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Tarzan (3D)


Stars: Voices: Kellan Lutz, Spencer Locke, Brian Bloom, Les Bubb, Trevor St John, Mark Deklin

Director: Reinhard Klooss

It hardly seems a decade or more since the Disney cartoon feature about Edgar Rice Burroughs' famous tree-swinger, but here's a German version, which has the Lord of the Apes careering through the jungle in much the same way as Spider-Man sweeps through the skyscrapers of New York.

The plot is the while nine yards, plus a storyline that could (and probably did) see service in one of Johnny Weissmuller's black and white jungle jaunts of the 1940s.

Millions of years ago, a huge meteor crashes deep in the African rainforest, setting up a jagged tower of rock that glows red when touched. Cut to the chase, and Greystoke (American in this version) and his wife perish searching for the meteor, although their small son survives the crash of their helicopter and is brought up by a childless mountain gorilla.

As a teenager (Lutz), he first encounters the teenage Jane (Locke), daughter of his father's old partner, but she disappears from his life until he reaches adulthood. Jane returns to Africa, however, when her father's exploration project is bankrolled by a giant corporation, which is naturally out to harness the meteor's power for financial gain, threatening the gorillas' habitat.

The effects boys give us vertiginous jungle views in 3D and impressive CGI gorillas, but there's about as much animation in the human faces as the puppets in Thunderbirds; not even Tarzan and Jane really spring to life, and the delivery of the English dialogue (which admittedly sounds as though it were ripped from balloons in a comic-book) is ordinary at best.

A good sequence towards the end has Tarzan and Jane dodging assorted watery and vegetative monsters which have evolved 'under the influence of the meteor's mysterious energy', but Tarzan's rock-throwing feat at the climax really is too much to swallow.

David Quinlan

Germany 2013. UK Distributor: Entertainment One. Colour (unspecified).
94 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 29 Apr 2014