Story

Tarzan is an animated adaptation of the classic story of a boy who grows up in the jungle. John (Kellan Lutz) is left alone in the jungle after his parents die in a helicopter crash. They had been investigating a mountain-sized meteor that hit the earth 70 million years earlier.

A gorilla who has lost her own child adopts John, and he takes a new identity and the name ‘Tarzan’. He grows up as part of the gorilla’s band, abandoning human speech and behaviour until a scientific explorer comes to the jungle in search of the meteor. The scientist’s daughter, Jane (Spencer Locke), eventually runs into Tarzan. Jane and Tarzan start to fall in love with each other.

But greedy company men now working at Greystoke Energies – the company founded by Tarzan’s father – want to use the power of the meteor for their own selfish ends. Clayton (Joe Cappalletti), the Greystoke CEO, captures Jane and her father, but has to battle with Tarzan as a result. 

Themes

Loss of parents; abuse of power; scientific exploration; identity

Violence

Tarzan has some violence. For example:

  • Gorillas kick, punch and throw each other around.
  • Tarzan shoots a mango from a sling at one of the members of Greystoke Energies, to capture Jane’s attention. The mango hits him in the head.
  • Clayton threatens Jane’s father by saying ‘That’s a very pretty daughter you’ve got there, Porter. You wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to her, would you?’
  • A crocodile nearly bites Jane, but Tarzan wrestles with it underwater and kills it with a knife.
  • Clayton sees Jane with Tarzan and tries to shoot Tarzan with a rifle.
  • Tarzan and the leading gorilla have a physical fight about letting Jane stay with the gorillas. The gorilla throws Tarzan around and pushes him off a cliff ledge, but Tarzan climbs back up.
  • Tarzan sneaks onto the Greystone Energies base where Jane is being held. He knocks out several of the watchmen by punching or kicking them.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Tarzan has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • After John cuts into the meteor, the volcano starts erupting fireballs. The ground starts to crack and break apart.
  • Some of the gorillas could be quite scary for younger children.

From 5-8
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Tarzan has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • One of the younger apes falls off a cliff as its mother watches, looking sad and horrified. The mother ape also loses her husband in a firestorm straight afterwards.
  • Tarzan’s parents die in the helicopter crash, and he is left alone to fend for himself until a gorilla discovers him.
  • Clayton shoots Tarzan’s gorilla mother, who seems to be dead. She wakes up, however, having only been tranquilised.

From 8-13
Nothing of concern

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references
Tarzan has some sexual references, including when Jane describes Tarzan to her dad. She says, ‘It’s a jungle, not a pick-up bar’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances
None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity
None of concern

Product placement
There is no product placement of concern in Tarzan itself, but some associated merchandise is being marketed to children.

Coarse language
Tarzan includes some insults and name-calling that children might copy.

Ideas to discuss with your children
Tarzan 3D is the latest version of a classic story. It hasn’t had a good critical reception, but it is a heart-warming story that shows the power of love as well as the devastation of loss.

The movie emphasises the idea that humans and animals need a family and someone to love them. For example, Tarzan loses his parents when he’s very young, and he is devastated again when he thinks he has lost his gorilla mother. After meeting Jane, Tarzan’s life is transformed by love again.

Tarzan 3D isn’t recommended for children under six years, who are likely to find some of the scenes and characters too scary. We recommend parental guidance for children aged 6-8 years, who might need help with some scenes and themes.

You could talk with your children about several issues that come up in this movie. For example:

  • What are the consequences of relationship breakdown and divorce, and what happens when people prioritise work over family?
  • What are the dangers of excessive greed and hunger for money, as well as the consequences for the lives of family members and friends?
  • What effects is global warming having on ecosystems?