|Directed by||Chris Buck
|Produced by||Chris Buck|
|Written by||Tab Murphy
|Music by||Mark Mancina
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Release date(s)||June 18, 1999|
|Running time||88 minutes|
|Followed by||Tarzan & Jane|
Tarzan is a 1999 American animated feature film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures on June 18, 1999. The thirty-seventh film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics, it is based on the story Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is the only major motion picture version of the story Tarzan property to be animated. It was also the last "bona fide" hit before the Disney slump of the early 2000s making $171,091,819 in domestic gross and $448,191,819 worldwide, outgrossing its predecessors Mulan and Hercules. To date, it is the last film based on the fictional character Tarzan to have had a theatrical release, and also currently holds the record for being the most expensive Disney animated film, with a budget of $150 million. It was also the first Disney animated feature to open at #1 since Pocahontas. This was the last major box office success of the Disney Renaissance.
In the late 1880s off the coast of Africa, a young couple and their infant son escape a burning ship, ending up on land near uncharted rainforests (presumably West Africa). The couple craft themselves a treehouse from their ship's wreckage, but are subsequently killed by Sabor, a rouge leopard. Kala (Glenn Close), a gorilla whose own son was eaten by the vicious leopardess, hears the cries of the orphaned infant, and finds him in the ruined treehouse. Kala is attacked by Sabor, who wants to kill and eat the baby, but Kala manages to get her tangled in the ropes holding the derelict rowboat, and she and the baby escape. The kindly Kala takes the baby back to the Gorilla troop to raise as her own, despite her mate Kerchak's (Lance Henriksen) disapproval. Kala raises the human child, naming him Tarzan (Alex D. Linz as a young boy, Tony Goldwyn as a young adult). Though he befriends other gorillas in the troop and other animals, including the young female gorilla Terk (Rosie O'Donnell) and the male elephant Tantor (Wayne Knight), Tarzan finds himself unable to keep up with them, and takes great efforts to improve himself. As a young man, Tarzan is able to kill Sabor with his crude spear and protect the troop, earning Kerchak's reluctant respect.
The gorilla troop's peaceful life is interrupted by the arrival of a team of human explorers from England, including Professor Porter (Nigel Hawthorne), his daughter Jane (Minnie Driver) and their hunter-guide Clayton (Brian Blessed). Jane is accidentally separated from the group and chased by a pack of baboons. Tarzan saves her from the baboons, and recognizes that she is the same as he is, a human. Jane leads Tarzan back to the explorer's camp, where both Porter and Clayton take great interest in him—the former in terms of scientific progress while the latter hoping to have Tarzan lead him to the gorillas so that he can capture them and return with them to England. Despite Kerchak's warnings to be wary of the humans, Tarzan continues to return to the camp and be taught by Porter and Jane to speak English and learn of the human world, and both he and Jane begin to fall for each other. However, Clayton cannot convince Tarzan to lead him to the gorillas, due to Tarzan's fear for their safety from the threat of Kerchak.
When the explorers' boat returns to pick them up, Clayton makes Tarzan believe that if he shows the group the gorillas, then Jane will stay with him forever. Tarzan agrees and leads the party to the gorilla troop's home, while Terk and Tantor lure Kerchak away to avoid having him attack the humans. Porter and Jane are excited to mingle with the gorillas, but Kerchak returns and threatens to kill them. Tarzan is forced to hold Kerchak at bay while the humans escape, and then leaves the troop himself, now alienated by his actions. Kala takes Tarzan back to the treehouse she found him in, and shows him his true past. Kala encourages him to follow his heart, and leave with Jane and Professor Porter (although it will break her heart to see him go). When they return to the ship, they are ambushed by pirates, led by Clayton, who desires to capture and sell the gorillas in England for a fine price. He orders them locked below with the Captain and his crew. When Turk and Tantor hear Tarzan scream, in anger, Turk, jealous that Tarzan has spent time with the humans, than with them, is about to leave, when Tantor says, "[He's] had it with [her] and [her] emotional constipation," and throws both of them into the ocean. They brake Tarzan, and the others, free, and they race back to the gorilla home.
Kerchak and Tarzan together battle Clayton; Kerchak is fatally shot, while Clayton chases Tarzan into the vine-covered trees, where Tarzan gets the drop on him, destroying Clayton's gun. Clayton, in his haste to kill Tarzan, ignores his warning about the vine wrapped around his neck, and Clayton is hanged. Kerchak, in his dying breath, accepts Tarzan as his own adopted son finally, and names him the leader of the gorilla troop. The rest of the gorillas (including Kala) are freed by Jane, Professor Porter, Terk and Tantor, and other of Tarzan's miscellaneous animal friends (baboons, rhinos, etc.), after fighting and/or scaring away the rest of Clayton's men, imprisoning them in the very same cages they planned to imprison the gorillas in.
