Disney: Tarzan

"Come stop your crying, it'll be alright;
just take my hand, hold it tight.
I will protect you from all around you;
I will be here - don't you cry."

Tarzan, released in 1999, is the 37th film in the Disney Animated Canon. Based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan series, it stars Tony Goldwyn as the eponymous hero, Minnie Driver as his Love Interest Jane, and BRIAN BLESSED as the antagonist, Clayton.

The film opens in the late 1860s, with a couple and their infant son ending up in Darkest Africa after a shipwreck. Later, Kala, a gorilla whose infant son was killed by a leopard, Sabor, hears a baby cry in an abandoned treehouse. As she enters, she sees blood covered paw prints and the dead parents; also the predator's victims. Action ensues and Kala saves the boy from Sabor. Her mate, Kerchak, the dominant male of the gorilla band, despises the human for his appearance, but Kala raises him anyway, naming him "Tarzan".

Tarzan grows up to become a strong gorilla-like man, whose best friends are a tomboy female gorilla and a neurotic elephant (Rosie O'Donnell and Wayne Knight). One day, Sabor attacks the gorillas and is defeated by Tarzan, which earns him some respect from Kerchak. But then a British expedition team that came to study gorillas appears, led by Professor Archimedes Q. Porter. His daughter Jane is attacked by baboons, surviving only after being rescued by Tarzan. Now Tarzan must decide where he belongs - and also prevent the trigger-happy hunter guide Clayton from ruining everything...

The story was continued by an animated series, The Legend of Tarzan, and two direct-to-video sequels, a compilation film called Tarzan & Jane and an Interquel called Tarzan II.

Tropes present in this film include:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: When Kala takes Tarzan to his parents' treehouse.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Kerchak was a villain in the book. Here, while he disapproves of Tarzan, he is actually a benevolent leader of the gorillas.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Clayton. In the novels, he is Tarzan's cousin who inherits the title after Tarzan's parents are presumed dead. His worst fault is that he is not quite as brave or capable as Tarzan. Otherwise, he is a perfectly nice English gentleman, who is willing to sacrifice his life to save Jane.
  • Adaptation Distillation: In the film, Tarzan is raised by gorillas. In the books, he is raised by "Mangani", some kind of ill-defined, made-up Frazetta Man while gorillas are Always Chaotic Evil. Disney presumably changed this to reflect how science has marched on since the days of Burroughs, revealing gorillas to be Gentle Giants.
    • In a non-zoology-related example, the books are filled with serial-style adventures with sci-fi and fantasy elements. The movie strips it down to keep focus on Tarzan's identity crisis and his relationship with Jane. The TV series includes more of the pulp fantasy elements, however.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the books, Tarzan and Jane have black and blonde hair, while here they're different shades of brown.
  • Adaptation Species Change:
    • Sabor was a lioness, but here, she's changed to a leopardess.
    • Also, the apes Tarzan lived with weren't gorillas, but a fictional species of ape called mangani.
    • In the original books, Tarzan has a monkey sidekick named Nkima, but in the classic films and live action TV show he has a chimp sidekick named Cheeta. Here, he has two sidekicks: Terk, a gorilla and Tantor, an elephant.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Tarzan as a kid.
  • Adorkable: Jane.
  • Adult Fear:
    • When Kerchak and Kala are asleep, their baby runs off just long enough for a predator to kill him.
    • Kala finds baby Tarzan alone, in a house that was obviously attacked. Not long after, she has to save him from the leopard.
    • The piranha scene, while really funny, also gets into this. Tantor's mother loses track of him when the elephants are freaking out over the "piranha", and in the ensuing stampede, Kerchak has to save a baby gorilla from being trampled to death.
    • Kala feels the same terror any mother would when her adopted son has to fight a leopard armed only with a stone-tipped spear.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: The infant who would become Tarzan gets his hair ruffled by his human father after the baby points out a perfect tree in which to build their new home.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: All elephants in this movie are red. According to Word of God, the animators were inspired by images of elephants that rolled in red dirt.
