(Revisiting the Renaissance is a bi-weekly series in which Josh Spiegel looks back at the history and making of the 13 films of the Disney Renaissance, released between 1986 and 1999. In today’s column, he discusses the 1999 film Tarzan.)
A couple of weeks ago, Robert Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, made news (as the CEO of one of the most powerful companies in the world is wont to do) by implying that Disney and Apple could have merged had Steve Jobs lived longer. This tidbit is part of Iger’s new book, The Ride of a Lifetime; the possibility of a merger between the entertainment company and the tech giant was mentioned in an excerpt published in Vanity Fair. Any Disney fan would do well to read at least this excerpt, if not the entire book, for a number of reasons. Specific to this series of essays, Iger’s passion and belief in the power of animation as it relates to Disney is undeniable, though how he defines some of the late-90s and early-00s-era Disney films is fascinating, if somewhat baffling.
To wit, Iger talks about what happened with Walt Disney Animation Studios after the sterling success of The Lion King. He acknowledges some expensive failures (though he includes Hercules and Fantasia 2000, neither of which — on their surface — seem like failures), and others that he defines as “modest successes”, including a 1999 release that was the third-biggest Disney Renaissance hit at the box office, and is one of the biggest animated hits of the last 25 years.
How is it, then, that the CEO of the Walt Disney Company would feel comfortable calling Tarzan, an adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ iconic character, merely a modest success?
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(Welcome to Nostalgia Bomb, a series where we take a look back on beloved childhood favorites and discern whether or not they’re actually any good. In this edition: a look back at Disney’s post-rennaisance animated output, including The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, and Hercules.)
When people think of Disney, they often jump to the classics – Bambi, Dumbo, Snow White, and so on. But my generation has a different list. We were raised on the studio’s late ’80s and early ’90s “renaissance” titles, including Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and The Lion King. But after 1995, the seemingly unstoppable Disney animation machine began to slow down. The films of the late ’90s live on as childhood favorites, not undisputed classics.
And that brings me to the question of the moment: some 20 years later, do these later films of the renaissance era hold up? Are their charms enough to cover their bigger flaws? Is it all nostalgia or are some of these true cinematic gems? Please keep your arms, feet and legs inside the vehicle at all times, because we’re about to take a trip to the late-’90s era of the House of Mouse.
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Any Pixar Animation fan can tell you that the computer animation studio loves to sneak characters from their upcoming movies into the preceding releases that hit theaters. We even featured a video that shows off a kind of Russian nesting doll of Pixar characater Easter eggs. But they’re not the only ones to have some fun with their character library.
Walt Disney Animation has been putting character Easter eggs in their movies for years, and a new video points out some of them. It’s not quite as organized like the chronological Pixar video, but it does have some Disney Easter eggs that I wasn’t aware of at all. Watch below! Read More »
If you’re a Hulu subscriber, get ready to ring in the new year with a bunch of movies from Walt Disney Studios.
The House of Mouse has just signed a new mutli-year deal with Hulu that gives the streaming service the exclusive subscription streaming rights to a bunch of movies from Disney’s library. This includes animated favorites such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, Mulan, Tarzan, Pocahontas and Lilo & Stitch, as well as live-action movies from Disney’s Touchstone Pictures banner such as Gone in 60 Seconds, Pearl Harbor, Con-Air and more.
Find out more about the new Hulu Disney movies deal after the jump. Read More »
For collectors of pop culture artwork, there’s a treasure trove of fine prints available to buy every single week. It’s enough to empty one’s bank account over and over again. This week we have some stunning new artwork from artists Matt Taylor, Matt Ryan Tobin and Matt Ferguson. No, they haven’t all joined forces for some kind of Matt-centric gallery, but they just happen to have some great pieces paying tribute to Tarzan of the Apes, A Princess of Mars The Fly and Star Trek Beyond.
Check out all of the new Matt Taylor, Matt Ryan Tobin and Matt Ferguson artwork after the jump. Read More »
Following an unexpected success with the ’80s rom-com Mannequin, the reasons why a sequel were made are about as interesting (and artistically-driven) as one would imagine. But one aspect of that sequel—Mannequin 2: On the Move—that’s especially interesting is the film’s director: Stewart Raffill.
Stewart Raffill is a guy who broke into the business by training lions, tigers and bears. A guy who directed an award-winning sci-fi film and then, three years later, took home the Razzie for worst director. And also a guy who wrote one of my favorite childhood films, although the version I saw was much different from the one he had envisioned. I sat down with Raffill to discuss all those things and, of course, get the inscape scoop on Mannequin 2. Read More »
Since Disney’s adaptation of John Carter of Mars didn’t work out too well, maybe Warner Bros. will have more luck updating a more grounded novel from Edgar Rice Burroughs in The Legend of Tarzan.
True Blood and The East star Alexander Skarsgård takes the title role of the man who was raised in the jungle by a family of apes. However, this approach to Tarzan finds the character already removed from the jungles of Africa, living with his wife Jane (Margot Robbie) far away from his former home. But then some kind of scheme brings him back to the jungle, where his enemies will learn how he survived in the wild for so long. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 by Angie Han
David Yates has spent most of the past decade immersed in the Harry Potter universe, and he just recently headed back there to direct the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. But in between, he took a little detour to the wilds of Africa for 2016’s The Legend of Tarzan.
Based on the classic creation by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan stars Alexander Skarsgård as the lord of the jungle and Margot Robbie as his beloved Jane. The twist this time, however, is that the story won’t be about Tarzan getting civilized — it’ll be about an already-civilized Tarzan learning how to get wild again. Get your Tarzan first look after the jump. Read More »
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Posted on Friday, August 14th, 2015 by Angie Han
Disney’s animated films aren’t really a “shared universe” the way Disney’s Marvel films are, but that hasn’t stopped fans from making connections between them all the same. One popular theory posits Tarzan is actually the younger brother of Elsa and Anna from Frozen, born after the King and Queen of Arendelle embark on their ill-fated trip.
It’s a cute idea, but could it possibly be true? In a new interview, Chris Buck — who co-directed both Frozen and Tarzan — addresses the Frozen Tarzan theory, and adds another new wrinkle to consider. Read his comments on the Frozen Tarzan theory after the jump. Read More »
Not to be outdone by rival Disney, Warner Bros. has renewed their deal with IMAX to release 30 films in the format over the next few years. The news comes two weeks after Disney renewed a similar deal to release films like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Captain America: Civil War in IMAX.
Under Warner Bros. deal, films such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (which shot with IMAX cameras), David Yates’ Tarzan, Guy Ritchie’s Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur, Ron Howard’s In The Heart of the Sea, the Harry Potter Spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Andy Serkis’ Jungle Book: Origins, Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla 2, the LEGO Movie sequels and all other upcoming DC movies (Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, etc.) will be digitally remastered for the premium format. Read more about the Warner Bros IMAX deal below. Read More »