Movies have a huge influence on the mindset and culture of the people. Disney movies have been accused of negatively affecting children. The contentious views range from violence, sexual inferences or nudity and racism.
The Tarzan movie released in 1999 received a certain level of criticism concerning the graphic violent scenes of fights between the humans and animals. Many parents and adults were concerned on the impact it would have on the children.
There have been arguments that violent cartoon programs act as an activator of aggressive behavior in children. The children may develop high tendency to engage in fights with other children where they have been wronged instead of choosing other mediums of reconciliation such as talking or consulting their guardians.
The cartoon characters act as role models for children. If Tarzan wins through fighting against the creatures and men who have wronged him the children in following their role model get motivated to fight bullies. The fights may not end up so well. Children could get very hurt.
Furthermore violence in the Disney films does not build a good image or concept of death for the children. Death is final and irreversible. It is a sad affair even for the bad guys to die. The best solution would be for an individual to change his ways. The violence in Disney films like Tarzan is portrayed as entertainment or fun.
It is thrilling and fun when Tarzan kills the Leopardess or when he kills the bad guys and rescues the gorillas. Such movies may cause children to view fighting as fun without thinking of the consequences.
In the movie Tarzan, there have been voices in favor of its negative effects of children. There have also been counterarguments against this accusation as other people say there are good messages portrayed in the movie. In this paper, I will show that the Tarzan movie negatively influences children causing them to have a casual attitude towards fighting. It also causes them to be aggressive which may be dangerous for them and other children who they interact with.
II. Violence and nudity in Tarzan.
The movie begins with an English couple with their baby son who escape from a burning ship. They manage to build a tree house in the jungle. There is a violent scene where the parents are killed by a rogue leopardess. The movie does not show the killing however it shows the body parts of the couple strewn on the floor. Kala, a gorilla finds the abandoned baby but the leopardess wants to eat the baby.
There is another violent scene where Sabor, the leopardess attacks Kala but they manage to escape. Tarzan grows in the forest and when is young, he gets an opportunity to avenge his parent’s death. The movie shows a violent scene where Tarzan kills Sabor (Buck and Lima, 1999)
Later, human explorers come to the jungle. The humans are Professor Porter, Jane and Clayton. As they travel in the jungle, Jane is separated from them. There is a scene where she is chased by baboons and the possibility of a dangerous death. Tarzan however rescues her.
One of the explorers, Clayton is very interested in the baboons and tells Tarzan to shows him where they are staying. Clayton carries a gun which he uses to threaten the gorillas. Due to his actions, the humans are chased away.
Tarzan decides to leave his ape mother and go back home. The movie shows how Tarzan and the other human explorers are attacked by pirates while on a ship. The movie ends with some violent scenes of fighting. Tarzan teams up with his animal friends, the baboons and the rhinos to chase away Clayton who returned to the jungle to capture and sell the gorillas. There are scenes of the fights between Tarzan and Clayton. Tarzan wins the fight. The movie shows the violent death of Clayton who is
strangled to death by the vines in the jungle. There is also nudity in the movie. Tarzan only dresses in a loincloth in the jungle. Children are exposed to a lot of Tarzan’s naked flesh.
III. Tarzan is not a violent film for children
Tarzan is a movie for family entertainment. It is an action movie for children and does not in any way glorify violence or nudity. Tarzan lives in a jungle where they are bound to be fights between animals. If a human being gets lost in a jungle there is bound to be danger.
The movie shows the dangers that can occur when humans interact with wild animals. It warns children of the dangers in the forests. There are evil people such as Clayton in the world. At the end of the movie when Tarzan triumphs over the evil Clayton, it shows the children that evil does not pay.
It shows that at the end of the day, justice prevails. This view is also reinforced when Tarzan kills Sabor, the leopardess who killed his parents.
It is a realistic movie that shows the troubles at sea such as pirate attacks. Tarzan lives in the jungle and for the movie to be realistic he has to dress in the clothes that the jungle people wear which are loincloths. His private part is covered and the movie does not show any sexual scenes. Overall the movie is a great entertainment film.
Despite the arguments that Tarzan is not violent in nature, it is evident that the storyline or plot is mostly made up of fights in the jungle. There are other ways for the Disney Film makers to provide entertainment for children other than violent scenes where animals and humans lose their lives. There should be a limitation on the level of fight scenes in the movies and the level of violence depicted in these films.
The world has become a place of diverse races or cultures. As a child grows up they need to be equipped to interact well with people of different cultures and ethnicity. The children will always encounter other children or pre-teens with different attitudes from their own due to different upbringing. Conflicts are bound to arise. The Disney movies have violent themes that will only serve to cause conflict and aggression in the later years of the child.
Instead the Disney movie producers should strive to show movies that use other forms of conflict resolution such as dialogue and discussions even if they are intense. It is better than overloading a movie with violent scenes. Children will understand that there is no specific way to resolve conflicts. They do not have to fight and it is not cool or fun to demonstrate physical prowess. There are other mediums of conflict resolution.
Buck Chris and Kevin Lima. Dir. Tarzan. Walt Disney Pictures. 1999. Film.