  • Anachronism Stew: Very mild case of mixing Victorian elements, but the Porters tell Tarzan that on returning to England he will be a celebrity who everyone from Charles Darwin to Rudyard Kipling will want to meet. However, Kipling did not publish his first collection of poems until 1886, four years after Darwin's death in 1882. Aside from the Kipling reference, however, the elements are remarkably consistent; the penny-farthing bike, the transition from wooden ship at the beginning to steamship, the magic-lantern technology, and most tellingly the comet pin the date of the main story down to 1882.
  • Animal Talk
  • Artistic License Biology:
    • Tarzan's often able to win over others' sympathy through his eyes, including the gorillas. In reality, gorillas do not like shared eye contact, perceiving it as a challenge. Locking eyes with one of them is demanding for a fight.
    • A human walking on his knuckles as Tarzan does would be extremely painful, and cause severe damage to the bones in the hands. Gorillas get away with this due to thicker knuckle bones and arms longer than their legs, unlike humans. As he's spent most of his life walking on all fours, Tarzan's pretty fortunate that his back isn't wrecked as well.
    • The lead baboon has the colorful face of a mandrill, something real baboons lack.
    • The female African elephants in the film are portrayed without tusks. Female Asian elephants have no tusks, but African ones do.
    • Played for Laughs with Tantor's trunk, which he accurately uses as a snorkel like real elephants... and as a periscope, complete with radar noises! Does he have eyes inside his trunk?
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!:
    Jane: Put me down! Put me down!
    [sees baboons coming closer]
    Jane: Pick me up! Pick me up! Pick me uuuuuup!
    • Later on, said by Clayton: "Get up, get up! ... Don't get up."
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Kerchak and Kala often bicker onscreen, but they do have their moments that show that they genuinely care for each other. Kerchak, for example, is visibly relieved when Kala returns from collecting Tarzan... then thumps his chest and roars angrily when she says she is keeping Tarzan... then gives in, but tells her Tarzan won't replace their son. Later in the movie when all the gorillas are imprisoned by Clayton, it is only when Kala is thrown in a cage that makes Kerchak utterly flip and tear the net imprisoning him to shreds.
  • Battle Strip: As Tarzan swings to the rescue of Kerchak and the other gorillas from Clayton and his men, we're treated to a shot of him stripping off his shirt mid swing and leaving it on a log behind him. By the time he arrives at his destination, he's back in the loincloth. We never see what happens to his pants. However, given that he wears them in the series that follows this film, we can assume he later retrieved them.
  • Berserk Button: After Tarzan comes home and is shot - and Kala is only just missed by the bullet - Kerchak goes into one humongous rage.
  • Big Bad: Clayton is ultimately revealed to be this.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Tarzan gets to lead one, swinging in yelling at the last second, but that's par for the course.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Implied to be the case with the elephants and the gorillas/Tarzan. We generally only hear them talking to each other in Translation Convention, but when Tantor rescues Tarzan, he greets him with a trademark elephant trumpet that seems to be intended to mean something beyond, well, just being an elephant trumpet.
  • Bloodless Carnage:
    • When characters get shot.
    • Averted when Sabor leaves a visible claw wound on Tarzan during their fight. It seems to disappear pretty quickly, but still.
    • In the beginning of the movie, when Kala enters the cabin, you can see bloody leopard footprints that lead to the (presumably partially-consumed) bodies of Tarzan's parents.
  • Body Horror: If you look closely enough, you can see that the hand of Tarzan's mother is gone, meaning that Sabor probably ate it, or at least ripped it off.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Clayton gets several shots in a row from a double barreled shotgun.
  • Bowdlerise: When Disney Channel aired the film, the Shadow Discretion Shot of Clayton's fate was removed.
  • Brainy Brunette: Jane.
  • Break Up Make Up Scenario: Between Tarzan and his whole clan.
