DVD Rating: ****1/2

Reviewed by: Gary Duncan

Read Gary Duncan's film review of Tarzan

These special features have been cleverly designed with the younger audience in mind. There are lots of them, for starters, enough to fill two discs, but they're accessible and very viewer-friendly. Most are bite-size featurettes of three or four minutes - just about the right length to get younger viewers' full attention but not too long to lose them.

Disc 1 includes deleted scenes and a full-length commentary from directors Chris Buck and Kevin Lima and producer Bonnie Arnold. They discuss the "deep canvas" technology that was developed specifically for the film, which Arnold describes as "3D without the glasses", a technique that enables viewers to see "beyond" the screen, as if they were in the film. The technique works particularly well when Tarzan is swinging through the jungle - you don't just see him swinging from vine to vine, but follow him as he swings "around" trees and swoops through the air.

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The directors also give an insight into the logistics of making a major animation picture and some idea of the scale of the project. The voices alone took two-and-a-half years to complete and, despite their onscreen interaction, the actors behind Tarzan and Jane (Tony Goldwyn and Minnie Driver) were never actually in the same room together. The same applies to the animators - Tarzan was drawn in Disney's Paris office, while Jane was animated in the company's Burbank, California, headquarters.

Besides the usual commentaries and deleted scenes, the package also includes interactive games that viewers can play using their remote controls, while DisneyPedia is an informative but fun look at the real animals behind the animation, with clips of apes and leopards in the wild.

There is also a fascinating look into the painstaking animation process in the Production Progression Demonstration, which traces the story from the initial pencil-sketch storyreel through the rough animation and cleanup animation to the final scene.

As if that weren't enough, there's also something for Phil Collins fans. Collins came up with a handful of songs even before the production got under way and most of these made their way into the final film. We see him jamming in the studio with 'N Sync and there's footage of him doing his bit for the international box office with Spanish, German and Italian versions of the songs. Personally, the English version was more than enough for me, but you have to admire his commitment to the cause, and the thoroughness with which the whole DVD package has been put together.

Reviewed on: 13 May 2005
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Animated version of the ape-man story... with added sugar.
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Product Code: BED881588

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Disc 1: Deleted scenes; music and more: "You'll Be in My Heart" music video, Phil Collins, "Strangers Like Me" music video, Phil Collins, "Trashin' the Camp" studio session with Phil Collins and 'N Sync; games and activities - Terk's Tree Surfing Challenge, Jungle Memory, Banana Round Up, Clayton's Trap, DisneyPedia: Living in the Jungle; audio commentary. Disc 2: History and development featurettes; the music of Tarzan/the making of the music; story and editorial; the characters of Tarzan; animation production; publicity (trailers and posters).

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