate.
I was a bit taken aback when I first saw him sliding backwards along branches like a skateboarder, shifting his feet back and forth like a skateboard show-off, but then I thought, why not? He was a young man who was acquiring skills which must have made him immensly proud; he lived in a jungle enviroment of boasting and physical prowess; he was everything I was at that age and more in terms of such matters. His newly discovered skills in the trees as he learned that his smaller, leaner, quicker body enabled him to perform feats undreamed of by the other mangani must have been a source of tremendous pleasure to the ape-boy who had heretofore been so backward in their eyes. This is perfect and consistent with the book, and my own conception of the
arrogance of skill which was Tarzan of the Apes. He did have an "attitude".
I have no problem whatsoever with the young child Tarzan. He is cute. I like the Mangani, since I always pictured them as slender gorillas, so making them gorillas doesn't bother me. I'm not too fond of Terk, but this is a kid's film. (S)he actually looks a bit like Rosie. I found the images and music and dialogue to be very good. I wiggled my ears then too. In fact, I wiggled them at dinner the other night to vastly impress my niece.
I was a bit startled to hear suh-BOR, rather than the SAY-bor I've always said for Numa's mate.
Kerchak is the ape I've always loved to hate.
The "adult" Tarzan is simply spectacular, and on my 50" TV I sit here stunned by him. The image where he is just crouching on a branch looking out over the jungle vista early on is a magic moment. When he grabs Jane and saves her, and she looks down is mesmerizing. How many times have we read the thoughts of a female who was in the arms of the ape-man as he carried her through the terraces? This captures this scenario ERB described a number of times, and which is one of my favorite recurring
passages in the books. And as in the books, she looks up to see him, and he looks down. The Forest God.
The last bit of the film is practically identical with the trailer we've seen, with almost unbelievable special effects and Phil Collins in the background. I've watched it three more times while writing this. I can hardly wait to rent "A Bug's Life" to see more of this, when it comes out.
I don't think I've ever looked forward to any film the way I look forward to seeing this. It's true that he is my favorite of all time, but it's also true that I am a Tarzan purist. I can put up with Terk and this sissy Tantor; Just show me more of this Tarzan.
...this damn trailer, which I've now watched at least twelve times, is just about the neatest thing I've ever seen. I don't know much about movie promotion, but they are certainly promoting this one. Even the video store girl was familiar with it. This combination of surfer/boarder movements with the upper body swinging just brings to life something I've waited all my life to see.--
... This is, for me, a simply tremendous event, as I watch this trailer. Every time I watch Tarzan slam into Sheeta my adrenalin surges with explosive violence. When I watch him leap and throw Jane into the air near the end, then catch her; then turn and face the slinking Sheeta, I think I could just burst with pride and joy at seeing my ape-man truly for the first time as I've always imagined him.
Some may not enjoy this film, but from comments I can see I'm not alone in my stunned near-disbelief at some of the stuff this film will have. Quite apart from that, this film will certainly generate tremendous popularity for Tarzan of the Apes...
I found the trailer to contain aspects which are worth discussion as to our own conception of the ape-man and how it portrays him, and the millions of people which will see this film make it something which is unparalleled in history with respect to ERB/Tarzan, excepting perhaps only the paperback explosion of the sixties.
Some will find the tree-surfing/boarding silly, and from a "realistic" point of view I suppose it is, but nevertheless it is neat to watch. I think one has to adopt the proper attitude for this film, which in large measure is a film for young people. They are making it exciting and enjoyable for kids; giving them something to identify with and relate to. In doing so, they have hit on a concept which parallels reality when it comes to movements and balance and speed.
The animation in this trailer is so fluid and fast-moving that one has to view it in slow motion to really appreciate and/or actually see some of the great images. I watched all the special effects in slow motion last night, and saw many things I didn't even notice at normal speed.
Quick is the ape-man in this trailer.....
I must say that from a purist point of view this does a pretty good job of telling the basic story. We have the very young Tarzan seeing his "ugly" image in a pond and whining; the dislike of Kerchak for the ape-boy; the taunting of Kerchak by the growing Tarzan. Although ERB never mentioned Tarzan throwing a spear through fruit to splatter on Kerchak's face, I can certainly recall an adult Tarzan taking time out from his adventures to throw fruit at Numa, and I enjoyed the animal-like movements of the boy as he backs away along a limb after this episode.
