The Disneytoon Studios in Australia give us a look at one of Tarzan’s adventures as a kid growing up with apes in the direct to video sequel, “Tarzan II.” In this film, Tarzan feels like he’s endangering Kala’s life and runs away. While running, he gets captured by three other gorillas and must learn from the feared Zugor how to scare the gorillas and help his family.
This is a cute kids film, but nothing more. It follows in the same vein as many other sequels to Disney animated classics produced by the Disneytoon Studios. This is a film that young kids will absolutely love, but I didn’t really care for. The plot is fine. The animation is fine, but not as crisp as the Walt Disney Animation Studios. The music features two new songs from Phil Collins, neither as good as the songs from the original “Tarzan” and it re-purposes the catchy song “Son of Man” that was a highlight of the original soundtrack.
I grew up watching a lot of the straight to video sequels of Disney classics, and outside of the “Aladdin” sequels; “Return of Jafar” and “Aladdin and the King of Thieves;” I haven’t really liked any of them. Let’s be clear, I also haven’t hated any of them. They’re not bad, they’re just not good and that’s how “Tarzan II” comes across. It’s got its funny moments with Brad Garrett and Ron Pearlman voicing the two bully gorillas that first capture Tarzan and later capture Terk and Tantor. Legendary comedian George Carlin steps into the role of Zugor who is an older ape that has to rely on trickery after he got left behind by his troop. Zugor helps train Tarzan, who is too slow to keep up with the gorillas, about how to use trickery to survive. It’s a nice little mentor story, but it seems odd to hear Carlin’s voice in the role. If you’ve seen his stand-up specials, playing the somewhat wise old ape isn’t really his thing. It’s a kid’s film though, and they won’t know about Carlin’s comedy, so they probably won’t care. It just bothered me.
Overall, I’m glad these sequels exist. They continue to build the magical world of Disney for little children around globe. They may not be the highest quality films in the Disney canon, but they are certainly a lot of fun for their intended audience. Adults just need to watch these with a grain of salt and realize that it’s not for them, but their kids. The Walt Disney Animation Studios may make films for the whole family to enjoy, but the Disneytoon Studios are focusing solely on the kids. Sit back and enjoy your kids enjoyment rather than focusing on the plot and things will go better.
Ranking: 2 stars out of 5
Have you seen “Tarzan II?” What did you think of it?