Tarzan, a classic and much loved children's story, has been adapted many times since it was written in 1912. In fact, the Internet Movie Database lists 200 movies with Tarzan in the title between 1918 and 2014! This year, it's back on the big screen, this time in spectacular 3D.
I'm not old enough to have seen the original movie (1918) but I've enjoyed later adaptations, including television and cartoon versions. I've read the stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs and even enjoyed Tarzan themed parties (there's nothing quite like a man in a loincloth).
I wondered what more could be done to tell this story differently and I've now been shown.
The new Tarzan movie makes stunning use of 3D CGI animation, the effect being very similar to that experienced in Avatar. The realism of the characters and animals is amazing and the jungle comes to life before the viewer's eyes. The kids will be captivated. What will also appeal to the kids (and hopefully grown-ups) is the contemporary eco-warrier angle that brings something different to the original story.
The action hits the screen in the opening scenes with a giant meteorite striking the Earth and wiping out the dinosaurs. Fast-forward 70 million years to the current day and we find John Greystoke, his wife and son, JJ (aka Tarzan) setting up camp in the jungle determined to find the legendary meteorite. A last ditch effort to locate this treasure triggers a disaster that kills all people on the expedition, except the young Tarzan.
As the story goes, Tarzan is adopted by Kala, a mother ape, who welcomes Tarzan into her home and raises him as her "child" amongst the other animals in the jungle.
The story evolves with the introduction of an unscrupulous executive of Greystoke Energy (the company founded by Tarzan's father) who is obsessed with the lost meteorite believed to possess a unique source of power. Driven by greed and ego, this executive will stop at nothing to find and exploit this energy source. To this end, he dupes an unsuspecting ecologist (Jane) and her father into embarking on an expedition to locate this treasure.
This is where the excitement begins.
There's not a lot in the film that will surprise viewers but the CGI 3D animation will grab your attention and keep you entertained. Also listen out for Coldplay's song, Paradise, during a romantic interlude.
This is a coming of age story for the kids and will be especially enjoyed by those who haven't seen previous film adaptations of this well-told tale. My heart remains with the old black and white versions from the 1930's (I'm a classic movie girl) but this latest offering, with its wonderful use of new animation technology, is entertaining, enjoyable and a feel-good film well worth seeing.
The film is in cinemas September 2014, just in time for the school holidays!