It's these animal movements which make him so amazing in this. The blend of extreme sports movements with those (massive) upper body talents result in the Tarzan I have always envisioned, utilizing all fours much of the time; always crouched for balance and readiness.
I will of course lament the lack of the classic leaping on Numa's back and stabbing him to death. I don't suppose they will include such violence, even of this the most famous and familiar passage from the books; and they are changing other aspects of the story, and deleting some; and they do have lots of cute kid stuff.
Still, I was very impressed. I laughed at the kid stuff, including the high dive where he is screaming as he plummets to a belly-smacker. He is very cute and engaging as a child, and I think this is important to entertain the children and get them interested in the story.
I loved the saving of Jane (my niece said "That's Belle!"). I don't know who Belle is, but her facial terror is good as she flees from the baboons, and her eyes as they shift back and forth as she is carried high above the jungle perfectly capture a brief moment of wonder before she turns to look up at the ape-man and screams.
The last part of the trailer is just superb, with the special effects we saw in the other
(Internet) trailer. Watching this in slow motion highlights the spectacular animation.
I actually enjoyed the Mulan film, once I watched it. I'm still a kid when it comes to this kind of thing.
I suppose that's why I enjoy this so much. I've always been a child when it comes to ERB, and particularly when it comes to Tarzan of the Apes. I still possess that wonder and worship of something which could never happen but does; and it does in this film, from what I've seen.
In animation Tarzan can truly leap vast distances and whirl and carry an adult female through the terraces effortlessly. He can dive fifty feet and clutch a vine and swing over the enemy to rescue his Jane. He can spin her in the air as he leaps to a lonely perch and catch her again. He can crouch on all fours in a tree like Sheeta and then instantly move into action. He can not only do all the things we've only imagined, but he can do things we've never imagined, and do them with a speed and animal grace which is just spectacular, yet with movements which are because of the blending of the extreme sports not wildly unrealistic, except in scope.
In the final analysis I don't care that they are altering some facts of the story; or making it acceptable and interesting to children; and in many respects I'm glad they are, so children will enjoy the film and the story and my favorite character. They are presenting images of Tarzan of the Apes which are so spectacular that I just watch them again and again in stunned amazement, and against a background score which contains some very moving and powerful music. I do wonder what Tarzan will sound like when he is an adult. They haven't dealt with this in what they present, or Jane either, except for her screaming.
Thus far, however, they have shown me some stuff I've waited all my life to see. The pleasure I've experienced just from these trailers is more than worth the price of a ticket as far as I'm concerned. I can hardly wait to see this on a big screen and to hear this score as it can be presented in a theater.
If I can accept reading about Numa/Bara which exist in deep jungles, rather than the open plains where they really exist, I can accept watching slippery branches one can surf on. If they had presented him wearing one white glove I might have had a few problems, but as this exists I really enjoyed it. The true Tarzan can only exist in the books anyway. This Tarzan gives me a visual roller-coaster ride which I find so joyous to watch that I smile every time I watch him, on those occasions when my mouth isn't hanging open with wonder.
I just can't wait for June.
I think we are dealing with a generation of (young) people who would never discover Tarzan if it weren't for this movie. Among these are people who will discover the books because of the movie, and truly learn about Tarzan of the Apes.
When they do, I'm not sure they will find him nearly as different from the animated film as many of us found him different from the movie creature. I was not disappointed in the least when I discovered the Tarzan of ERB. Quite the contrary. I was stunned to discover this character I had liked was in fact a character who immediately became my favorite of all time.
They do seem to be telling the main aspects of the story. His parents die. He is raised by apes. He is discriminated against because he is different. He acquires amazing skills because of his jungle maturation. He has no human socialization while growing. He becomes Lord of the Jungle. He meets his Jane. He experiences culture shock and conflict. He saves her. He loves her. Presumably he gets her.
This is the story of Tarzan of the Apes.
Whether or not it was Kerchak or Sabor who killed Clayton is immaterial. Whether or not the blacks kill Kala and he feuds with them is not unimportant, but it is not essential in the context of a children's film as to telling his story. His adventures with D'Arnot are in some respects more important to the cliff-hanger ending and sequel(s) than to Tarzan's story itself.
