Tarzan 2014 (Blu-ray)

August 19, 2014 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

This version of Tarzan acts as something of a reboot/origin story all in one. It follows the title character from a young age to the “King of the jungle” we all know and love. Well, how much you love this particular outing will vary, but many of the familiar elements are present here. The most notable difference, however, is that this version is done by using motion capture technology. The colors and several of the background visuals are not only visually appealing, but also fairly life-like. The human characters are another story all together. Something about them just feels off. Their faces look sort of like rubber and are actually rather amusing. This helped get me though the majority of the film since I didn’t particularly care for it.

Things begins some millions of years ago when dinosaurs still walked the earth. We see a meteor hit earth and this eliminates all of them. We then learn that some scientists want to find the crashed meteor and harness its supposed, endless energy source. We see a family with their young son, John Jr. The plane they are on crashes, but only Jr. is spared. We then see a young Tarzan living with gorillas in the jungle, and learning how to survive. The film spends a bit of time with him as a child before transitioning into the teenage Tarzan. The plot also includes some evil CEO trying to obtain the energy source for all the wrong reasons. It’s predictable and formulaic, but I don’t think the target audience will mind. I have never been a huge Tarzan fan, but this version did little to get me on board. I’d recommend sticking with one of the Disney versions of this story. For those still curious, I suppose it might be worth renting. I’m sure the young ones will enjoy it.

Video: How’s it look?

This is a rather unique presentation in that this is a “computer generated” film and not traditional 2D animation (like the Disney version of Tarzan). Shown in a 2.39:1 AVC HD encode, the film looks stunning from opening credits to closing. The film, released in 3D in some markets, is evident and there’s really nothing I didn’t like about the way this looks. Colors are bold, vivid and bright – the forest looks like you could reach out and touch it. “Flesh tones” (and I use that in quotes for a reason) look somewhat normal, but it’s not a fault of the transfer. This is essentially inline with a Pixar film when it comes to picture quality. Now when it comes to story telling, well that’s another thing all together.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The rich and robust DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is on display here and I have to admit that I was fairly impressed. I’ve learned not to judge a book by its cover and naturally assume just because a movie is animated and aimed at a younger audience, that it won’t/can’t sound good. That’s just not the case. Vocals are strong and centered, ambient surround effects are very prevalent and add to the drama of the film from time to time as well. There’s really nothing wrong with this, though it does lack that oomph that prohibits a perfect rating.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This is actually a Wal-Mart exclusive title (as of this writing) and it’s lacking in the supplemental department. Again, Disney’s Tarzan has all of the supplements. Still, there’s a few of not here.

  • Becoming Gorillas – We get some raw footage as the actors and their motion capture suits in action and how their resulting actions ended up in the final cut.
  • The Making of Tarzan – We’re treated to a bit more of the motion capture process as well as a few behind the scenes features and a few words with Keelan Lutz and Spencer Locke.
  • Behind the Scenes with Kellan Lutz and Spencer Locke – I’m not really sure why this wasn’t included in the above feature as it seems like more of the same.
  • Digital HD Copy/DVD

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