The next day, as Porter and Jane prepare to leave on the ship, Tarzan reveals that he now plans to stay with the gorilla troop. As the ship leaves shore, Porter encourages his daughter to stay with the man she loves, and Jane jumps overboard to return to shore; Porter shortly follows her. The two are accepted into the gorilla troop where, as the song says, they are all finally "Two Worlds, One Family".
To create the sweeping 3D backgrounds, Tarzan's production team developed a 3D painting and rendering technique known as Deep Canvas (a term coined by artist/engineer Eric Daniels). This technique allows artists to produce CGI background that looks like a traditional painting, according to art director Daniel St. Pierre. (The software keeps track of brushstrokes applied in 3D space.) For this advancement, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded the creators of Deep Canvas a Technical Achievement Award in 2003.
After Tarzan, Deep Canvas was used for a number of sequences in Atlantis: The Lost Empire, particularly large panoramic shots of the island and several action sequences. Expanded to support moving objects as part of the background, Deep Canvas was utilized to create about 75% of the environments in Disney's next major animated action film, Treasure Planet, though the results were less stunning, due to the film's tighter painting style which could have been accomplished without such advanced software. Deep Canvas was designed to accomplish a very loose, brushstroke-based style without hard edges, but Treasure Planet's backgrounds were more hard-edged and clean.
The songs for the film were written and performed by the singer Phil Collins.
"Trashin' the Camp" and "You'll Be in My Heart" are the only songs in the feature to be sung out by the characters; all the other songs are background.
Ty Burr of Entertainment Weekly gave the soundtrack a B-, stating that it was awkwardly split between Collin's songs and the traditional score, was burdened by too many alternate versions of the tracks, and in some instances bore similarities to The Lion King and Star Wars.
The standard VHS and DVD release of Tarzan was released on February 1, 2000. Disney also released a 2-Disc Collector's Edition on April 18, 2000 with Behind the Scenes, Music Videos, Games, and More. Those 2 editions were eventually put in the Disney Vault. On October 15, 2005, Disney released a single-disc special edition.
Reviews for the film were very positive. Entertainment Weekly compared the film's advancement in visual effects to that of the Matrix (stating that the backgrounds are "themselves animated – yet still look as if they were painted with feathery brushstrokes"), and that the film far surpasses previous live-action attempts, in some cases on an emotional level.
Tarzan won the following awards:
|Nominated||Animated Theatrical Feature|
|Nominated||Individual Achievement in Directing||Kevin Lima (Director)
Chris Buck (Director)
|Nominated||Individual Achievement in Writing||Tab Murphy (Writer)
Bob Tzudiker (Writer) &
Noni White (Writer)
|Nominated||Individual Achievement in Storyboarding||Brian Pimentel (Story Supervisor)|
|Nominated||Individual Achievement in Production Design||Daniel St. Pierre (Art Director)|
|Nominated||Individual Achievement in Character Animation||Ken Duncan (Supervising Animator - Jane)|
|Nominated||Individual Achievement in Character Animation||Glen Keane (Supervising Animator - Tarzan)|
|Nominated||Individual Achievement in Effects Animation||Peter DeMund (Effects Supervisor)|
|Nominated||Individual Achievement in Voice Acting||Minnie Driver ("Jane")|
|Nominated||Individual Achievement in Music||Phil Collins (Songs)|
|Won||Technical Achievement in the Field of Animation||Eric Daniels (Computer Graphics Supervisor)
(For the development of the Deep Canvas device in the film)
A Broadway musical, also titled Tarzan, produced by Disney Theatrical began previews on March 24, 2006 which an official opening night on May 10 of the same year. After performing for a year on Broadway, the show closed on July 8, 2007.
There are a few videogames featuring Tarzan. Disney's Tarzan, a side scrolling platformer, was developed by Eurocom for Playstation, Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color and released in 2000. Disney's Tarzan Untamed, developed by Ubisoft, was a game that revolved around Tarzan surfing on giant leaves and was released for Playstation 2 and Nintendo Gamecube in 2001. Tarzan, Jane, Tantor and Terk, in their young forms, appear as playable characters in Disney's Extreme Skate Adventure, developed by Toys for Bob and released for Playstation 2, Gamecube, Xbox and Game Boy Advance in 2003.
Tarzan's home, "Deep Jungle", is a playable world in the Disney/Square Enix video game Kingdom Hearts released for Playstation 2 in 2002. It does not appear in any subsequent games in the series, due to Square Enix's failure to acquire the required rights from the family of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Tarzan is a 1999 American animated feature film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures on June 18, 1999.