The dangers of this film derive mostly from the actions of the main character, Tarzan, in relation to African culture. As he, and the pack of apes he is a part of, are the closest thing to “Africans” on screen, viewers are put at risk of associating their behavior with African culture. This behavior is primarily savage and animalistic, which although this is a children’s movie primarily about animals, still leaves lasting images of Africans being “savage” in the minds of children, who tend to take concepts much more literally than adults do. This is, of course, far from reality.
On the positive side, this movie does not perpetuate the idea that Africans are especially violent, another common stereotype that Hollywood has been known for promoting. Tarzan, the main representation of African culture, is written to be caring, intelligent, kind and brave. The apes are equally compassionate, only using violence when necessary, and defending themselves from the threats the antagonists produce.
The truth is, Tarzan is a family friendly movie with a primarily positive message, and there really is no reason not to allow your children to watch it. That being said, it is important to realize the misconceptions that the movie presents and find ways of countering these biases with accurate representations of African culture, insuring that that children don’t walk away with a negatively impacted viewpoint.