Tarzan (2013 film)

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Tarzan
Tarzan sees the meteor that crashed into the Earth 70,000,000 years ago.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Reinhard Klooss
Produced by Reinhard Klooss[1]
Robert Kulzer[1]
Screenplay by Reinhard Klooss[2]
Jessica Postigo[2]
Yoni Brenner[3]
Based on Tarzan of the Apes by
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Starring Kellan Lutz
Spencer Locke
Joe Cappelletti
Mark Deklin
Jaime Ray Newman
Anton Zetterholm
Music by David Newman
Cinematography Marcus Eckert
Edited by Alexander Dittner
Production
company
Distributed by Constantin Film (Germany)
Summit Entertainment (United States)
Release dates
October 17, 2013 (Russia, premiere)
February 20, 2014 (Germany)
Running time
94 minutes
Country Germany
Language English
Box office $42,468,090[4]

Tarzan (released as Tarzan 3D in some markets.[2]) is a German 3D computer-animated motion capture film directed and produced by German producer Reinhard Klooss which was released on October 17, 2013 in Russia. The film was released across early 2014 in other countries. The film stars the voices of Kellan Lutz, Spencer Locke, Anton Zetterholm, Mark Deklin, Joe Cappelletti, and Jaime Ray Newman. The screenplay was written by Reinhard Klooss, Jessica Postigo[2] and Yoni Brenner.[3] The film is based on the classic book Tarzan of the Apes (1914) by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of many adaptations.

Plot[edit]

65,000,000 years ago, a mountain-sized meteor, bristling with unknown energies, crashed into the Earth in what is now the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, with a major chunk of the object landing in Central Africa. The impact and resulting ecological catastrophe causing the extinction of the dinosaurs.

At the close of the 20th century, wealthy industrialist John Greystoke has been funding an expedition into the jungles of Africa to locate the meteor, now an ages-old legend, and harness its unique energy as a solution to the looming energy crisis. Despite the best efforts by scientist and adventurer James Porter, the expedition is a failure, and John is preparing to leave Africa with his wife, Alice, and their son, John Jr. As their pilot takes them over the jungle, the family sees a lone male mountain gorilla journeying to find a new family. The huge ape makes a threat display at the passing helicopter and continues on his way.

Not far away, the rogue, Tublat, comes across a troop of his fellow gorillas, lead by a silverback male named Kerchak. In a fight for dominance, Kerchak defeats the rogue and begins to return to his mate, Kala, and their newborn child, only for Tublat to deal him a fatal blow by smashing a huge stone over Kerchak's head. Kala and the others can only look on in horror as Tublat asserts his control over the family.

On a course that takes them over a semi-active volcano, the Greystokes' helicopter's instruments begin to go haywire. As the pilot struggles to regain control, they find themselves over the resting site of the meteor, now a mountain in the heart of the jungle and guarded by baboons. Landing to investigate, John explores a cave that leads him into the heart of the mountain, where he discovers rock formations that glow with a pulsing red light. Using his pickax, John attempts to collect a sample for study, only to cause a chain reaction that awakens the nearby volcano. Despite their best efforts to escape, the helicopter crashes, and only John Jr. is spared. Johnny is discovered by Kala, who has recently lost her child to Tublat's regime after he falls to his death into the valley, and taken back to her nest, where the kindly she-ape nurses him back to health. Befriending three young gorillas, Johnny is adopted into the troop and discards his former identity, choosing to be called "Tarzan", a name he made up meaning "Ape with no fur".

As the years go pass, Tarzan grows up learning the ways and skills of the jungle animals, such as monkeys and a leopard. By the time he is a teenager, his senses and reflexes are honed to such a point that he can catch a striking viper with one hand. Tarzan and his friends spend their days exploring the jungle, playing pranks on each other and being thorns in Tublat's side. One day, after venturing further than his friends are willing to go, Tarzan catches sight of a group of humans in a jeep. In the years since the Greystokes' disappearance, Dr. James Porter has continued to fund his expeditions by acting as a jungle guide for wealthy tourists. On this particular trip, he is joined by his daughter Jane Porter, who is spending her summer vacation with him.

During a routine photographic safari, the Porters' latest clients' son wanders away from the group and unwraps a candy bar, unwittingly attracting the attention of a large, dinosaur-like flightless bird. Jane saves him by attracting the bird's attention but it soon chases her, along with others of its kind. Jane manages to escape, only to be bitten on the arm by a viper nesting in the bushes. Tarzan, infatuated with the young woman, scoops her up and carries her to a shelter, watching over her all night. The next day, still woozy from the snake's venom, but very much alive, Jane stumbles back into her father's camp. With only vague, fever-dream images of Tarzan in her mind, Jane cannot truly explain her rescue and chocks most of it up to a bad dream. Still, as she and her father drive away, Jane whispers a good-bye to her rescuer and leaves one of her bandages behind. Tarzan picks it up and carries it back home.

