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Tarzan Returns (1996)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

Tarzan Returns (1996) This is the two hour movie that was the first episode of TARZAN: THE EPIC ADVENTURES, in which Tarzan (Joe Lara) returns to Africa in 1912 after spending a short time in civilization. He gets on the wrong side of Nicholai Rokoff (Andrew Divoff) when he comes to the defense of Claudette (Lydie Denier, who had portrayed Jane in a previous Tarzan TV series). Nicholai has stolen a large jewel from Claudette's father and is in search of a golden pylon. He finds it and it turns out to be a portal to another world-- the world of Pellucidar, which is at the center of the Earth.

Tarzan and his newly aquired sidekick, a Waziri named Timba, follow them.

I think this is only the second time Pellucidar has been filmed, the first being AT THE EARTH'S CORE (1977), and it's done justice, particularly with the "horizon" shot which shows the land curving upward and the "sun" suspended in the sky above. There's also stop-motion animation dinosaurs, apemen and the Mahars. Unfortunately the scriptwriter has the reptilian Mahars change shape into beautiful human women, which makes little sense (other than as an excuse to show some babes). And since this was made in 1996 the morphing special effects are crude.

In an early scene, when Tarzan is still in Paris, he visits the zoo and is talking to a caged Great Ape and that simian costume is great.

Joe Lara (AMERICAN CYBORG) makes for a decent enough Tarzan.

directed by Brian Yuzna.

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