To me the most important thing is to tell the story itself, and to generate interest in the story and the character; and of course to present him as the heroic figure he is. From what I've seen they are certainly doing this. Let's face it, the incredible physical prowess, savagery, and independent indomitability of Tarzan is what most of us dream of and admire. He is vulnerable only to his emotions as they concern Kala and Jane. This seems to come through admirably from what I've seen in the trailer.
Disney wants to make money, and it's understandable that they will present Tarzan in the manner which will have the greatest mass appeal while retaining the essential aspects of the books. Because it's a childrens' film, they simply must have some cute boyhood stuff, and I was quite entertained by most of the kid stuff I saw. I think everyone, from child to adult, will come away from this film with memories of the adult Tarzan as they portray him later in the film, just as [we] enjoyed the adult Tarzan when [we] were very young.
I don't see how anyone could resist the special effects in this movie, and I've seen nothing in the trailers which makes the adult Tarzan so wildly different from my own conception of him. That's why I'm so enchanted by this. I certainly can't say this about any other movie.
Those kids who are readers will be motivated to read about him, and perhaps many adults, too, because of this film. Those who are not readers will at least have seen the basic story and have also seen him presented in a manner which is truly consistent with the books, if somewhat overinflated by the magic of animation.
I would rather he be presented as I've seen so far than as some monosyllabic dunce or some guy who takes lip from people and couldn't climb a Christmas tree.
In some respects this film, perhaps inadvertently, was somehow made for those fans of Tarzan of the Apes who have waited so long to see him truly fly. I never thought I would find pleasure in watching the inside of the ape-man's mouth, but that dive off the cliff just makes me laugh.
When [Kala] says, "huh?", and then the infant cocks one eye and says "huh?" I just somehow see my ape-man's birth. That is one cute scene, and he is pretty savage in that moment, as infants go.
The early image of Kala carrying the infant out onto that huge branch, high above the jungle, is a prime example of this. I still love to watch Jane's eyes dart back and forth for just a second when she is carried over the jungle before we get the panorama scene from her perspective. This is truly great animation, and captures ERB more than I had ever anticipated.
It doesn't bother me that video has taken over. People should do what makes them happy, and as a matter of reality books don't make people as happy as all the other forms of entertainment these days, comparatively speaking.
We only had three channels and black and white when I was a kid, though we got color just about the time I discovered the ape-man. I enjoy all forms of media, and read less than I did before the new forms existed. In a free society or world people should do what they enjoy, and if they enjoy films and videos and games and lists, then that's what they should do.
I think this movie will generate interest for many people to read about Tarzan. Not a high percentage, but still many people. Many more than if the movie never existed, in any event. Tarzan of the Apes exists in 24 books. He always has. He always will.
Second Tarzan Video Promo ~ Featured in the video
A Bug's Life ~ Released 99.04.20
This one is not nearly as good, and doesn't offer much we haven't seen in the way of special effects, though it does have some.
On the negative side, it doesn't offer much which is new. The last part is identical after, except when he catches her he isn't doing the splits. There must be two times in the film when he catches her. They show a close-up of him when he catches her when his legs go wide apart, and I did have to laugh at his face, though I don't like to laugh at my ape-man. It also has a scene where the apes and Tantor trash the whites' camp in a really silly scene which I'm not going to enjoy, and Phil Collins talks about the music for this dumb scene.
It has some positives, however.
The scene where he rescues her from the baboons is completed so you can see him drop from the vine, and it's superb for that instant.
There are several short scenes of the apes in the trees and the background environment is so beautiful and truly represents my own impressions of Tarzan's jungle, as did the earlier trailers, that I really look forward to seeing this on the big screen.
You hear Tarzan and Jane talk. A bit of the scene in the tree which was in the first trailer is here. He is playing with her toes, rather than removing a glove. Then he lifts up her dress to look and she kicks him in the face. I had to laugh. I think this whole scene, while not the ERB Tarzan/Jane, should be entertaining.
Jane speaks with an English accent, and she is so excited when she says ".....and I was saved! Saved by a flying wild man in a loincloth!" (or something like that)
There is a short but beautiful seqence in which Tarzan is climbing straight up a vine while Jane is held by his legs and is holding onto him, and afterwards a beautiful scene of the mangani watching from above.
