Dissecting the Disquels: Tarzan and Jane

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Plot: Jane tries to plan something for her and Tarzan’s first wedding anniversary. A full-episode clip show ensues.

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Breakdown: I mentioned in my Tarzan 2 review that Tarzan actually did get its own series; The Legend of Tarzan. It’s a series I didn’t remember at all, in the slightest, even through promos, and I kinda understand why. It only had 39 episodes and two technical seasons. Though, I don’t quite get why it was canceled. According to the Wiki page, the show was actually received fairly well, critically, and it was even nominated for a Daytime Emmy award and two Golden Reel awards.

I only found that the reason the reruns stopped were because Disney replaced them, along with reruns of Fillmore! And Buzz Lightyear, with a block of Recess.

This movie is sorta a reverse Atlantis 2 or Cinderella 2. Whereas those movies were three episode long pilots to TV series that would never be, this is a three episode long series finale chimera of sorts. It’s made of the final three episodes of The Legend of Tarzan. The segments are mended together through Jane talking to Terk and Tantor about what she should do for Tarzan and her first wedding anniversary.

I will never understand these types of movie. When you think about it, it is literally just the main characters sitting down for a half hour per segment explaining an event in detail when they were all there for it. This whole movie could be finished in a few lines.

“I was thinking of throwing a party.”

“That might make Tarzan uncomfortable. Remember the last time you tried to introduce him to English culture?”

“Oh yeah. That didn’t go well. Well, maybe we can exchange gifts.”

“Gifts? Like diamonds!? Remember the last time Tarzan got you a diamond?”

“Oh yeah. That was a disaster. What about a nice dance?

“I don’t think so. Remember the last time Tarzan danced?”

“Err, right, I guess. Well, I guess we’ll do nothing. Thanks for destroying my marriage, Terk!”

END.

What’s even weirder is that they’re also explaining events they could have no knowledge of because they weren’t there. Like how does Terk know in detail things that happened in scenes with only Tarzan and the professor? Did they write a transcription of the conversation?

What’s particularly strange about this is that these episodes aren’t lost or anything, nor was the movie released as the finale and then separated into episodes like Kim Possible’s finale…the first finale anyway…..it is merely the final three episodes of the TV series, released prior to the movie, made into flashbacks with some new footage put between them as a framing device. So, essentially, this movie is trying to rip kids off. If the kid was a fan of the show and wanted to see the new movie, they’d feel really screwed because they’d merely be watching a full episode clip show of the end of the series instead of an actual movie.

I’d almost say that The Legend of Tarzan was just not a profitable series at all, so they decided to release this ‘movie’ to milk a little more cash out of it. They already have 95% of the animation in their archive, just make the framing device and cash in.

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The movie starts off with Jane and Tarzan playing around in the trees when she suddenly decides to leave. She tells Terk, who has a really terrible voice actor here, by the way, and Tantor that she plans to make a nice party for their first anniversary. Terk and Tantor say that might not be a good idea and use a previous run in with British customs as an example. Thus they relay the entire story to Jane; a story she was entirely present for while Terk and Tantor were barely in it.

Then our first segment begins. Our first segment or episode is one titled in the series as “Tarzan and the British Invasion.” Jane’s three prim and proper friends from finishing school come to the island to ‘save’ Jane from the ‘wild man’ they had somewhat misheard about. They’re weirded out yet understanding about Jane’s decision to live in the jungle with her new husband the ‘wild man’.

Tarzan obviously makes the girls uncomfortable with his less than proper manners and actions, but both parties remain civil. When Tarzan leaves to get some food, the girls claim that Jane has changed and don’t show much appreciation for the life she has in the jungle. In an effort to prove to her friends that she hasn’t changed, she prepares a fancy picnic for them the following day.

Jane invites Tarzan along, but he feels like she’s embarrassed by him, especially when she tries to get him to wear his father’s old suit. He refuses to go, and Jane goes to the picnic without him.

Jane starts her picnic with her friends when the panthers, Nuru and Sheeta, attack. They manage to escape, but find themselves lost in the jungle.

Meanwhile, Tarzan has a conversation with Jane’s father about the situation. He tells Tarzan that Jane has done everything to adapt to his life, ways and customs, so doing the same for her for one day shouldn’t be that big of a deal. He agrees and goes off to change into his suit for the picnic. However, when he arrives at the spot, he finds the picnic ruined and determines that Nuru and Sheeta attacked, chasing the women into the jungle.

