Tarzan & the Lost City

TARZAN & THE LOST CITY. 1998

Director: Carl Schenkel

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Tarzan & the Lost City was inspired by (but by no means based on) Edgar Rice Burroughs' 1915 novel The Return of Tarzan wherein Tarzan first encountered the Atlantean city of Opar.

This is a pretty good film if you ignore inane dialogue, gaping holes in the plot, the foolishness of dragging civilized Jane (played by the attractive Jane Marsh) around the jungle merely to serve as kidnap victim, & a villain (Steve Waddington) who is too stupidly psychotic to be a worthy adversary.

On the plus side, the tale sometimes seems more Haggardesque than most Burroughs adaptations by right of the lost race motif being set in the early 1900s & the addition of the supernatural all more reminiscent of H. Rider Haggard than ERB.

Casper Van Dien makes a pretty Tarzan & his major scene leaping through trees with his ape-tribe is pretty darned exciting. His friendship with tribal people is for a change convincing & not condescending. There's a solid effort on the part of the creators to give the African characters real & powerful roles -- indeed, Tarzan would be dead meat without the fascinating protective sorcery of Mughambi (Winston Ntshona).

The story equally has the good sense not to let any black character kill himself specifically for Tarzan's sake in the "You're a better man than I Gungha Din" mode of romantic racism; the plot provided ample opportunity for such an error, as when Kaya (Rapulana Seiphemo) who hates all whites including Tarzan realizes Tarzan's pretty cool & joins forces with him & holds his own as an equal to the end.

Another real star for the film is the lost city of Opar itself, memorally designed by Syd Cain. Location shots in South Africa are certainly well chosen.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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