Tarzan (1999) Poster



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The signature "Tarzan yell" is provided by Brian Blessed, the voice of the film's villain Clayton.
To see how Tarzan's body would move while sliding down a log, the animators based his movement on that of pro skateboarder Tony Hawk while on his skateboard.
Minnie Driver largely ad-libbed the breathless speech in which Jane tells her father and Clayton about meeting Tarzan for the first time.
Phil Collins was chosen to provide the music as a deliberate move away from the Disney "showtune" formula.
The reason why the character of Terk is female in this film is that, according to producer Bonnie Arnold, when male actors auditioned for the part, none of them clicked. When Rosie O'Donnell stepped in to audition, it worked and she got the part. Arnold said of the gender change: "You don't have to be a guy to be a best friend."
When the gorillas pick up Professor Porter and turn him upside-down, a beanbag toy of Little Brother from Disney's Mulan (1998) falls out of his clothes.
The Disney animators actually hired a professor of anatomy to consult with them over Tarzan's musculature. He would superimpose the correct type of muscles over their drawings to help show them how to depict a man at the peak of his physical prowess.
A teapot and set of teacups in the explorers' camp bears a sharp resemblance to Mrs. Potts and her teacup children from Beauty and the Beast (1991). When Tantor sees them, he is scared that they may come to life. Terk responds "Pull yourself together. You're embarrassing me. These things aren't alive." In Beauty and the Beast (1991), of course, they are.
Most of the movie takes place in 1911 as evidenced by the viewing of Halley's Comet. The original ship wreck happened in 1888.
The movie is set in eastern Africa. This can be seen on a drawing of Tarzan that Jane is working on during the "Strangers Like Me" sequence. It can be seen labeled in the corner. Earlier in the movie, Professor Porter mentions moving westward, deeper into the jungle, which would make the ocean on the eastern coast. It is possible that the movie might be set in Kenya, which was at the time as a protectorate of Britain located on the eastern coast of Africa. Kenya also has thick jungles on its coasts - much like the ones seen in the film.
In the original Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, Tarzan was adopted by apes (ie. chimps as seen in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984)) and the only gorilla mentioned was Bolgani the Great, who was an enemy of Tarzan and the troop. This is the first Tarzan movie in which the apes that adopt him are gorillas instead of chimpanzees. Tantor was an old bull elephant disliked by the denizens of the jungle, Sabor was a lioness, and Terkoz (presumably "Terkina" known as "Terk") was a male ape and Tarzan's arch-nemesis within the troop. Also, Kerchak murdered Tarzan's family. The producers changed it not only to make him more sympathetic, but also to make it less gruesome for families. Even though Clayton (first name William in the book) is a villain in the movie, he and Tarzan are actually cousins according to the original story from Burroughs, William being after Tarzan in line of succession and therefore not wanting him to be alive. In the film, Jane Porter and her father are from London. In the novel, they are American citizens.
The first Disney animated feature film to open at number 1 at the American box office and to win an Academy Award since Pocahontas (1995).
Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen were both seriously considered for Clayton before Brian Blessed auditioned for it, the directors felt his deep booming voice would be perfect for the character.
One of the main reasons why animation was chosen as the perfect way to execute a Tarzan story was because the character is so lithe and animal-like, it would have been nearly impossible to achieve those effects with live action.
Animator Glen Keane has a son who was very into surfing and skateboarding, which inspired him to incorporate those movements into Tarzan's. This is how Tarzan ended up with the ability to slide through the jungle trees rather than just swinging on vines.
"Deep Canvas": The brand-new technique created by Disney for use in Tarzan, which allows 2D hand-drawn characters to exist seamlessly in a fully 3D environment.
Brian Blessed has said that Clayton is one of his two favorite roles. The other is his role as King Richard IV in The Black Adder (1982).
Rosie O'Donnell accomplished a lifelong dream in this film; she had always wanted to voice a character in a Disney animated movie.
This ended the Disney Renaissance.
The 'Deep Canvas' 3D effect with 2D characters blended in, was suggested as something Disney should try by John Lassetter of Pixar fame when he was employed as a Disney animator. Not wanting it, Disney let go John, who went on to direct the first ever fully 3D animated movie.
This film contains numerous references to the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan films (Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), et seq). These include a "Me Tarzan, You Jane" introduction scene, Tarzan wrestling with crocodiles, and Jane's costume at the end of the film resembles the clothing worn by Maureen O'Sullivan in the Weissmuller series.
The movie went back into the Disney vault on January 31, 2002. Typically, this means the VHS and DVD versions of the movie were pulled from store shelves on this day, and the movie won't re-appear in either format for 10 years.
