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Feature Filmmotion capture

“Tarzan” Mo-Cap 3D trailer

Continuing our series of trailers for those who think The Croods isn’t living up to their expectations… Submitted for your approval, Tarzan 3D, a German motion-capture desecration of Edgar Rice Burroughs, directed by Reinhard Klooss. O’ Robert Zemeckis, where art thou? This looks incredibly awful.

  • When is he ever gonna have a beard? or body hair or even an appropriately long hair?

    • He already has an incredibly efficient loincloth, so quit complaining.

    • Aaron B.


  • Rick R.

    Why so harsh? The animation looks smooth, and what I see looks like an epic-scaled jungle.

    Since none of the apes are voiced by Rosie O’Donnell, in my book it already looks like an improvement over Disney’s take.

    • Drew

      animation looks smooth? lmaoo did you watch the same trailer?

    • Devil’s Rotoscope

      Yeah, I’ll take motion capture over Glen Keane any day. That guy is a hack.

      • Mad Hatter

        You’re kidding about him right?

      • Rick R.

        I didn’t say anything against the animation of Disney’s Tarzan, and I am sure Devil’s Roto was being ironic.

        I was talking in terms of storytelling.

    • amoomoo

      People have an aversion to mocap, but I think this isn’t to do with whether it’s good storytelling medium it’s just because we are tooused used to either live action or classic animation. For me it’s the same reason why we feel weird when we walk down a still escalator, our brains don’t.
      I think this gaming generation growing up will be totally fine with mo cap in the future and acept it as an equal form of storytelling

  • That doesn’t look awful.
    It just looks incredibly boring.

    • I agree with this comment. This trailer actually looks alright, as in the visual elements are mostly pretty good, but it showed nothing about the character emotions, desires or problems.

  • hiradot

    first I thought, well that doesn’t look that b- then I saw his face – *~UGH!

    @Damn – he must use honey or wax

    • Kevin

      I agree. The face kinda lost me.

  • Chris

    The environments looks awesome

  • Y’know… I’m as cynical as they come, but I honestly thought this trailer looked pretty good. The movement looked okay, the scenery design was quite nice, and the music sounded lovely. In fact, I kind of liked the tiny bit of dialogue-free interaction Tarzan had with the apes. I’ll agree that Tarzan’s emotions were a little static, but I’m still not sure how that would warrant a rating of “desecration” for this film.

  • Wow. Just, wow.
    Isn’t the whole point of motion capture to get naturalistic movement data, giving the sensation of pseudo-reality? For a guy who moves with speed, agility and power, this Tarzan appears to weigh absolutely nothing, nor do any of the 300lb gorillas…

  • wever

    Wha…… this is REAL!?

  • AdrianC.

    While I can’t say I’m looking forward to this, I don’t think it looks THAT bad. Honestly, Tarzan looks more appealing than any human in any of Zemeckis’s mo-cap films.

  • Billy Batz

    Two reasons why it doesn’t work:

    #1 It looks just like the 2d Disney movie.
    #2 Tarzan climbs a tree in the trailer! ( If you know anything about Tarzan this is not what you show to get people excited)

    • Jesus C.

      billy, you’re assuming that german audience is virtually the same than american audience. Their viewers respond differently from what you claim to be a good movie, nor even a blockbuster don’t sells that well to an european audience.

      you know what, a whole world of cultures go on outside your bellybutton.


      • Billy Batz

        I don’t assume anything about a German audience , I’m commenting on a boring trailer where a guy climbs a tree.

      • It’s boring. We get to see almost 30sec of “running in a straight line”, a 2sec jump which is shot in a way that makes it look like an average jump, 20sec of climbing and for the rest of the time the guy is sitting on a tree.
        Maybe the target group is collectively suffering from mental burn out and welcomes something “relaxing”.
        But for a normal mixed audience a screensaver type fireplace animation is more exciting than this.
        Yeah the jungle looks nice, woohoo we (germans) can do mocap and nice vegetation. But I for one am so sick of seeing boring, badly scripted, stiff animated and mostly state funded movies.
        Even goblin school early dropouts if there ever was such a thing – which i don’t know – could do better animation and timing than a full production crew in germany.
        It’s so frustating to see this happen over and over and over again.

      • wollomat

        I’m german and I think this looks pretty lame..
        But there is a general problem with animation in germany, people still think its only for small childrens or retards.

  • wgan

    mo-cap looks good to me, they did a good job (most part)

  • Not so bad, really, but yeah— too much like the Disney flick in appearance, and just kinda boring. Environments look cool, though. I’d be interested in seeing just how this turns out.

  • Really ugly character designs. And why is his hair so clean? Yes, the motion, action, and camera angles were ok. But it still looks like an over saturated mess, full of cheese by the look of it.

  • Eman

    There’s such a huge disconnect with mo-cap. The character never feels attached to the world, and that sort of realistic movement is unsuited for stylized visuals.

  • Face

    OFCOURSE this is terrible (in every way) hero isn’t doing what he is not supposed to do!!

    *You must never watch shit.. the hero watches the shit like it’s nobody’s business..* end of story, we all win. yay! to awesome storytelling!!!