We see several scenes which depict the growing love between Tarzan and Jane, and the animation seems perfect, as it usually is with Disney, in expressing this.
This Tarzan is going to be less knowledgable, it seems, than our Tarzan. A bit more like the movie Tarzan, as the whites show him things and he hangs out with them.
Apparently the whites kill at least one mangani, too, and Tarzan is bummed that he is responsible and betrayed his family.
Most of the special effects we see are additional footage from what we've seen.
This trailer brings home the point a bit more that this is not the Tarzan of the Apes of the books.
Still, from a visual perspective, this will be my Tarzan. Nothing in this trailer detracts for an instant from the feelings I felt when I saw the ape-man move in the first two trailers. This one has even more. His arboreal movements are simply spectacular, animalistic, fluid, and wholly consistent with my own visions of Tarzan.
The movements are so realistic. The vine climb is almost real. His jungle is depicted in several new scenes which are just as beautiful as those we've seen. Jane is going to be an extremely attractive girl, and I think the romance is going to be pretty moving.
I must say that this one simply whets my appetite even more.
Thoughts Following A Slow-Motion Viewing
I've watched the trailer in slow-motion now, and I'm afraid there is some major disappointment. I didn't notice it at normal speed, but there is a scene on a ship where two thugs are holding the ape-man, who is on his knees. This caused the bile to rise in my throat, and reminded me of so many movies which just disgusted me in this respect.
I also apologize for the initial cross-post. I had forgotten. I do try to stick to the rules as much as is Tarakly possible, but my enthusiasm got the best of me.
Now I'm faced; not so much with what I'll see, which will be spectacular; but what I won't see; my savage ape-man. Two thugs could not hold Tarzan. Seven thugs, or policemen, would have as much chance as they would holding Numa. This irritated the hell out of me. In these movie days where the kids scream at the silly antics of Seagul and Chan and so forth as they whip whole groups of men, I just don't understand why they don't portray the one man in the world who can actually do this in the way animation can do it.
For all Tarzan's jungle skills, two major ones stand out. His arboreal skills and his animal speed, strength, and savagery. We get one out of two in this film, apparently, and I can accept this, but I have to lament, and always will lament, what this superb animator could have done to show me Tarzan of the Apes just kicking some a__ in a whirlwind of violent combat. I don't need blood and gore; just the incredible speed and motion. THIS is Tarzan as much as his arboreal skills. He just is a superman compared when he is pitted against slighly armed or unarmed men, and I will miss this, and won't enjoy his apparent problems when he is captured.
And although I knew that Sheeta (Sabor) was the villain here, rather than Numa, presumably because of the Lion King, my fascination with this animation will always cause me to wonder what if this animator had portrayed a scene where a naked giant leaped upon the back of a raging lion, crushing it to the earth. Where Numa rose to his feet, roaring, and struck out with his powerful claws, but the man had encircled the loins of the king of beasts with his powerful legs, while his right arm was locked around the beast's throat. The lion would leap and claw, futilely attempting to dislodge the puny man-thing from his back, but the man tenaciously clung, and time and again drive a knive into the left side of the lion. The growls of the lion mingled with those of the man as the two struggled, but inevitably the struggles of the lion would grow weaker as the knive drove home, and finally the beast would sag to the earth as the knife found the heart. Then the man would leap to his feet, place one foot on the lion, raise his head to the heavens and voice the savage victory cry of the bull ape.
This is far and away the defining passage of Tarzan of the Apes. This passage in one form or another is in nearly every book, and in some more than once. It defines Tarzan in many respects, depicting his superiority over even Numa, the only creature who can rival the Lord of the Jungle. Although we don't always see the "Quick is Numa...." language, we see this scene time and again.
In this trailer Tarzan appears to be fleeing up a tree from Sheeta. This irritated the hell out of me, too. He even has a spear. In Quest Tarzan whipped a leopard in about a minute while totally unarmed. Only Numa is more than a match for Tarzan, and with his knife he can even conquer the Lion King.
I'm already getting my Tarzan Sensory Perception into acceptance mode so that I can deal with this less than savage Tarzan. TSP will be necessary to some extent in this regard. I suppose it's a cup that's half-full, rather than half-empty. Still, what might have been?
For links to more Disney Tarzan sites, visit:
ERBzine Silver Screen Series
The Dum-Dum Dossier
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