  • Brick Joke: One of the educational slides inspires Tarzan to present Jane with flowers, and later when he tries to give her the flowers he kneels in the exact same pose as the man in the slide, and in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it gag he almost forgets to put his hand over his chest.
  • Bring It Back Alive: Clayton aims to do this with Tarzan's gorilla family. Aside from Kerchak, who he decides he'd rather prefer "stuffed".
  • Building Swing: Tarzan uses his Vine Swing skills on a boat too.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: It's downplayed, but when Kerchak is telling the troop to stay away from the humans, Tarzan, whom Kerchak has shunned all his life for being different, runs up to him, takes a fighting pose, and shouts, "Why are you so threatened by anyone different from you?!"
  • The Cameo: Mrs. Potts and Chip show up in the human's camp.
  • Catchphrase: Tarzan's famous call.
  • Cats Are Mean: Sabor...
  • The Cavalry: In the form of Tantor of all creatures, along with Terk riding him, jump off a cliff, swim up to a boat filled with Mooks, and pull off quite the Big Damn Heroes moment to save Tarzan.
  • Chasing A Butterfly: In the opening scene, Kala and Kerchak's baby follows a frog, which leads him to Sabor the leopard.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Tarzan teaches Jane a phrase in the gorilla language, and at the end of the movie, she repeats the phrase to the gorilla tribe. The phrase was "Jane will stay with Tarzan." (pronounced as "oh ee eh ah oo")
    • Tarzan's ability to imitate the sound of a rifle with his mouth - he uses it to intimidate Clayton.
  • Composite Character: Kerchak. He's still the leader, but this version has more in common with Tublat (who was Kala's mate, didn't care much for Tarzan). He was also much more benign than both Kerchak (who was dangerous, especially during bouts of madness) and Tublat (who was at least a very 'disagreeable' fellow who no one missed when Tarzan killed him) from the novel.
  • Conspicuous CG: Much of the scenery, though it's integrated well thanks to the revolutionary "Deep Canvas" process.
  • Cub Cues Protective Parent: Jane encounters a cute little baby baboon which steals her journal. After Jane steals it back, the baby baboon starts crying, calling the attention of its mother and the rest of its family.
  • Cue the Rain: When Jane is alone in the jungle.
    Jane: It can't get any worse, can it?
    [thunder clashes, rain begins]
    Jane: Obviously, it can.
  • Cut Song: A few songs cut from the film were actually demo versions of the songs that later appeared in the film. One notable mention goes towards "6/8 Intro" which was actually Phil Collins' proposition as to how the music in the film should sound. Another one is "I Will Follow" which served as a precursor to "Strangers Like Me", but it sounds more like Tarzan is trying to make Jane feel happy.
  • Daddy's Girl: Jane and her father are very close.
  • Damsel in Distress: Jane at first. She's an example of that trope played right. She doesn't need to be saved because she's dumb or particularly weak, but because she's a Fish out of Water in a very dangerous environment in a time period when women weren't prepared by society for such situations.
  • Dark Is Not Evil/Light Is Not Good: As explained in the directors' commentary, for the jungle scenes the usual symbolism is intentionally inverted—shadows represent shelter, thus safety, and light represents exposure, thus danger. Pay particular attention during the fight between Tarzan and Sabor.
  • Disneyfication: The original novels were much more violent, as well as ethnocentric and overtly racist, all of which had to be slashed for the animated film. Also, in the novel, it was the much-more-savage Kerchak who was responsible for the deaths of Kala's infant and Tarzan's father, John Clayton Sr. (as Tarzan's mother, Alice Rutherford Clayton, died of natural causes). One of the few examples of a work being improved by this trope.
  • Disney Villain Death: And a very painful one, shown only in silhouette.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Jane is nearly killed by a troop of baboons, apparently because she refused to give a drawing to a baby baboon.
  • Egomaniac Hunter: Clayton, who provides the trope picture.
  • Eloquent In My Native Tongue: Tarzan not speak good English, since he's just now learning it, but in scenes where it's just Tarzan and the apes, he's shown to be a perfectly eloquent speaker of the ape language. He's even considered something of a notorious Deadpan Snarker, but hanging around Terk will do that to a guy.
