The recent Disney animation of “Tarzan” provides an interesting contrast to the original story by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The hero of the film is deprived of human contact from infancy and is adopted by a family of apes. Amazingly, however, he thrives and becomes “King of the Jungle.” More amazingly, he adapts rapidly when he first encounters other human beings. His social and language skills develop at a pace that enables him to prevail in human culture as successfully as he has in the jungle.

The Disney version of the Tarzan tale is pleasing and engaging. The human and animal characters are interesting and entertaining and the heroes and villains clearly discernable. Goodness and justice, of course, prevail at the film's conclusion. Unlike earlier movie versions that were disappointing to Burroughs, he probably would have liked the animation in “Tarzan.”

Burroughs' first Tarzan novel, Tarzan of the Apes, was published...

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