Characters: Tarzan

Characters from the Disney film:

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    Tarzan 

Tarzan

Voiced By: Tony Goldwyn, Alex D. Linz, Michael T. Weiss

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Black-haired in the books.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Tarzan as a kid.
  • Adorkable: As a child, Tarzan was quite awkward at trying to fit in. As an adult, he's a lovestruck fool whenever he's around Jane.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: A mild example. Tarzan wasn't actively ostracized, but none of the gorillas had any instincts on how to cope with him. They adapt to him as he grows up - and vice versa.
  • Animal Motifs: Gorillas, given his famous Primal Chest-Pound, knuckle-walking, and being raised his entire life by gorillas.
  • Badass Bookworm: He becomes utterly fascinated with books and reading once Jane and Professor Porter arrive.
  • Badass In Charge: Becomes this after Kerchak dies and gives his son the job of protecting the family.
  • Braids of Action: In a Dreadlock Rasta style.
  • Chaste Hero: The TV series shows that Tarzan doesn't understand the concept of flirting.
  • Chick Magnet: The TV series has Tarzan being immediately swooned over by Jane's friends, and to a darker extent, Queen La.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Tarzan doesn't seem to understand the attraction other females have for him, until Jane points it out.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: He relies on the flexibility of bare feet too much for shoes to be an option. Wearing his father's shoes near the end of the movie puts a real dent in his acrobatic abilities.
  • Dreadlock Rasta: His hairstyle... or, in this case, his complete lack of a hairstyle.
  • Fish out of Water: In human society after being raised by gorillas for most of his life.
  • Genius Bruiser: He develops stone-age technology by himself as a child with nothing to go on but his own intuition. And manages to figure out reading and human language conventions in a matter of months.
  • Happily Adopted: By Kala.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: When he wears human clothing for the first time.
  • Hulk Speak: When talking to humans. He mostly grows out of it by the end.
  • Interspecies Adoption: Tarzan was raised and loved by Kala.
  • Kubrick Stare: Jane comments on this habit of his: "I'd never seen such eyes."
  • Le Parkour: Takes this to new heights, especially with his "tree-surfing".
  • Loin Cloth: His only clothing.
  • Love at First Sight/Single-Target Sexuality: Towards Jane.
  • Mr. Fanservice: A handsome, muscular young man who walks around in nothing but a Loin Cloth.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: He manages to get a throat lock on a silverback gorilla who's much more muscular than him.
  • Nature Hero: He is basically the Trope Codifier.
  • Nice Guy: Despite being a Nubile Savage, Tarzan is one of the sweetest, bravest, thoughtful and humble men you'll ever meet.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: He shows shades of this when he gets too close to Jane.
  • Nubile Savage: He looks very clean for a man living in the jungle. Unusually for an Englishman, he doesn't seem able to grow facial hair.
  • Official Couple: With Jane Porter.
  • Only One Name: His original human name as a baby is never revealed, as his human parents go nameless. In the books it was John Clayton (same as his father, Lord Greystoke.)
  • Parental Abandonment: They were killed by a leopard.
  • Primal Chest-Pound: At the end of the movie, he pounds his chest while letting out his Signature Roar.
  • Primal Stance: To show his savage upbringing, he walks on all fours, using his knuckles as front limbs, similarly to the gorillas that raised him.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Raised by Wolves: He was raised by gorillas.
  • Signature Roar: The Disney team decided to keep the most iconic thing Johnny Weismuller added to the Tarzan franchise: that primeval, challenging yodel.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Explicitly stated by himself in the TV series — "Jane is the best."
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Tarzan speaks fluent animal (he even teaches it to other human characters). However, for all his skill there are some animals who just aren't interested in talking. Like Sabor.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Without the mustache, Tarzan's father looks identical to his son.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: For a man living in the jungle his whole life, he is quite handsome.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Tarzan was an awkward, clumsy kid who couldn't swing on a vine if his life depended on it. Fast-forward into his adulthood, he's the strongest and fastest of his family, who can now surf on the vines.
  • Unkempt Beauty: He didn't look bad for a man living in the jungle with no opportunity for hygiene.
  • Vine Swing: He often travels around the jungle like this.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: For the majority of the movie he wears nothing but a Loin Cloth.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Tarzan is constantly seeking the approval of Kerchak, who refuses to accept Tarzan as a member of the gorilla pack, much less as his adopted son. Kerchak almost accepted him when he defeated Sabor, until the arrival of the British expedition team reminded him of his distrust in humans. That all changes when Tarzan comes back to save the gorillas. Sadly, it doesn't last that long, as Kerchak receives a fatal bullet wound from Clayton. After Clayton's death, Tarzan kneels over Kerchak, who passes on leadership of the pack to Tarzan and even acknowledges Tarzan as his son with his last words.
  • Wild Child: In the first act of the movie.

