A Very Special Edition of The Filthy Critic
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Friends, the Filthy Critic is not one to go to kiddie movies without a good reason. But this past weekend, I had my five-year-old nephew "Little Stinker" over and we went to see "Tarzan." I wanted to rent "Blue Velvet" again but his mother said that Dennis Hopper gave him nightmares for two months the last time. I figured, this will be great, I can see one of these Disney flicks and expand my readership from the usual deadbeats and ingrates. Now the God damn Christian right will want to read my column.
My first impression is that Disney already made a great ape movie in "Jungle Book", so what the fuck are they trying to do here? I suppose make a shitload of money. I will say this, though: it's the better of the ape movies I've seen this summer. It will scare little kids much less than Cuba Gooding, Jr. in "Instinct." Little Stinker's first impression was cute the way kids are cute. He said, "I liked when the monkeys were playing. That was fucking funny."
I shouldn't even bother telling you the story of Tarzan because you'd have to be a dipshit not to already know it. Tarzan is a boy abandoned in the jungle to be raised by gorillas. He is raised as one of their own and learns to live like an ape with no awareness of what humans are. Finally, humans come to the jungle and Tarzan, discovering that he is like them, and that the girl has boobs, befriends them. Upon discovering people, and in particular the very angular Jane, Tarzan has an identity crisis, not unlike the six weeks in high school where I wore a dress. Is he man, is he gorilla? This is a question I ask myself every morning when I wake up. Tarzan's confusion makes him endanger his gorilla family, and it is only when he must fight to save them that he realizes he belong with the apes.
Which is where this movie belongs, too. When I asked Little Stinker what he thought of the plot, he said, "I liked the part where the elephants ran around a lot. I want to be an elephant. My shit would be so big and smell so bad."
Disney must have one of them supercomputers that will eventually take over all our jobs, and they assigned this machine the task of writing their movie script. All of the Disney elements are here: the wacky sidekick, the ultra-good hero with the identity crisis, the evil outsiders, The chance for our hero to right a wrong. It's all done with a mechanical efficiency as though Disney said, "Fuck the audience; if we give them all the Disney pieces then they better like it."
The young gorillas get into some "fun" trouble that we are supposed to be programmed to laugh at, but there is just no "joie de vivre" (thank you for that term, Mrs. Filthy). That's because whoever made the movie was more interested in technical perfection than fun. There are lots of mandatory little musical numbers, and some very important sounding ones, which the always-annoying Phil Collins croons with more false sincerity than you'll see at a socialite party for a celebrated gay artist. I'm sure they'll sell a ton of soundtracks that people will stop listening to in a couple months. In fact Little Stinker did not walk out of the movie humming any of the songs. He was singing, "I want McDonald's! I want McDonald's! If I don't get McDonald's I'll tell Aunt Filthy about that magazine you bought at the liquor store."
There's not much to say about Tarzan. He's a very boring guy with a steroid enhanced body and without any of the little boy charm of Mowglie. He does lots of neat stuff, but the movie is set at such a hyperspeed that no kid will be able to understand the action. Little Stinker could only "I have to pee... right now!"
I suppose the movie looks good, but it looks too good. I would
rather see more warmth and charm but they seem to have squeezed
that out in order to show more fancy scenery. I give the movie
a lowly two fingers and say rent "Jungle Book"
because it's rocks. Little Stinker gave it three fingers.
He gave the McDonald's afterwards five fingers. He also
gave the mud puddle in the parking lot five fingers.