  • Julian

    I honestly don’t get what’s so bad about this and the other “Dino Time” trailer. No, they don’t look like the highest quality of films, but I really don’t expect them to be considering their promotion and budgets. For what they are, they don’t strike me as that awful. When I think awful, I think something like Video Brinquedo or The Oogieloves. These just look like ok B Grade films a lot of amateurs got their start on and are very proud of. So why hate?

  • Jesus C.

    double thumbs up.

  • Paul

    Honestly, after reading the comments, i expected something really bad. Im extremely picky when it comes to animation, and maybe its because I had such low expectations prior to pressing the play button…but I have to give them credit. The trailer is boring yes. The characters are very Disney-esque. In fact, it seems almost like a CG version of the 2D classic…but, does not look bad. The uncanny valley is there, but not so much… probably because they didnt go with a realistic eye shader. The acting choices are ok, the weight isn’t big budget-y…but it honestly looks pretty good. And considering its done outside of the US, with a smaller budget….hey. They get all my respect. Great environments. Great rendering. The design is not top notch but still appealing. Im interested, more than i have ever been by any mo-cap film thats for sure.

  • d. harry

    just looked this up. Kellan Lutz plays tarzan, presumably doing the mocap as well. The production house Ambient have done 3 other cg features, so this isn’t their first time out. It looks like there is an American partner on board, so it might be coming to the American market as well.

  • I also was expecting the worse and came away pleasantly surprised. The only thing I thought was glaringly bad was the first shot of the apes running, where they all seemed to be running in unison.

    Once Tarzan takes the lead, everything clicked for me. I thought the MoCap was very effective, the environments were beautiful, the layouts were dramatic and the pacing was great.

    One odd thing though, did anyone feel that Tarzan was aging throughout the trailer? As he climbs upwards, he seems to be a young teenager but when he reaches the top he seems older. If that journey up the tree was a metaphorical journey into adulthood, then I would have had him be a bit more vulnerable at the beginning, slowly building confidence as he goes higher and higher.

    No matter, I’m quite impressed!

  • This doesn’t look too bad. It’s not to my tastes, but then, I’m not the audience for this. I think this is a young Tarzan. That’s why he’s hairless. I don’t see this as a classic movie, but not a bad attempt at a Tarzan film.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      At this point in my life, I never question such trivial matters as body hair.

      • John A

        Yeah, I must agree with you. It’s not like I was totally buying into Edgar Rice Burroughs’ character as 100% factual and THIS just RUINED everything.

  • Glen

    Looks better than ALL of that Doug Chaing/ Robert Zemeckis crap.

  • Alê Camargo

    I didn’t get very excited with this, but I have to admit I liked the overall quality and feel (even more so as this has probably a quite smaller budget than an american production). The backgrounds are very nice too.

    My biggest problem with this teaser is that’s too close to the Disney version in colors and general design. I mean, there have been lots of Tarzans over the years, they probably should have done something a little more unique.

    Anyway, I’ll keep an eye on this.

    • John A

      Not only color and design, but It mimics those overused sweeping, 360 hyperactive areal shots that Disney likes to use when they show off.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    The scenery easily upstaged the actors. This Tarzan looked flat and didn’t seem to have a thought in his head as he went through the motions.

  • Michel Van

    As a German, i’m surprised about this good quality of CGI Animation here.
    although i had impression of AVATAR as i watch the Trailer.
    but the problem here is it’s only a Trailer of 2 minute.
    I think gonna be good movie because,

    the TARZAN director / author/ Producer is Reinhard Klooss
    the man behind the 2010 german surprise hit
    “Konferenz der Tiere” aka “Animals United”

  • Don’t know if this was a concieous choice, but Tarzan’s face looks a bit neanderthalish, which is kind of interesting. The animation sucks, and nothing really happens in the trailer, but at least the environments are pretty.

  • Bryon Carson

    Gotta say I didn’t think this “incredibly awful” at all.

  • Mike Johnson

    Looked okay to me. As for the beard, hair, face etc… Tarzan has always been presented on film this way. You just have to accept that certain things should be overlooked. The filmmakers are not trying to make a documentary. It doesn’t have to be 100% real life. If I want real life, I’ll go outside for a walk. When a bullet hits someone in a film, do you really care that in real life they don’t go flying 10 feet backwards from the impact? If you do, then perhaps you should find better things to do than go to the movies. Otherwise, relax and enjoy!

  • I dunno. I kind of liked it. Watched with sound off.

  • Is it just me or does every soundtrack in trailers (especially this one) sound like Hans Zimmer ripoffs?

    BTW…I didn’t know that apes ran closely together in packs like wolves. =/

  • Dumena

    This trailer to me shows off a project that’s not big enough for its boots. Someone wasting the little money he has trying too hard to keep up with the big boys. Why not try a small take on the Tarzan story, a clever,personal, surprising one that you can pull off with a tight budget and still shine in the end? Then again: I wish him best of luck and success, against the odds. Let’s see what kind of story he is going to tell.

  • I have a feeling that Jerry is REALLY forcing people to like “The Croods” trailer


  • This actually looks pretty good, technically. Some of these shots are impressive.

