Kellan Lutz stars as Tarzan in 3-D animated film: Will it come to the US?

Kellan Lutz stars as Tarzan in an animated version of the famous hero's adventures. Kellan Lutz provided the voice and completed motion capture for the character.

John Shearer/Invision for Carbon Audio/AP
Kellan Lutz stars as as the title character in 'Tarzan.'

Fans of Tarzan can now feast their eyes on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ hero’s next big screen adaptation. Sadly, it isn’t related to David Yates’ upcoming Tarzan feature film, but instead, the animated Tarzan 3D from Constantin Films.

Featuring the voice and performance capture of Kellan Lutz (Hercules: The Legend Begins), the trailer shows that the classic story of a man raised by apes is receiving some serious updates – featuring a corporate enemy and sci-fi plot twist that may prove divisive among fans both young and old.

While this may be the first trailer for the animated film – out now in Russia and Germany – the previous trailer showed that the jungle action had been made with the 3D experience in mind. Unfortunately, the full-length English trailer features a much closer look at the actual performances and animation style, and the results are… uneven, to say the least.

If viewers felt that the first look at the animated Tarzan was a bit unsettling – neither realistic, nor abstracted enough to stroll into Dreamworks or Pixar territory – this trailer proves many of those fears are justified. Although the jungle itself looks to be a feather in the cap of the digital artists, the character design is not nearly as polished. Odd character dimensions, facial features and textures have us wondering just how much of Lutz’s performance is possible to keep intact.

On top of the visual issues, it’s safe to say that if Spencer Locke (Resident Evil: Afterlife) brought more than melodrama to the animated Jane, this trailer isn’t making a fair case. ‘Wooden’ might be a strong term to describe the dialogue seen in a brief trailer, but what’s on display here seems stilted at the very least.

In terms of story, the writers of the film have done some serious reinventing to reshape Burroughs’ classic story into a modern, even futuristic tale of fantasy and science fiction. Tarzan is now the child of the deceased head of Greystoke Energies, a company now run by a power-hungry man keen on finding a renewable energy source – that just so happens to be hidden in Tarzan’s jungle home.

In other words, take the original story, add elements of Avatar and a heavy dose of acrobatic vine-traversal, and we have a much better idea of what to expect from the film. While the 3D may have piqued our interest, it seems unlikely that the film will end up making its way into most American theaters.

Andrew Dyce blogs at Screen Rant.

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