Confused and frustrated by exposure to humans after so long, Tarzan becomes inconsolable. He ignores the company of Kala and his gorilla friends and leaves the troop's territory. His wanderings eventually bring him back to the sight of the helicopter crash, where long-forgotten memories come flooding back to him. Tarzan finds a meteor stone which his father had taken as sample. Tarzan builds a shelter out of branches and bamboo around the crash and makes it his retreat, gathering anything interesting he can find it from the wreck, including his father's hunting knife.

As the years continue to roll by, Tarzan, now a man, returns to his retreat to find Tublat nosing around. Using a combination of his father's hunting knife and intimidation, Tarzan chases the silverback away and sets about putting his hideaway back in order. Unknown by Tarzan during his rummaging, Tublat activated the helicopter's emergency beacon. The transmission is received by Greystoke Energies in New York. William Clayton, CEO of the company since John and Alice's disappearance, knowing what his former employer was looking for, sees only a chance to make money. When the office is visited by Jane Porter, now a young woman working for a conservation group, Clayton plays on her hopes, promising to fund her group if she will accompany him and his assistant to Africa to speak with her father.

It is only in Africa where Clayton's true nature is revealed: cold, cruel, and calculating. He is willing to threaten the very lives of the Porters in order to get what he wants and has no care for what might happen if the meteor is disturbed. Disgusted by his callousness, Jane leaves the party and wanders into the jungle where Tarzan all but immediately finds her. Astounded by seeing her rescuer again after all the years in between, Jane begins to travel with Tarzan, who helps her survive the various dangers of the jungle until they reach his refuge. Tarzan, as a mark of love, chips off a piece of the meteor rock and gives it to Jane, when she realizes the meteor was never a legend and it really is hidden in the jungle. When the rest of the group tracks Jane down to Tarzan's hideaway in a helicopter, Clayton is shocked to find the Greystoke heir alive and well, and thus a threat to his power. Clayton opens fire on Tarzan and Jane with a high-powered rifle, attempting to kill Tarzan. Fleeing for their lives, Tarzan and Jane are forced to enter a mysterious valley, which has come under the effects of the meteor's unique energies for millions of years, causing bizarre mutations in the local flora and fauna. Ordinary jungle plants become dangerous predatory monsters. After using his knife to defeat one of these beasts, Tarzan and Jane find their way into a twisting labyrinth of caves that goes on for miles, finally finding their way into the heart of the meteor itself. Here, Tarzan discovers his father's long abandoned pickaxe from all those years ago, and utters a single word, "Greystoke". It is here where Jane realizes Tarzan's true identity as John and Alice Greystoke's son and heir. She asks how Tarzan has survived alone in the jungle all these years, to which the wild man replies that his family took care of him.

Back in the gorilla troop's nesting ground, Kala continues to worry over her son. Just then, one of Tarzan's friends gallops up to her and alerts her to Tarzan's homecoming and the fact he has apparently taken a mate during his time away. Tarzan happily embraces his friends and family and introduces Jane to Kala, who is overjoyed at her son's choice in a female. Unfortunately, the happy reunion is cut short by Tublat, who is enraged at Tarzan's return. Finally having enough of Tublat's selfish and bullying behavior toward the family, Tarzan challenges him for the right to lead, and willingly forgoes his knife. At first, Tublat dominates the fight with his brute strength, but Tarzan demonstrates quick thinking and catches the tyrant by surprise, bringing Tublat to the flat of his back, defeated. Rather than kill the rogue, Tarzan allows Tublat to live with his humiliation and exiles him from the troop. His long-time enemy defeated, Tarzan ascends to the high rocks overlooking the nesting grounds and beats his chest, letting out a loud, long cry of victory (the famous ape man cry). That night, under the stars, Jane and Tarzan admit to their love.

Jane and Tarzan discover that Dr. James Porter's base camp has been transformed into a virtual armed base by an army of mercenaries Clayton has brought. Jane realizes that her father will not stop unless he finds her, and that in turn might endanger Tarzan, Kala and the gorilla family's entire home. She decides to head back. Clayton sees Jane heading back to the camp and notices the stone Tarzan gave her. Tarzan watches the events unfold from a distance and shows up, sensing danger as Clayton and his men hold Jane at gunpoint. Clayton knows almost immediately that he is talking to the heir of Greystoke Energies. Kala, who followed Jane and Tarzan, runs in to protect them, much to Tarzan's horror, and gets shot by Clayton, falling unconscious. Tarzan is attacked from behind and locked in a cage.

