A lot of people ask me what my favourite Disney movie is and then get really surprised when I tell them. See, they expect my favourite to be “Tangled”, “Princess and the frog” or “Brave” ect. I do love all of those but my favourite Disney movie is Tarzan.
It baffles me that I am still the only person that loves Tarzan more than all the other Disney’s that I’ve met. They’ll say ‘well it was a good movie but it wasn’t amazing…” Why?! Why can’t Tarzan be amazing? However, I’ve never always loved Tarzan, so here’s the main reasons why I absolutely adore this movie and hopefully I can convince some of you to watch it again and find a new love for it! (I can’t believe I have to say this but this post does have major spoilers in it so if for some strange reason you haven’t watched it GO WATCH IT NOW!!!)
First and foremost I’m a sucker for equality and Tarzan promotes equality really well. Teaching kids that two people that look completely different can be friends is in my opinion, possibly one of the most important things that a child can grow up knowing. Okay, so I know it’s about man and monkey living in harmony but kids can take things and apply them to different situations in a heartbeat. For me, the scene where Tarzan’s mother explains to him that it doesn’t matter what he looks like is the best scene to illustrate this. Tarzan is found rubbing mud all over his body in a desperate attempt to make himself look more like a gorilla. Kala (his mother) cleans him off and and shows him that they both have two eyes, five fingers, two ears and lastly, they both have a heart. I always get so touched by this gentle, simple explanation and it can be used to teach children about equality, animal cruelty, you name it.
Secondly, the music is absolutely out of this world and the lyrics are some of the most meaningful lyrics ever to be in a Disney movie.
“no words describe a Mothers tears, no words can heal a broken heart.”
“Take strength from those that need you.”
“In learning you will teach and in teaching you will learn.”
Are some of the lyrics you’ll hear in Phil Collin’s songs. I often feel that when there are songs in movies they don’t contribute anything new to the story. They’re just there to fill out the movie and make it more “child friendly”. *cough* Frozen *cough cough* Well, you know what else is also child friendly? And Adult friendly? And just about all people everywhere friendly? A talented musician who knows how to move the story along with simple yet powerful songs.
Third but not last is how Disney didn’t market this movie for anyone. Yes, it might seem like it’s more geared towards boys on the surface but in reality it’s got plenty for boys, girls and everyone outside and in between. They didn’t think “well, we’re known for making movies for girls so we better do that” or “We should get more boys watching our movies let’s make a film for them” (I’m looking at you Cars.) For once, it seems that Disney had an idea and thought “What the hell, let’s just make a movie, who cares who watches it?” which is something I really appreciate. I love it when movie makers create just for the pure love of creating and not worrying about who their target audience is and how they can design the characters so factories can mass produce overly expensive plushies of them.
Forth, Tarzan. I mean, need I say more? He is a great role model for anyone of any age. He loves all animals apart from the ones that try and hurt him or the people he loves. When he sees Jane he doesn’t think “Aaaaah! Something I’ve never seen before!!” and runs away, he saves her life and recognises that she looks kind of similar to him, even though the best reflection of himself he’s seen is in rivers. His first reaction to any living creature is to find out more about it and befriend it if he can. Even when he (this really is major plot-ruining spoilers now) discovers a picture of his real parents he still sees his mother as the person who brought him up and taught him- a gorilla. Yet amazingly still, when given the opportunity to kill the man who tries to poach his pack and kill him, Tarzan recognises that he can be different and chooses to spare his life.
Fifth, Jane. I can’t not mention Jane, she’s one of the best heroines I’ve seen. Yes, sometimes she’s a bit ditzy but for once that’s not a trait she’s got just because she’s a girl, she actually inherits it from her father. She’s so accepting, brave and smart. And truly talented, I mean did you see the drawing she did of Tarzan just from a fleeting glimpse of him? The movie wasn’t afraid to make her funny either. Disney constantly falls into the trap of making women “proper” or in today’s Disney movies “empowered”. If I’m being honest, I’m getting a bit sick of all the girl power that’s going on right now. I just want a movie that shows a natural woman with an actual personality doing normal things. And boom. Jane fits right into the “hey, I’m just a normal woman” category. I feel like Disney needs more women like her, that are just regular women and not a character specifically designed to be a stance on Disney’s feelings towards what’s going on in the world.
I could go on for aaaages but I won’t bore you any longer. It just annoys me that a lot of people really over look Tarzan and don’t give the movie a proper chance. It’s not just about swinging on vines in the jungle and hanging around with monkeys. It’s about love, trust, loyalty and friendship. I hope you’ll give it another chance because when I did, I watched it three times in one day and never looked back.