    Jane Porter 

Jane Porter

"London will seem so small after all this."
Voiced by: Minnie Driver, Olivia D'Abo

  • Action Survivor: Jane wasn't raised in the jungle and isn't a fighter, but survives using her wits and the lessons she learned from Tarzan and their family.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Blonde (and American) in the books.
  • Adorkable: She's nerdy and bookish, with a tendency to talk a lot, but this doesn't make her any less attractive. Tarzan certainly falls in Love at First Sight with her.
  • Badass Bookworm: Is smart throughout the entire movie, but when she takes a level in badass in the climax, it really comes to shine.
  • Bare Your Midriff: In the closing scene.
  • Brainy Brunette: Runs in the family: her father is a professor, and she must have learned a lot from him.
  • British Stuffiness: She's a proper English lady when she first shows up. She gradually gets out of it as her relationship with Tarzan develops.
  • Crush Blush: She's endearingly shy about her attraction and blushes often.
  • Daddy's Girl: With a Bumbling Dad, as was tradition in the 90s with Disney, or so it would seem.
  • Deadpan Snarker: How she gets by when being a Fish out of Water.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: When out of her gown and in casual wear Jane forgoes shoes. Not to mention her first scene has her boot get stolen by a baboon. Then after choosing to stay behind to live with Tarzan, she gives up shoes all together and stays barefoot throughout the Sequel Series The Legend of Tarzan.
  • Fish out of Water: Resulting in her being a Damsel in Distress.
  • Friend to All Living Things: She came to the jungle (with her dad) to study gorillas. Jane even playfully conversed with a baby baboon.
  • Green Eyes: In this case, indicating an affinity for nature.
  • Going Native: At the end of the film.
  • Happily Married: In the Series.
  • Held Gaze: Her first meeting with Tarzan.
  • I Choose to Stay: She would rather stay with Tarzan in the jungle than go back to England.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Just look at Minnie Driver. Plus, a lot of Jane's scenes were ad-libbed.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: To symbolize that she loses her stuffiness.
  • Missing Mom: In the TV series, it's strongly hinted that Jane's mother died.
  • Motor Mouth: Due to Minnie Driver's hilarious ad-libbing.
  • Ms. Fanservice: She becomes a bit more... relaxed with her attire as the film goes on.
  • Nice Girl: Jane is kind, empathetic, proper, charming, and sweet.
  • Official Couple: With Tarzan.
  • Spirited Young Lady: She accompanies her father to a completely unexplored region of Africa and certainly doesn't stay in camp while the others explore.
  • Stripperiffic: In her final scene she's in a sort of two-piece, not particularly revealing except by Victorian standards. Although a bared midriff is quite scandalous by the standards of the time.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: In the TV series it was revealed that Jane looks exactly like her mother.
  • Tempting Fate: "It can't get much worse can it?" *cue rain* "Obviously, it can."
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: An interspecies example: She's (human) the Girly Girl to Terk's (gorilla) Tomboy.
  • Took a Level in Badass: One episode of the TV series, has Jane showing her survival skills when her friends come to visit. A huge leap from her helplessness in the movie.

    Kala 

Kala

Voiced By: Glenn Close, Susanne Blakeslee

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Although she is usually a gentle person, Kala is capable of aggression when necessary and is also very brave, fighting against the deadly leopard Sabor in order to protect the baby Tarzan.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Her initial interaction with Tarzan is governed by this: she has no long-term plans, she just doesn't want the cute (admittedly stinky!) mystery creature to be eaten.
  • The Cutie: Rounded features, placid eyes and gestures, and a loving and sympathetic heart.
  • Mama Bear: She performs some impressive feats when trying to get the baby Tarzan away from Sabor.
  • Morality Pet: Acts as one to her mate, Kerchak. She's probably the sole person he listens to.
  • Nice Girl: Kala is calm, gentle, kind, loving, and beautiful. She loves her son Tarzan so unconditionally, although she said that she knew Tarzan wouldn't replace her firstborn son who was killed by Sabor.
  • Parental Substitute: She takes Tarzan in after his parents are killed by Sabor. Her own son was killed by the same leopard.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Played with. Kerchak seems to think she's trying to replace their dead child with Tarzan (a notion he resents), but her real motivation amounts to, "He needs me."
  • Spared By Adaptation: Unlike in the book, she's still alive at the end of the movie.