On regaining consciousness, he sees Kala lying on the ground motionless. Luckily, Tarzan's gorilla friends locate him and free him. Tarzan picks Kala up and moves into the jungle where he treats Kala's wound, leaving her under the protection of his friends. Tarzan, now determined to put an end to Clayton's discovery, reaches the mountain where the meteor is hidden. Clayton, meanwhile has moved all his resources up the mountain and has rigged the place with explosives, not realizing that the resulting chain reaction could cause another mass extinction. Jane and Dr. James Porter are tied to pole and left there to die. Tarzan starts killing the henchmen and frees Jane. James decides to stay back and cut the wires leading from the detonator to the explosives, stating someone has to stay behind. As Jane and Tarzan come out of the cave, Clayton holds them at gunpoint. Tarzan summons his jungle friends with a loud cry. In the ensuing battle between mankind and wildlife, the meteor awakens the nearby volcano as it did 15 years ago and the mountain begins to give way. Jane and Tarzan escape, but he throws a huge rock at Clayton's helicopter, bringing Clayton and his crew down to their deaths. Jane and Tarzan return to the nesting ground and reunite with the family. They are overjoyed to see Kala recovered from the gunshot. Tarzan and Jane vow before the troop to continue to protect their jungle home, and all its hidden secrets, from any who would exploit them. James Porter is shown to be alive and well, having recovered a large chunk of meteor rock from the cave-in to continue his research.

Cast[edit]

  • Kellan Lutz as Tarzan, a man who was raised by apes from infancy following his survival of a helicopter crash that killed his parents.[5]
    • Craig Garner as 4-year-old Tarzan
    • Anton Zetterholm as a teenage Tarzan
  • Spencer Locke as Jane Porter, the love interest of Tarzan.[5]
  • Jaime Ray Newman as Alice Greystoke, Tarzan's late mother who died in a helicopter crash along with her husband.[6]
  • Robert Capron as Derek
  • Mark Deklin as John Greystoke, the late father of Tarzan and former CEO of Greystoke Energies before his and his wife's death. Before their death, John was exploring the site of an ancient meteorite crash, and was on the brink of a discovery.[3]
  • Trevor St. John as William Clayton, the greedy CEO of Greystoke Energies who sends a mercenary army to eliminate Tarzan and Jane.[6]
  • Brian Huskey as Smith
  • Faton Millanaj as Miles
  • Maximilian Nepomuk Allgeier as Pilot 2
  • Christian Serritiello as Chris
  • Brian Bloom as Miller
  • Andy Wareham as Tublat
  • Jeff Burrell as Derek's Father

Production[edit]

The film's motion capture was shot in the Bavaria Film studio in Munich, and the animation process was worked on in two studios, one in Bavaria and the other in Hannover.[7]

Release[edit]

The film was reportedly set to premiere in Germany on October 17, 2013.[8] although its release date is now set for February 20, 2014 after its release in several other countries.

On 24 April 2014, the Dublin premiere of the film was in aid of conservation charity Ape Action Africa, supported by the lead, Kellan Lutz, who is himself interested in conservation.[9]

Home media[edit]

Tarzan was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 5, 2014.

Reception[edit]

Tarzan received predominantely negative reviews from critics, who panned the film's storyline and animation. On review aggerator Rotten Tomatoes, it holds an 17% "rotten" rating, based on 24 reviews from critics.[10] Peter Debruge of Variety called it "an eyesore for anyone above the age of 10 — literally, for those opting to see it in badly miscalibrated 3D".[11] Jordan Mintzer of The Hollywood Reporter said, "All of this feels awfully simplistic, like a 10-minute cartoon sketch bloated into a full-length movie, and one that's backed by an over-explanatory voiceover that can sometimes sound awkward."[12] Reagan Gavin Rasquinha of The Times of India rated it 2 out of 5 stars, calling it "a slipshod rendering of a classic."[13]

Angie Errigo of Empire rated it 2 out of 5, saying, "Ponderously plotted and unwonderfully animated, this will disappoint audiences spoilt by Pixar-grade animations."[14] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian said, "Here's a muddled and dull new family film about Tarzan, who in keeping with tradition is as clean-shaven and all-over hairless as any male stripper."[15] Neil Smith of Total Film said, "Phil Collins songs aside, the last animated Tarzan marked the final flourish of the Disney Renaissance and coined a whopping $448M worldwide. This computer-generated mo-cap version can’t help to compete, even without a club-footed updating that turns Edgar Rice Burrough’s loinclothed apeman into a tree-hugger defending his jungle against capitalists." and added "Having trashed one icon in The Legend Of Hercules, Kellan Lutz shafts another with vocals admittedly well-suited to the muscle-bound mannequin. What really sabotages Reinhard Klooss’ film, though, is a subplot involving a meteorite-derived power source."[16]

References[edit]

External links[edit]