Tarzan And The Lost City

on April 24, 1998 by Dale Winogura
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   Perilously low on adventure and thrills, Edgar Rice Burroughs' most cherished creation has not been done justice in this dispirited, innocuous slab of inept juvenilia. Several Burroughs stories have been mashed together with bland, talky exposition and standard jungle dangers to create an unsatisfactory narrative mishmash. Lacking imagination and energy, director Carl Schenkel fails to locate the essential pulp style and affectionate viewpoint to make the silly hokum come to life.
   Lord John Clayton of Greystoke, otherwise known as Tarzan of the Apes (woodenly played by a physically right Casper van Dien of "Starship Troopers"), returns to Africa from England because the natives have been invaded by a cruel white hunter (Steven Waddington, trying his best with a trite part) and his party searching for the sacred jewels of Opar. When Tarzan's aggravated fiancee, Jane Porter (a stilted Jane March), joins him to help stop the greedy intruders from finding the treasure, the ensuing journey has less suspense and excitement than the Disneyland jungle boat ride.
   The moments of exotic romanticism, such as when Tarzan and Jane renew their love in the jungle, have a certain innocent charm that the rest of the movie can't live up to. Even Paul Gilpin's handsome Panavision photography of South African locales does not have enough colorful wonder and beauty to keep the film visually active. Between the ludicrous ape makeups and cheesy special effects, the resulting cardboard fakery cancels out much of the dumb fun.
   Although the Indiana Jones trilogy was partly inspired by Burroughs' tales, that's no excuse to crib the supernatural climax from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" here, placing the final kiss of death on a woefully misguided enterprise. Starring Casper van Dien, Jane March and Steven Waddington. Directed by Carl Schenkel. Written by Bayard Johnson and J. Anderson Black. Produced by Stanley Canter, Dieter Geissler and Michael Lake. A Warner release. Adventure. Rated PG for adventure violence. Running time: 85 min
Tags: Starring Casper van Dien, Jane March and Steven Waddington. Directed by Carl Schenkel. Written by Bayard Johnson and J. Anderson Black, Produced by Stanley Canter, Dieter Geissler, Michael Lake, Adventure
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