Tarzan (1999) became the last film (short-length or feature-length) made by Walt Disney Animation Studios to win an Academy Award until Paperman (2012) won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film of the Year, 13 years later, though other films made by Disney Animation have been nominated.
Terk is the only Character to have the Same Voice Actor for both her Young and Adult self, as well as the first of any Disney Character (unless you count Kaa in Jungle Cubs (1996) (a TV Spin Off to The Jungle Book (1967))) to have the Same Voice Actor for both their Young and Adult selves.
Lance Henriksen was cast as Kerchak as the filmmakers felt that only his powerfully deep and gruff voice would be able to "fill the immense size of Kerchak".
The first Tarzan movie to have a one-word title.
Tarzan has been adapted from its book many times over the years and is second only to Dracula in the adaptation chart. Also, the boat that Clayton and his team use to get from the freighter ship to the jungle when they are going to hunt the gorillas is the same type of boat used in the "Jungle Cruise".
Before Sabor attacks Tarzan and the gorillas, if you look closely in the jungle you can see Sabor camouflaged into the jungle's surroundings.
This is not Glenn Close's first involvement in a Tarzan movie - she dubbed the voice of Andie MacDowell in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984).
Studio trademark: Habitually barefoot character(s): Both Tarzan and Jane are barefoot most of the time.
Harrison Ford was considered for the voice of Kerchak
When one of the gorillas takes Clayton's gun to examine it, he holds it up and stares down the barrel, in exactly the same pose as one of the apes at Disneyland's "Jungle Cruise" attraction.
There are approximately 1100 names in the closing credits.
During Terk's musical trashing of the explorers' camp, two apes mimic the bump-bump step seen in the classic Disney short In the Bag (1956).
According to the film commentary, the lighting in Tarzan's duel against Sabor is symbolic. Whenever Tarzan is safe from Sabor, he's always in the shade, but he's vulnerable to Sabor when he's outside of the shadows. The commentators say this reflected how the gorillas were safe in their shady and secluded tree nests.
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One movie-goer was compelled to write to the New York Times on July 22nd to vent his anger at how Tarzan's exaggerated physique would cause unrealistic expectations in young boys.
One of Clayton's henchman called Samuel in production material, who captures Jane on the ship and is bitten by her as he prepares to lock her in the brig is a caricature of Tarzan's supervising animator Glen Keane.
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The second 2-disc Collector's Edition DVD to be released by Disney.
While certain elements make this appear to be on the east African coast (as in the reference in inland being to the west), Kenya does not have the jungles you see in the film, which are more than 600 miles inland in the Rwanda / Burundi areas. The proximity to the coast would place this in west Africa. As there are colobus monkeys (black with white stripes), this would narrow things severely, placing them in the DRC (Congo at the setting of the film) within traveling distance of the narrow coastal area where it meets the Atlantic. Also, gorillas are not tree-climbers and the tree-dwelling monkeys have a baboon-like snout. While baboons can climb, they, like gorillas, are not true tree-dwellers.
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The song "Son of Man" sung by Phil Collins talks of Tarzan as the Son of Man. The actor Brian Blessed, who does the voice of Clayton, Tarzan's enemy, played Peter, a disciple and friend of Christ in _"The Wednesday Play" (1964) {Son of Man (#1.143)_, Son of Man being Jesus in this case, who first used this expression of himself.
Laura Linney auditioned for the role of Jane Porter.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Clayton is the ninth Disney villain to fall to his death and the first to die by hanging. Originally, the Disney animators set the climactic fight of the film on the freighter ship, with Tarzan sending Clayton to his doom via a river boat explosion. But when animation began on the sequence, the animators discovered that Tarzan had "lost his edge" on the freighter ship (as seen in the scene were Tarzan tries to escape from Clayton's henchmen on the ship). The animators moved the final fight with Clayton back to the jungle, where Tarzan's character had the advantage.
Jane's clothes get more revealing over the course of the movie. This is meant to reflect her transformation from a proper lady to a more free-spirited young woman. When she's first introduced, she's wearing traditional Victorian/Edwardian clothes, like high-heeled boots and a puffy dress. She also wears her hair up in a bun. The day after she meets Tarzan, she wears a simple yellow shirt and green skirt. She is also barefoot and wears her hair in a half-up, half-down style. After she falls in love with Tarzan, she starts to wear a white tank top and red skirt and her hair is down altogether. In the final scene - when she stays with Tarzan in the jungle - she wears a red crop top and matching miniskirt.

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