    Kerchak 

Kerchak

Voiced By: Lance Henriksen

  • Action Dad: He often gets in fights to protect his family; first with Sabor and then with Clayton.
  • Adaptational Heroism: He was a villain in the books.
  • Animal Eyes: He has yellow sclerae, unlike the rest of the gorillas who have white, humanlike sclerae, giving him a more ferocious look.
  • Badass: He's a large, tough silverback gorilla.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: When he sees Tarzan held at gunpoint by Clayton, he charges. Turns out Tarzan is family, after all.
  • Composite Character: Of the book's Kerchak (his name, leader of the tribe) and Tublat (Kala's mate, unfriendly father figure to Tarzan).
  • Hero Antagonist: Although he comes off as obstinate and hostile, Kerchak is loving to his family and dedicated to his entire community. He regularly fights to the death for their safety. He's suspicious of mankind at all times, and while he never repudiates Tarzan for being a man, he can't bring himself to accept Tarzan as a gorilla.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He is never friendly towards Tarzan over the course of the movie... because he sees Tarzan as a threat to the gorilla family. He has a change of heart when Tarzan saves the gorillas from Clayton.
  • Killer Gorilla: Subverted. He only attacks to defend his family.
  • Large and In Charge: He's the biggest gorilla, and the leader of the family.
  • Papa Wolf: He menaces Jane and her father when they get close to the gorillas - and he's not bluffing. Before that, he effortlessly sweeps through a herd of rampaging elephants to rescue a baby gorilla and flies out without a scratch.
  • Primal Chest-Pound: He's a silverback gorilla, after all.
  • Properly Paranoid: Kerchak turns out not to be entirely wrong about not trusting the humans once Clayton's true plans are revealed.
  • Top-Heavy Guy: Being an adult gorilla, his muscled forearms and torso are massive.

    Clayton 

Clayton

"I was born for Africa, and Africa was created for me!"
Voiced by: BRIAN BLESSED

    Professor Porter 

Prof. Archimedes Q. Porter

Voiced By: Nigel Hawthorne, Jeff Bennett

  • Absent-Minded Professor: He has no idea that Clayton is a poacher.
  • Bumbling Dad: Following a tradition of fathers of Disney's female leads.
    • Leads to a few cases of Berserk Button in the series - especially where Jane and Tarzan are involved; fuck with them at your own cost.
  • Friend to All Living Things: He approaches the gorillas with bumbling good will, and - aside from Kerchak - the gorillas quickly overcome their suspicion of him.
  • Green Eyes: Like his daughter, his green eyes probably reflect an affinity with the natural world.
  • Nice Guy: Professor Porter is caring, brave, joyful, and fatherly.
  • Shipper on Deck: He's the one that makes Jane realize she's in love with Tarzan and convinces her to stay with him.

    Terk 

Terk

Voiced By: Rosie O'Donnell, April Winchell, Audrey Wasilewski
Terk is Tarzan's 'cousin' and best friend from childhood.

    Tantor 

Tantor

Voiced By: Wayne Knight, Jim Cummings

  • Adorkable: A huge, sweet elephant who's scared of almost everything.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Apart from being very, very big, he is loyal to Tarzan to such an extent that he puts aside his fear to jump off a cliff, climb onto a boat and beat the ever loving shit out of everyone and everything until Tarzan is rescued.
  • The Big Guy: He is an elephant, and he has the strength that comes with one.
  • Cowardly Lion: He has all sorts of phobias, despite being a gigantic African Elephant.
  • Gentle Giant: He's a large elephant, but he wouldn't hurt a fly.
  • Honorable Elephant: He may be cowardly, but when he needs to help Tarzan, his heart is at the right place.
  • Nervous Wreck: Is he ever! See Cowardly Lion above.
  • Nice Guy: Tantor is friendly, sensitive, pleasant, caring, and ultimately brave.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Near the end of the film, when he rescues Tarzan.
  • Those Two Guys: He and Terk are seldom seen without one another.

    Sabor 

Sabor

Voiced By: N/A

  • Adaptation Species Change: She's a lioness in the original book. She was changed into a leopardess presumably to avoid Misplaced Wildlife.
  • Badass: Despite being smaller and more fragile, she tears circles around Kala and almost kills Kerchak.
  • Cats Are Mean: She's terrifying and brutal, but no more than a normal predatory animal.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Dies around halfway through the movie, before the appearance of the British research team.
  • The Dreaded: Nobody wants to go up against her.
  • Talking Animal: The only established animal character to avert this; she is purely feral and dehumanized through and through.
  • Panthera Awesome: She is a Badass leopard, and stronger than the gorillas.
  • Predators Are Mean: As the main antagonist in the first act of the movie, she constantly pursues the gorillas. Unlike the gorillas or the elephants, she's not anthropomorphized at all.
  • Starter Villain: She is the first foe Tarzan fights as an adult.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: She does a lot of effort to get her paw on baby Tarzan, even when he's already defended by Kala, and then puts on an impressive fight with adult Tarzan.

    Tarzan's Parents 

Tarzan's Parents

Voiced By: N/A

  • Badass: The only survivors of the ship-wreck, and also able to create an awesome treehouse that would be the envy of the Swiss Family Robinson.
  • Badass Mustache: Tarzan's father has a cool one.
  • Happily Married: Judging from their moment after both of them are on the lifeboat.
  • No Name Given: Their names are not revealed. In the books, they were John and Alice Clayton, Lord and Lady Greystoke.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Tarzan's mother had auburn hair and bluish-green eyes.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Tarzan received his father's hair color and facial structures, while gaining his mother's eye color and hair style.
  • The Voiceless: Neither character has any lines: in fact, they're already deceased by the time the movie has its first line of dialogue.