Tarzan II appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. As with most Disney animated releases, this one offered very positive visuals.
Across the board, sharpness looked excellent. The movie always displayed excellent clarity. At no point did I notice any signs of softness or fuzziness. Jagged edges and shimmering were absent, and I also saw no edge enhancement. Print flaws remained totally absent.
Given the movie’s jungle setting, greens heavily dominated the palette. All hues were natural and warm. The movie featured these with good distinction and definition. Blacks were deep and firm, while low-light shots demonstrated nice smoothness and detail. I thought the film lacked a certain sparkle to make it truly outstanding, but it was consistently positive and merited an “A-“.
While not as good as the visuals, the audio of Tarzan II worked acceptably well. The DVD boasted Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. I thought the DTS version seemed slightly more robust, but not to a substantial degree, especially when I accounted for differences in volume levels. Overall, the pair appeared very similar.
The soundfield opened things up to an acceptable degree. It featured a surprising amount of directional speech and also presented strong stereo imaging for the music. Effects broadened matters to present a nice sense of environment, and the occasional action scene added greater life. These helped create a reasonably wide soundscape that became reasonably involving.
Audio quality was perfectly solid. Speech consistently came across as natural and crisp, with no issues connected to intelligibility or edginess. Music was bright and bold, as the score demonstrated good definition. Effects also showed nice range and clarity. Bass response was a little restrained but added some kick. The soundtracks worked fine for the material.
Though not packed with extras, Tarzan II adds a few components. The most substantial one comes from Tarzan’s Matter of Facts trivia track. This uses the subtitle stream to present facts about gorillas, elephants, and the other animals seen in the film as well as some information about locations, indigenous plants, and other related tidbits. Clearly oriented at the kiddies, this piece sticks with extremely basic notes that appear infrequently. You might activate this for yours kids to read as they watch the flick, but it won’t offer much for older viewers. It does feature lots of wacky asides that kids in the eight to 12 range will probably enjoy.
Next we find a five-minute and 32-second featurette called Bringing the Legend to Life. It includes the usual assortment of movie clips, behind the scenes elements, and interviews. We hear notes from co-writer/director Brian Smith, vocal artist Tiffany Evans, producer Carolyn Bates, singer/songwriter Phil Collins, and actors Harrison Chad, Estelle Harris, George Carlin, and Glenn Close. They chat about the inspiration for the film, cast and characters, the challenges of voice acting, the music. Unsurprisingly, this short program stays with a fluffy tone and doesn’t tell us a ton of good material, though the comments from the actors add some decent information.
We get a music video for Tiffany Evans’ “Who Am I?” Though it starts with a minor fantasy premise, the video ends up as just another combination of lip-synching and movie clips. It’s better than average for the form, but that doesn’t mean much, and it seems pretty lackluster.
Under “Games and Activities”, two elements appear. Gorilla Grumble requires you to remember patterns of beatings administered by two primate punks. It’s not a gimme, but it’s not that difficult either. Correct completion results in no concrete reward.
For the other component, we get Tantor and Terk’s Jungle Guide. Here you can select from 12 various jungle animals and learn factoids - and misfactoids from Tantor and Terk - about the critters. The information remains basic, so expect a program aimed at the kiddies. The goofy misinformation from Tantor and Terk is surprisingly amusing, though.
Inside the Sneak Peeks area, we get the usual allotment of ads. We find promos for Cinderella, Chicken Little, Lilo & Stitch 2, Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween, Bambi and the Great Prince of the Forest, Kronk’s New Groove and Power Rangers SPD.
Occasionally the folks at Disney produce good “direct to video” efforts. Tarzan II isn’t one of them. It works better than many but that’s more of a reflection on the lackluster quality of so many of these releases. Tarzan II remains relentlessly average. The DVD presents very strong picture plus positive audio and a mix of minor supplements. Unless you or your kids just adore the Tarzan, leave this forgettable program on the shelves.