Film scores

Soundtrack review: Tarzan (David Newman – 2013)

“Tarzan” (also known as Tarzan 3D) is a 2013 English-language German-produced 3D computer-animated motion capture family action drama adventure film written, directed and produced by German producer Reinhard Klooss which was released on October 17, 2013 in Russia. The film was released across early 2014 in other countries. The film stars the voices of Kellan Lutz, Spencer Locke, Anton Zetterholm, Mark Deklin, Joe Cappelletti, and Jaime Ray Newman. The screenplay was written by Reinhard Klooss, Jessica Postigo and Yoni Brenner.The film is based on the classic book Tarzan of the Apes (1912) by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of many adaptations. The score was written by David Newman.

When I think of this character and story I had a certain sound in mind for the score. The epic choral “Prologue” falls right into the shape I imagined and I’m expecting good things from this album. The music should be fun, spectacular, tribal and a gifted composer can make it much more enjoyable than a badly received movie. With every cue that passes I feel more drawn to this score; I like the welcome of the warm and relatable “Family fun” that comes from another time to charm me.

This is the word I would use for the entire score, no matter if the moments are action or emotional or playful: charming. The music has this quality that makes me smile and connect easily with it. It’s written in such a way that it makes me think of a story with all its highs and lows; it has moments of longing and adventurous pieces that give me goose bumps.  An orchestral score can tell me so much more than any other kind; it has smooth edges and soft choirs that give it a fairy tale sound.

I am really enjoying Tarzan’s musical adventures. Almost every cue that describes his antics from warming up to climbing a tree to fighting inspires me and makes me imagine how I could run with this music in my ears. Just listen to “Tarzan climbs tree” and you will be delighted and want to listen to the entire score. This is pure orchestral joy that reminds me why I love film music so much. This is how a composer connects with his listeners, by using a common language of fun and adventure.

I also notice how “Tarzan helps Jane” shows that light orchestral cues run in the family as this one could very well have come from a Thomas Newman score. Brother David though provides a much more varied soundscape that goes from quiet and emotional to the ruckus of an entire playground filled with children. When a composer writes with so much joy it’s easy for me to believe him and trust him. I get the same feeling listening to “Tarzan” as I do from John Powell’s “How to train your dragon scores”. We never get enough charming and fun scores like these and I am grateful to be able to listen to this one.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 47 / 69

Album excellence: 68%

Highlights:

Tarzan (Prologue)

Family Fun

Kala and Kerchak

Tarzan Is Alive

Growing Up

Tarzan Climbs Tree

Tarzan Helps Jane

Jane and Dad

Tarzan Fight

Jane Returns to the Camp

Tarzan and Jane in the Lake

Entrance to Cave

Tarzan Mourns for Kala

Take Me to the Meteor

Detonation in 8 Minutes

Finale

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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