    No idea if this version will FINALLY properly evoke the mondo-weirdo science fiction aspects and tone of the original book, but there’s nothing in this trailer to cause outrage.

  • katy

    I don’t mind mo-cap (I liked Monster House, I thought it was a good film) but I don’t think it works when you need your main character to move in an exciting way. It’s fine when people are just walking and talking, but Tarzan’s movement needs to be an exciting performance! He moved like an average 30-year-old in this trailer, not some wild hero with jungle skills.

    • Sarah J

      Agreed, that was my problem with the trailer. You want to do an animated film about Tarzan, and you can have him move faster, and move in ways that normal people can’t move. If you’re just going to have him move like a regular person, you might as well just make a live-action film, yes?

  • Sarah J

    Eh, the animation doesn’t look too bad to me, but… I’m not exactly a fan of mo-cap in the first place. First of all, the Tarzan sort of falls into the uncanny valley, just a bit. But the main problem I have is that Tarzan, especially an animated one, should be much more dynamic. This trailer, Tarzan’s movements are slow and not very exciting. One of the main reasons that I like animation is that you can use it to do things that can’t normally be done in live action, and it still looks good and fits with everything. (cartoonish pony doing tricks and baking cookies, looks fine thanks to the style. Realistic CGI pony doing the same things? Looks pretty off, yes?) If you’re just going to try to make the characters look as realistic as possible and move as realistically as possible, what’s the point of making it animated? The animation is something I really liked about the Disney adaptation. The movements of Disney’s Tarzan were fast and dynamic, he moved in ways that wouldn’t have been possible for a real man.

  • Dr. I.C. Spots

    Completely soulless eyes. : (

    Not one ounce of mo-cap CGI flab. : )

  • “an object in motion stays in motion” – the animators need a lesson in forward momentum. FAIL.

  • Lippy

    “uncanny valley”..

  • Shaina Squirrel

    Ill be honest here, the jungle looks pretty cool and very well detailed. And the apes look and move alright. the music was pretty tho the trailor was kind of bland. But to be completly honest…. Tarzan himself looks very plastic and plain, like someone took a Ken doll with hair and a cloth and started playing with it. It looks almost like they spent all the time and budget on everything but the main character…….all for the retelling of a story thats honestly already been over told :(

  • *sigh* The problem Ambient Entertainment has is that they only provide an animation service for the distributor Constantin Films. And there is someone sitting with a lot of money who thinks that he can produce, write and direct but clearly has no talent for storytelling at all – and this person is responsible for this Tarzan film now. The trailer doesn’t show any emotional depth, no believable feeling or atmosphere – and this is the problem all their previous movies had (some more than others). What they do technically is amazing and unique in Germany. “Animals United” looks incredibly good and doesn’t have to hide behind Pixar… considering that a german budget usually barely makes it into the two digits million dollars and Pixar has three digits million this is an unbelievable achievement.
    But the story… at one point the animators of “Animate Unite” couldn’t bare the terrible script anymore rewrote it and sent it to Mr. director, producer and author, who – of course – completely ignored it. In “Animate Unite” it’s so hard to feel any empathy for any of the bazillion main characters that they put in (and stole from Disney movies) and I predict that this Tarzan movie will have the same problem. A teaser should convey the love and passion of the filmmaker towards the characters, the action or topic. The only feeling I get from this trailer is a “This Tarzan thing was pretty popular with kids, eh? Might make a lot of money? But no risk, okay, let’s make it as unoriginal as possible”. Oh Ambient Entertainment…. get rid of this unholy partnership to Constantin Films. You are already in the history books as the first real German CGI animation studio… how about becoming the first good German CGI animation studio?

  • Linda

    This movie seems to have a “we spent all the budget on details, so the story’s pretty dull” situation … but … it’s not that bad. Actually, I’m curious about Jane!

    They rendered a jungle. A Jungle. From there, the sky’s the limit!


    Just have one thing to offer…to quote the immortal bard…

    ” I was just getting seasick… from see’n to much!”

    How can they call this new…same stuff from King Kong..only the characters are smaller with fewer teeth.

    Somebody do something new and exciting please!

  • Ross

    Ridiculous! Bracket fungi don’t grow above the canopy!

  • Mark

    OK, is it just me but doesn’t this look like a bad rip off of Disney’s Tarzan? The art direction and general design, even some of Tarzan’s movements. My first reaction WTF? Do we need yet another Tarzan?

  • Zappo

    Well, the backgrounds, colour and lighting was good. The movement seemed almost slowed down at times – ever so slightly. There were points where the character almost seemed chroma-keyed too with a glowing edge, which is just plain odd unless the character and backgrounds were rendered separately. What really struck me was the lack of movement in any of the background stuff. No leaves or branches moving at all. Very strange. Even when climbing the roots/vines they didn’t move. At one point near the end of the clip he seems to lift his entire body weight up by holding onto some fungus.

  • Silence Dogood

    I really dislike mo cap (mostly because things come out looking like jaunty skin dolls) but this looks pretty…well, ok. The trailer is pretty lame, thought. No real hook to it besides “stunning visuals”.