Back with Jane, she starts getting back into her jungle groove as she tries to do everything in her power to navigate her friends back while also trying to keep them safe. When the panthers arrive again, Tarzan shows up to fight them off. Eventually, the panthers are beaten, Jane is reunited with Tarzan and all of the women get the hots for him.

Jane’s friends bid her goodbye having now accepted and fully understood why she lives the life that she lives. Tarzan asks if she ever gets homesick and while she admits that she does miss London sometimes, she’s become a different person in the jungle, and she likes it.

This episode is actually pretty good. Tarzan in particular got some surprisingly funny lines. I put that mostly on his voice actor, Michael T. Weiss, as his delivery for some of the lines was really hilarious.

“Actually, I never knew my parents. They were murdered by the leopard, Sabor.”

*gasp*

“In this room.”

*gasp!*

“Right there!”

And simply;

“I GOT FRUIT!” If that could be applied anywhere as a meme, I’d really want that to happen.

The story was predictable but also pretty well done. I’m glad that while Jane’s friends were believable prim and proper ‘ladies’ they weren’t bitches like I expected them to be. They’re legitimately Jane’s friends and while they may get a bit fed up with the jungle world sometimes, they try to bite their lip for Jane’s sake.

Jane was also alright, and I understand where she’s coming from. Even if you like what you’ve become, it’s difficult to have someone say to you, in a negative way, that you’ve changed, especially when the people saying it are good friends. She didn’t get into an argument with Tarzan over the suit thing nor is she really ashamed of her husband, she was just trying to get Tarzan to play along in order to prove herself to her friends.

Since Terk and Tantor dash the party idea, Jane suggests that they merely exchange gifts instead. Tantor asks what kinds of gifts men give women in England, and Jane lists off some examples while Terk deduces that one of these gifts is diamonds. Terk then reminds Jane of the last time Tarzan tried to get Jane a diamond and we get our second segment titled, creatively enough, ‘Volcanic Diamond Mine’.

Two crooked diamond hunters enlist Tarzan’s help in getting diamonds from a volcano. Tarzan agrees to help despite his distrust of the men as long as he gets a diamond to give to Jane since he believes she’d want one like the women in England get.

Jane notices Tarzan acting suspicious so she starts tracking him down with her father and Terk—and holy crap, I just now realized that Jane and her father are speaking with the animals…..

My embarrassing obliviousness aside, I’ve never seen the series, but is this ever explained at all because her Disney wiki page says nothing about how she and her father acquired this skill. I mean, I suppose Tarzan may have taught her, but she really learned fluent gorilla and elephant in less than a year? That’s even more unbelievable than her learning it period. I guess she and her father must’ve been visited by the shaman from The Wild Thornberrys.

Tarzan and the two diamond hunters arrive at the volcano and start mining diamonds. When Tarzan starts deciding which diamond to keep for Jane, one of the pair claims he’s not getting any diamonds and that they’re going to kill him to protect their diamonds since they don’t trust him. Jane and her father arrive right as Tarzan is being attacked. The two diamond hunters exit the cave but not before blowing the place up to kill Tarzan. While their plan failed miserably as they now have no way of retrieving the diamonds either, Tarzan, Jane and the professor survive. However, the explosion has caused the volcano to start erupting.

Using a pick and some rope left behind, Tarzan and the others make it out of the cave and through the top, but the magma continues to rise. Then we get something completely stupid. Tarzan breaks off a piece of stone from the side of the volcano and surfs the magma wave. This is so nonsensical even the characters are questioning it.

Jane: “Is this…possible?”

Professor: “Who cares as long as it’s working!?”

I can give them being so close to all this magma without burning up, but riding it on a stone like a wave of water is just silly.

The diamond hunters are cornered up a tree by crocodiles as the lava makes it way towards them, but Tarzan swings by on a vine that I suppose is just held up by the clouds and saves them.

They’re later arrested, I supposed for attempted murder, and the segment ends.

Jane asks what the story has to do with her present idea, something I was also wondering as one bad experience with a diamond shouldn’t give you diamond PTSD. Terk and Tantor then explain that Tarzan felt really bad when he couldn’t get her a gift he thought she should have for their wedding. The same will happen if he finds out he has nothing to give her for their anniversary.

