'Tarzan''s death scene has kids breaking into tears
But the directors and star Glenn Close defend the artistic merit of the film's disturbing opening
Shades of ”Bambi”: At a recent press screening of Disney’s new animated blockbuster ”Tarzan,” a handful of children began crying during the film’s opening scenes of the infant Tarzan’s parents being killed by a vicious leopard.
The concerned codirectors, Kevin Lima and Chris Buck, tell EW Online that they had originally cut the movie to begin with only an implication of what happened (showing a treehouse in ruins), but audiences were so confused that the pair decided to show the sinister leopard stalking the family and then making his attack. (Although the actual gory details of the assault aren’t seen, kids are able to fill in the blanks.) ”The monster whale in ‘Pinocchio’ scared me to death as a kid,” Lima tells EW Online.”But there is a yin and yang to these pictures that is good. When these awful things happen you can feel the joy later in the film all the more. It’s a savage world out there, even when you walk out your front door and out on the street, and kids realize that.” (And, to be fair, the young audience was quickly cheered by the rousing adventure and lush animation for the rest of the movie.)
Parents who still haven’t forgiven Walt Disney for killing Bambi’s mother will be relieved to know that Tarzan’s adoptive mom remains unscathed throughout the movie, which is one reason that Glenn Close…all right, I’ll say it…went ape for the role. ”I’ve analyzed the mother figures in all the great cartoons,” Close tells EW Online, ”’Cinderella,’ ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ the ‘Little Mermaid.’ And here’s this story that allows for a great mother figure and still allows her to have something to do with the child, and that’s rare… At one point she sings, ‘You’ll be in my heart always,’ which is what children want to hear. The most terrible nightmare for a child is to be abandoned.”