Based on the novel Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Okay, let me be really clear here: I have actually read the Tarzan books. All of them. Many times. Edgar Rice Burroughs books were one of the things that got me through the hell that was high school with a modicum of sanity, and I love them dearly.
So you know that the Otter knows whereof she speaks when she says that so far, this is the best adaptation of Tarzan for the screen that I have seen.
Didn’t expect that, did you? This Otter is just full of surprises.
But the thing is, they got the basic story right: shipwreck, parents die, baby adopted by great apes, learns to speak with them and other jungle animals before meeting Europeans, then (when Jane, her father and The Bad Guy come to that part of Africa) meets her, falls in love, and it turns out that he is Lord Greystoke, heir to a fortune and the series goes on from there.
Sure, they are full of purple prose, and are pretty racist toward the native peoples (one of the reasons Burroughs’ Mars books stand up a bit better over time than this series) but DAMN Burroughs could write. In 1944, he was the best paid writer in Hollywood.
So Disney has taken this basic storyline, dressed it up with great animation and some songs, and not dicked around with it too much. Jane is resourceful and scientific (she was pretty resourceful in the books too) and the title that Tarzan would inherit is nowhere mentioned, although the bad guy is called Clayton, which is the family name (and in the book, he has been Lord Greystoke because the heir, who is Tarzan, was thought to be lost)…but really, it has the same feeling to it, of finding out that the world is bigger and different from what you thought, and your place in it has suddenly changed. And you can kick ass and take names when needed, a useful survival skill.
If you like a good story with good animation and a LOT of cute animals and songs, or if you’re a Burroughs fan looking for something better than the other godawful Tarzan movies that have been made up to this point, give this one a try!