Well….uh, tell him about it so he actually has a chance to get a present? This is different from the diamond because he had already been married to Jane for some time and felt bad that she missed all the English wedding stuff, especially the diamond ring. He has plenty of time to make a gift, doesn’t he? Or to find one? Maybe his mother had some jewelry, I dunno. He doesn’t have a chance to feel bad about not getting a gift for their anniversary if he knows about it and gets a gift in time.

….And again, why did this story start as an anti-diamond point? She just gave precious stones such as diamonds as an example of a gift a man would give a woman as an anniversary present. She didn’t say the diamond thing was tradition, unlike the wedding ring.

This segment was pretty bad. John O’Hurley voices one of the diamond hunters. That’s about as notable as it gets. Otherwise, Tarzan got no funny lines, the story made little sense, the professor was an idiot, and the ending was just silly. It would’ve been nice to see Jane speak with Tarzan about this afterward like saying she doesn’t need a diamond, she’s perfectly happy the way she is, but she appreciates the thought or something. No lesson was had. Hell, we don’t even see Tarzan look disappointed or saddened that he lost his diamond. It just cuts to the hunters being arrested and the segment ends.

Tarzan leading the men to the cave was also out of character. He clearly didn’t trust the two from the start and knew the diamonds were in the volcano. He could’ve somehow gotten one himself without endangering his jungle.

After that, Jane suggests they merely dance under the moonlight. However, her father pops up and says that might be a bad idea. Remember the last time Tarzan danced?

*flashback ripple*

The third segment is called ‘Flying Ace’. It starts with Jane’s father making a radio and her and Tarzan dancing to the music when a plane makes an emergency landing nearby. The pilot is Jane’s oldest friend, Robert, and Tarzan immediately doesn’t trust him, claiming he reminds him of the leopard, Sabor. Jane brushes him off saying he’s being irrational, and Terk says he’s just jealous. Jane invites Robert back to the treehouse to catch up while Tarzan stews in the jungle.

As they’re having a nice time, Robert noticeably snoops for something. Jane asks what it is and he says it’s a music box he gave her right before he left for Africa. He’d like it back to give to someone else back home. She finds it, opens it up to check if it works and they decide to relive their old days in dance class by having a dance to the music.

Tarzan walks in on them and gets very jealous before storming out. Robert says it might be best if he took the music box and left, and Jane sadly agrees. A tiny monkey runs past her feet, causing her to drop the music box, which makes it crack open revealing a code machine.

Robert reveals himself to be a double agent and the music box contains codes from the English military that he’s selling to the non-descript ‘other side’. Jane tries to get away with the music box, but she ultimately gets captured by Robert and they leave on his plane.

Meanwhile, Tarzan saves a British Airman who has been tailing Robert but was shot down by him in the start of the episode. Now realizing that Robert is indeed a bad man and it wasn’t merely him being jealous, Tarzan pursues the airplane. He somehow manages to spear the plane in mid air and climbs up the attached vine to take out Robert. Jane is forced to try to fly the plane with radioed assistance by her father.

She manages to keep it steady for a while, but loses control as it reaches a waterfall. Tarzan somehow manages to keep the plane from falling by spearing a nearby tree and wrapping a vine around the tail. Robert escapes with the music box, threatening to cut the vine if they pursue him, though he’d be too far away to do it if they just waited a few seconds for him to run.

Tarzan tries to keep the plane from falling as the vine starts to snap, and Jane hangs above the propellers, nearly getting sliced up. Robert hears her screams and decides his old friend is more important than selling the information, so he returns to the plane and saves her.

Tarzan is knocked off of the vine by a log, and the plane falls. However, Robert is able to pilot it safely back to shore. Robert is arrested by the agent, and we cut back to present time where the professor points out how hurt Tarzan was when he saw Jane and Robert dancing together, so them dancing together would just open old wounds.

Really? You had to tell the entire story from start to finish for that flimsy excuse? You could’ve just said ‘Remember when Tarzan saw you dancing with your old friend, Robert? He was very hurt, and dancing with you again might open those wounds.’ And honestly, what the hell is all this? This entire movie is ‘Tarzan can’t do this thing that was mildly connected to this 20 minute long story I’m about to tell because Tarzan kinda felt bad about it somewhere I think.’

Tarzan can’t throw a party, not even a non-traditional English one, because he didn’t fit in with Jane’s friends that one time. Completely ignore that he came to understand that he should try to do things from Jane’s culture just as she lives in his culture. Also ignore that the end of the story was a good one, and her friends came to respect and understand Tarzan.

