|By UlaFish (deviantart)|
The new Tarzan film really paid attention to detail. In the Disney film it begins with Tarzan and his parents, who are shipwrecked and build a tree house together to live in the jungle. We see Kala lose her baby and we learn that Tarzan's parents were killed by the Sabor (as well as the baby, though in the novel it dies because it falls from it's mothers back). So Kala takes Tarzan and raises him as her own. She does not die, nor does Tarzan find the cabin his parents stayed in. In fact the first time he sees Jane is the first time he ever sees another human-being (because the African Tribe is completely omitted from the equation in this version). However, in the novel Alice Clayton (his mother) and Lord Greystroke (his father) are put on the beach by pirates. The pirates killed the captain and then took over and while they were doing so the Clayton's stayed out of it causing them to live but putting them in an unfortunate position. Thus they are abandoned on the coast of Africa.
The whole novel is a struggle of Clayton adapting to the Jungle, following Tarzan trying to adapt to civilization. It's an interesting story and it's more or less used in the new Tarzan film (which is (I think) based on one of the 22 sequels). His mother dies for no apparent reason (very dramatically I might add), then his father is killed by the Apes, Kala is killed by a boy and Tarzan kills the boy (which causes the father to want to kill him, which is basically the reason why Tarzan was send to Africa in this story). However, it has also changed the plot on other elements. For example, he meets another African tribe after meeting Jane (who lives with the tribe), even though he previously killed the boy and thus had already seen humans. So even though the tribe is not omitted in this version, it has slightly changed the essence of the tribe. Why? Well, because (in the novel) the African tribe appears to be more savage than the apes with whom Tarzan lives. They are said to be cannibals and they are not as friendly or kind as the apes. This is also why Disney deleted the tribe, simply because the racism surrounding these people would have been problematic. They decided to delete it all together to avoid these problems (which in turn also makes it racist but hey, they tried I guess. Disney is known to be racist anyways).
Reading the novel made me see the Disney film in different light, but it also gave me the opportunity to view the new film as 'not bad'. I can really appreciate his silent nature in this version, simply because I read what he had to go through to get to that point. It really addresses his brooding nature. He's too happy and cheeky in Disney's but that makes sense too because it had to be family friendly. Making him silent and brooding also gives depth to the relationship between Jane and Tarzan. She's happy, sweet and almost childish; he's strong, sweet and silent. It made it feel so raw and real. There are loads of films in which couples are separated and then there's some suspense before we (as a viewer) know whether one of them survived or not. And some may think it was dramatic, I just perceived it as painfully real. I now realise that I haven't really talked about Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), but guys.. it's so boring. Tarzan does not talk at all. He's really dull in this version simply because he never taught himself to read/write, nor did anyone teach him to speak. So it's basically Jane screaming and babbling the whole time. Also the plot is changed dramatically. To such an extent that I wouldn't even have recognized it as Tarzan in different circumstances. It almost reminded me of George of the Jungle. I hope you enjoyed this entry. Let me know which tale you'd like to know more about next :)