How do you spell pointless rip-off artists? D-I-S-N-E-Y!
Someone needs to stop the Walt Disney Corporation right now. They need to thaw Uncle Walt, reanimate his idealistic corpse, and send him on a Mouse House cleaning. They overrun countries and conquer metropolitan areas with their homogenized, patronizing product. They over-commercialize their heritage and slaughter timeless productions. They gut long time favorite attractions at Disney Land and World in favor of mediocre movie tie-ins and mass merchandised mierda. The grace and grandeur of original wonderworks like Pinocchio or Peter Pan are squandered for the sake of an extra Euro. It is just criminal. Beauty and the Beast deserved its best picture nomination: it is a film of exquisite beauty and touching emotion. Puking out direct to vidiot sequels like Belle Goes to Beauty College or Lumiere Has a Hernia is the work of evil creative imbeciles. Some things don't require an automatic revisit (unless we are talking about Flubber), but when you enlist Pocahontas to save the rainforest, or ask Alice to avoid Wonderland and spend her adventures in Branson instead, you forsake your company's soul for the 'all 'ighty 'ollar and an irritating fast food kid's meal.
While extreme (and solely the property of the reviewer's mind's eye, so no suing or stealing), the above examples indicate the level of contempt one experiences when something like Disney's Tarzan DVD Read-Along drops into their lap. Tarzan, the full-length feature, was a bold Disney experiment: a semi-serious look at the classic jungle story. It became a critical and popular success. Now the Mangy Mouse is trying to milk any money it can out of the ape-raised human, hoping to, yet again, hornswoggle parents out of their hard-earned mortgage payments. Disney has done this before, cross-promoting and diversifying its products and image into a thin, shallow stew of sameness. But when an exceptional film like Tarzan is tarnished for the sake of sales, it should make one angry: Angry that Disney would treat any of its well-loved titles in such a shoddy fashion. Angry that they could not be bothered to provide more than 35 minutes of total entertainment, from stories and songs to so called games. Angry that, when paying your $14.99 retail, you are getting an entire section of advertising disguised as "news and previews." And angry that you must endure more Phil Collins than humans are, technically, allowed under the Geneva Convention. Disney's Tarzan: DVD Read-Along is grifting, plain and simple: a way of slickly prying open your work weary wallet without offering anything of real value or artistic substance in return.
Technically, what's here is adequate. Decent DVD interfacing with the materials. Clear sharp pictures and images. Way too weird videos of the Peter Gabriel wannabe wailing like a bald bland baby. Multi-cultural translations and language features which, once and for all, put to rest the question of how to say "stupid smelly ape" in Italian (answer: Roberto Begnini) What's here morally, though, is far more troubling. Tarzan: Read-Along is product by crash consumerism committee. It reeks of the miniscule amount of time, imagination, or creativity it took to prepare, in direct contrast to the amount of mass marketing and demographics consulted. It plays important, demanding that you bask in the wonderment of its educational pre-eminence and animation superiority. Instead of trying to make something truly interactive and technically advanced, to push DVD to its digital limits, we get the standard Disney cassette and picture book combo platter gussied up for the computer age. But it's all eye candy and no essence. About the only thing a child will learn from Disney's Tarzan: DVD Read-Along is that even their most treasured cartoon memories can and will be destroyed, to be recycled by Mickey's men into ads for body odor and low fat cottage cheese. Some of life's lessons are hard. Parents have Disney to thank for making this one so painful.
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