By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Arad Animation, 41 Entertainment and Arc Productions are behind the latest animated adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ heroic couple. Tarzan and Jane has a very good serialized story to bring pulp style adventure to a new generation of youths growing up on Netflix instead of Disney. I enjoyed Disney’s take from 2001-03. It was more of a comedy than tales taken from the original author’s work. This latest version is no different.
Avi Arad is producing this latest venture, and his influence upon the production can be felt. He is better known for overseeing Marvel Studios many animated productions like Spider-man up until 2006 (he resigned and formed his own company) and the style is still there. Instead of swinging through a concrete city on threads of a spider and saving people from crime, this jungle hero uses vines and has illegal animal traders. From a creation episode to explain Tarzan’s supernatural origins to establishing Jane as an equal than love interest, this new animated version has enough to like for the messages it conveys, but you just have to weed through the action to find it. The theme of animal conservation is important because animals do not deserve to be put into private zoos.
Instead of adult versions of the key characters, this take reinterprets the duo as teens going to high school. The reason is to get youths interested in this series. Thankfully, the series does not bore audiences with academic antics. By mid-season, Tarzan realizes he belongs to two worlds and has to figure out exactly where he truly fits. I wondered how this re-imagining would work if it was based on Jungle Tales of Tarzan (1919) where the stories took place during this jungle lord’s late teen years than get re-imagined for a modern age. I did get a chuckle out of him trying to use a smartphone.
Sadly, the designs and computer rendering is on par with modestly budgeted television series than a movie. After a few episodes, I got used to it since I enjoyed the how each episode was building from each other. Trying to figure out who the master villain was too easy, but I had to binge watch to confirm. Sadly the run is very short, only eight episodes, and there might be a season two. It’s hard to tell since this cartoon is nothing super special. Although Tarzan and Jane are champions for a cause, they are having a hard time convincing everyone except for their own families. As a diversion for a Saturday morning, it works, but I’m just not quite ape over it yet.
3 Stars out of 5