Tarzan can’t give any presents because he felt bad that he wasn’t able to get Jane a diamond that one time.

Tarzan can’t dance because, despite the fact that he clearly had a lot of fun with Jane the last time he danced with her, he saw her innocently dancing with an old friend and had a drama fit.

Hey, let’s make the movie longer.

Jane: “Okay, what about a nice romantic dinner?”

Terk: “Dinner!? Remember the last time Tarzan ate food?”

*20 minute long story*

Terk: “That tummy ache he got made him slightly uncomfortable for a few hours! If he eats again, it could bring up bad memories.”

*cut to dead Tarzan*

Anyway, the movie’s not over. Jane laments that she can’t seem to do anything for her anniversary and now it’s night time. You guys seriously bored her with these overly long stories that she was present for…all day? Wow.

She continues to mope as she reaches the treehouse when she’s surprised by all of the gorillas throwing a party for her. Tarzan walks up to her in his father’s suit wishing her a happy anniversary. Jane deduces that Terk, Tantor and the professor knew what they were up to all along and I guess they were meant to keep her busy while they prepared the party.

Nope, it still doesn’t change the fact that the rest of the movie has been dumb because Jane found all of the excuses perfectly logical.

Not only that, but Tarzan has a gift for her; a diamond ring, made with a diamond from the volcano cave…..one he shouldn’t have since all of the diamonds melted in the volcano and the cave was destroyed in the eruption. Also, that’s quite the perfectly cut diamond you ‘found’. Where did he get the ring to go with it? The trading post?

And finally, they dance as the party goes on. And Kala’s there. She has no lines and the art makes her nearly impossible to point out, but there ya go.

The party concludes with some random out of place pop song, Tarzan and Jane kiss; the end.

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This movie…I don’t even want to call this a movie. It’s three random episodes of The Legend of Tarzan taped together with a framing device that doesn’t even make sense most of the time. I will admit that the ending does kinda make up for the stupidity of the framing device up until that point, but not very much considering Jane found so much logic in those excuses that she ended up doing nothing for her anniversary.

If I just want to take all of the new footage as a movie, making this a very short movie out of a very short movie (1 hour, 12 minutes with credits.), then it’s just….boring. You know the movie won’t end with them doing nothing for their anniversary. Tarzan cares too much about Jane to leave her hanging in the wind. He’d obviously do something to make her happy in his own way. Was him getting dressed up, throwing a party, getting a diamond and dancing with her showing that he’s gotten over his problems with these things to make Jane happy or was it a bunch of lies to stall Jane? If it’s the latter, that makes the rest of the movie even more pointless. It’s almost like they were stalling the audience too until they wrapped it up.

This isn’t a horrible watch for someone who’s never watched the TV series because the stories themselves weren’t that bad. In fact, they were fairly entertaining. I’d definitely say the first segment is the best, the third is second place and the second is the worst. It’s how they poorly melded the segments with the framing that made them seem bad. But, in the end, the only audience who would really watch this are mostly people who have seen the series. And those people would feel ripped off for getting about 10 minutes of movie and 55 minutes of show they’ve already watched.

The art and animation are definitely not up to the movie standards. Hell, not even Tarzan 2. It’s got that TV series ick to it, but it’s not as bad as it could be. Some of the scenes with falling CGI objects were pretty bad, though.

The voice acting is also fine for the most part. Tarzan doesn’t get any more fun line reads after segment one, Jane’s fine, Tantor sounds exactly as he did in the first movie and Terk can choke on a porcupine. I not only don’t like Terk as a character, but they somehow found someone more annoying than Rosie O’donnell to voice her.

The music is also…fine. The male/female redo of Two Worlds was a little pop-ish for my tastes and I just couldn’t get into the final pop song thing, even with Terk and the gorillas kinda making a callback to Trashin’ the Camp.

Bottomline: If you haven’t seen the series and like Tarzan, give a quick watch I guess as the individual stories are pretty okay. Don’t expect much of the movie itself, though.

As for those who have seen the series, really don’t bother at all.

Rating: TV Series Fans – 1/10

Haven’t seen the series – 5/10

Recommended Audience: There are numerous guns, but no one gets shot. Nothing else beyond that, really. 6+

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One thought on “Dissecting the Disquels: Tarzan and Jane

  1. I didn’t know there was a TV series either.

    Flashbacks are always funny. How did you know how the other person feels or their expression? You weren’t even looking at them!

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