Disney’s Tarzan Blu-ray Review

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Off of the coast of Africa, an English couple with their infant son find their way to land after surviving a shipwreck. The family end up making a tree house form the wreckage and end up getting murdered by Sabor, a vicious female leopard. The same leopard took the life of a baby gorilla belonging to a female gorilla named Kala. Kala goes to the now tattered tree house to find a human baby who has been orphaned. She takes him in and names him Tarzan.

Fast forward many years later, Tarzan is now grown up and has the approval of the gorilla tribe after protecting them from danger. Also at this time, a group of English explorers and scholars land on their shores. The group includes Professor Porter and his daughter Jane. This is the first time that Tarzan has seen anyone that looks like him and is very curious about why they are there.

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Tarzan is Disney’s 37th animated film the second most expensive of the studio’s animated features. It is directed by Disney alums Chris Buck and Kevin Lima and Buck’s latest accomplishment is the amazing Frozen. The music has been written and performed by Phil Collins and the song “You’ll Be in My Heart” won an Academy Award in 2000 for Best Song. The score and the soundtrack are infused. The score is both made up of instrumental music and the songs performed by Collins. At the time, this was something that wasn’t typically done but it is seen a little more frequently in films presently.

The art in the movie is amazing due to the animators using a technique called “deep canvas”. This is where there are 2D hand-drawn images layered on top of 3D backgrounds. This creates as much depth as possible from hand-drawn animation. All of these elements together make a very good film. Screening the movie for this review was the first time I had ever seen it and it easily fits among the other Disney animated classics.

Voice Cast
-Tony Goldwyn as Tarzan
-Minnie Driver as Jane Porter
-Glenn Close as Kala
-Lance Henriksen as Kerchak
-Brian Blessed as Clayton
-Nigel Hawthorne as Professor Archimedes Q. Porter
-Rosie O’Donnell as Terk,
-Wayne Knight as Tantor

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The transfer of the film is a 1080p AVC and it’s definitely the superior version on Blu-ray. The coloring in the movie is vibrant but it’s never exaggerated at all. There is a wide variety of hues from all points of the color spectrum but, being in the jungle, the most common color is green. As I mentioned earlier, the animators used the technique “deep canvas” and being transferred to Blu-ray made the images have even more depth than in any other release before it. The images are incredibly brilliant and they have sharp, crisp lines. Everything just looks highly detailed but then there are some issues with the transfer. Unfortunately, the darker colors have some crushing that is not blatant but it is definitely there. Overall, it is a good looking release.

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The audio mix on this release is strong but there are some things that it lacks. It’s a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 without a subwoofer track. It is definitely a much stronger mix than any other before but the LFE track is mixed in with the other speakers in the theater. The score is basically music by the singer/songwriter Phil Collins and it’s a driving point if the movie. So that means having a perfect lossless is a must. Because of the system that I am reviewing this with, the front speakers carry the bass. The highs are clear and there are some very nice sweeping moments to accompany what’s happening on the screen. I don’t completely understand the decision to make the main track a 5.0 mix but it’s still pretty good for a new mix.

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There are a good amount of extras on the release but there isn’t anything new. They have all been taken from the special edition DVD which means they’re in SD.

Bonus Features:
Feature Length Audio Commentary with directors Chris Buck and Kevin Lima with producer Bonnie Arnold: The commentary goes over every element in the film including animation, voice casting, music and more. It’s worth a listen to hear their thoughts on the production of the film.

History and Development: This featurette shows how the film was first created and grew from the grueling research that the crew had to do.
-From Burroughs to Disney
-Early Presentation Reel
-Research Trip to Africa

The Characters of Tarzan: Theses are a series of small clips that interview the directors, animators, and crew on developing the characters in the movie.
-Creating Tarzan
-Animating Tarzan
-Creating Jane and Porter
-Creating Kala and Kerchak
-Creating Terk and Tantor
-Creating Clayton

Animation Production: This featurette shows how the animators brought together the different styles of animation from traditional to CGI.
-The Deep Canvas Process
-Deep Canvas Demonstration
-Production Progression Demonstration
-Intercontinental Filmmaking.”

Story & Editorial: This clip focuses on the script and stpryboarding the film.
-Building the Story
-Storyboard-to-Film Comparison

Music & More: This featurette is the big one. It focuses on the music from the movie as well as the score. It especially focuses on the Phil Collins music that set the tone of the movie.
-The Making of the Music
-Tarzan Goes International
-You’ll Be in My Heart
-Strangers Like Me

Deleted Scenes: These are some of the unfinished scenes from the movie.
DisneyPedia: Living in the Jungle: This is short clip focused at younger kids.
Trailers:

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Disc Details
Two-disc set w/ 1 Blu-ray and 1 DVD
iTunes digital copy

Edition Ratings
Rated G

Region Code
Region Free

Video Resolution
1080p AVC MPEG-4
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Audio Mixes
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0
English Dolby Digital 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.0
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.0

Subtitles
English
English SDH
French
Spanish
Portuguese

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Tarzan is a very good movie and it looks excellent on Blu-ray. There are some very key things done very right and slightly wrong. The video looks great and it’s exactly how this movie should be seen whether it’s for the first time or rewatching it. Like the video, the audio is done well with a lossless mix but the lack of a LFE track hurts the release for not only the audiophiles but anyone who wants to experience the music that this film has to offer. The extras are plentiful and, even though they’re in SD, they give a lot of info on every element in making this movie. It was a huge undertaking to make this movie and they didn’t skimp on anything. If you’re looking to own this for the first time or replacing your DVD, it is worth the upgrade without regret. I recommend picking this one up to add to your collection whether you’re a fan or a Disney collector.

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About the author

MEDIA JOURNALIST & STAFF WRITER | Michael is a fanatic about all cinema. He collects many things from movies to Steelbooks to 1/6 Scale Collectibles and vinyl collectibles. He loves pop culture, writing, reviewing films & collectibles, and journalism. Anything that is even slightly related to these things are always on his radar and most definitely a comic book nerd. He is also, of course, a Batman junkie and will chat it up about pretty much anything.