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Rediff.com  » Movies » Review: Tarzan is so bad that it's actually good

Review: Tarzan is so bad that it's actually good

April 25, 2014 09:06 IST

A scene from TarzanTarzan is one of those rare scripts that Hollywood should have faxed to Bollywood and let them do it their way because only Karan Johar could have saved this film with a decent love triangle and loads of family melodrama, writes Paloma Sharma.

As a member of Generation Y (U NO HAVE WIFI!?!), I have had the pleasure of having lived through one of the most memorable phases in contemporary cinema -- the Disney Renaissance. 

Based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’s novel Tarzan of the Apes, Disney’s 1999 animated feature Tarzan was the last of the greats. 

It remains so to this day and because stories like those of Tarzan (and Mulan and Ariel and Pocahontas) have formed such an integral part of our childhoods, I understand why German producer Reinhard Klooss wanted to direct a new version of it. 

However, I have a simple question for him -- what was left to remake? 

While there are several ways that one can interpret a single story, Klooss seems to have lost the plot all together. In his attempt to make Tarzan (2013) a film relevant to today’s times, Klooss has turned into one-part Avatar and one-part Mills and Boon. 

JJ, nicknamed Tarzan, heir to the Greystoke Energies fortune, loses his parents in a tragic helicopter crash and ends up being raised by gorillas. How ever did this happen, you ask? Well, apparently, in the year 2014, it is still completely acceptable to drag your wife and child into the largely unexplored jungles of Africa because a scientist/adventurer told you there’s a meteor out there which could be an alternative energy source, based on a piece of rock he found in a flea market. 

Even the gorillas make better parents. 

Said gorillas form JJ’s new family and he slowly loses his human identity completely, becoming one of them.

Nothing reminds him of his humanity until one day he spots a lithe young blond Jane Porter in the forest, and then, as Bollywood would sing it, pyaar toh hona hi tha

Since it’s difficult to differentiate between Tarzan (1999) and Tarzan (2013), they should have probably called the new one Tarzan Discovers His Hormones

After much discovering and saving the damsel in distress, the two predictably fall into a particularly puke-inducing brand of lourve but all is not well in the jungle. The current CEO of Greystoke Energies, John Clayton, wants to gets his hands on the alternative energy resource and he will do anything to achieve his goal.

Tarzan is one of those rare scripts that Hollywood should have faxed to Bollywood and let them do it their way because only Karan Johar could have saved this film with a decent love triangle and loads of family melodrama.

Tarzan spends almost two decades with the gorillas and yet, when his ape-mother gets shot, the film hardly gives it any importance. It only aspires to revolve around the rather insipid relationship between Tarzan and Jane, which seems to have no rational basis whatsoever. 

Tarzan is so bad that it’s actually good. 

The plot is riddled with more holes than a car caught in crossfire. Characters are one dimensional, having hardly believable motivations and even less believable methods to achieve them.

Animation is HORRENDOUS -- and I write that in capitals for a reason.

While the landscape is beautiful (albeit ‘borrowed’ to a large extent), the human figures look like soulless Barbie and Ken dolls with hollow eyes and unreal proportions. Gorillas look like one of Stephanie Meyer’s vampires bit them. However, I do give credit to Klooss and his team, since they seem to be more rational. 

Tarzan’s plot, background and even visuals seem to be very heavily and very obviously borrowed from Bibhutibhushan Banhopadhyay’s timeless classic Chander Pahar

I find it extremely heartbreaking that this is the Tarzan that today’s kids will grow up with. If your child begs you to take them to watch this one, buy the DVD of Disney’s rendition of the film, instead. Taking a young mind to watch Tarzan will be scarring it for life. 

Rediff Rating: 

Paloma Sharma/ Rediff.com in Mumbai