  • Epic Tracking Shot: Visually, the film is gorgeous and used cutting edge effects to follow Tarzan as he Le Parkour's through the jungle, in contrast to the simpler rope swings of previous adaptations. The animators based it on some of the more dynamic videos made for extreme sports.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Old-world monkeys, baboon, and (if you count apes) more gorillas than you can shake a loincloth at.
  • Falling in Love Montage: "Strangers Like Me".
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • Kerchak and Kala's infant son is a little too energetic and curious for his own good when he chases a frog while his parents sleep, and he runs into the leopard Sabor. Sabor pounces on him and the movie cuts to his devastated parents' reaction when he shrieks as Sabor kills and devours him.
    • We see Kala happen upon the treehouse Tarzan's family built. She goes in curiously and we find it a bit too quiet. She soon sees why, the place has been trashed and the bodies of Tarzan's family are seen next to a set of bloodied pawprints on the floor.
    • Clayton gets tangled up in a cluster of vines high in the trees, and then proceeds to cut his way out of them, all the while the vines are tightening around his neck. Unfortunately for him, he cuts one too many vines and falls to his death. While the film does cut to a Gory Discretion Shot, lightning flashes and we can see Clayton's hanging silhouette on a nearby tree.
  • Fish out of Water: Jane is a well-educated, independent and reasonably brave young woman, but she's out of her depths in the African rain forest.
  • Flight of Romance: A variant appears briefly in the 'Strangers Like Me' montage, when Tarzan teaches Jane the basics of vine-swinging.
  • Flowers of Romance: Tarzan watches a slideshow which includes an image of a man giving flowers to a woman. He puts together that this is how the English propose to each other, so he goes about the jungle collecting flowers to make a bouquet for Jane. He accidentally bumps into her in the process, bursting the bouquet apart and leaving him with only two flowers, which oddly makes his request for Jane to stay even sadder.
  • Genius Bruiser: Tarzan. From an early age you can see that he's pretty smart, learning several animal languages, though at first that seems just like his increased mental capacity compared to the apes. Then he starts to show basic engineering capabilities, building spears, rain-blocks, and various other useful things. Then, when Jane and the others arrive, he learns English extremely fast, and is a voracious reader. But he can also kill leopards by himself.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • When Jane almost falls off a tree, Tarzan props her up by poking her in the chest, and shortly afterwards presses his head between her breasts to listen to her heartbeat.
    • Terk rants to Tantor about Tarzan spending all his time with the humans in the camp instead of with her, describing a giraffe's birth in the process. "Drops us like a newborn giraffe; KERPLOP!"
  • Gilligan Cut: When Tarzan tries to get Terk and Tantor to distract Kerchak:
    Terk: Okay! But don't make me do anything embarrassing...
    [cut to Terk bursting out of the undergrowth in Jane's poofy yellow dress]
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Used liberally because this movie has a lot more death than most Disney offerings. Tarzan's parents, Kala and Kerchak's baby, Sabor, and Clayton all meet violent deaths just offscreen.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: When Kerchak dies.
  • Handy Feet: Tarzan has them, taking the idea of being raised by apes to its logical conclusion by having him grasp things with his feet. Not as well as an ape, but pretty well for a human.
  • Happily Adopted: Tarzan. Invoked after Kala shows Tarzan the treehouse where he was found.
  • Heel-Face Turn: The baboons that caused Jane and Tarzan so much trouble are part of the horde of animals that come to help him fight Clayton and rescue the gorillas.
  • Held Gaze: This happens between Tarzan and Jane when he first meets the girl, and they stare into each other's eyes in wonder.
  • He's Dead, Jim: After Kerchak's last words to Tarzan, we get a Slow Motion shot of his arm falling to the ground.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Clayton brings about his own demise when, after being caught and suspended in some vines, he sinks into a Villainous Breakdown and starts mindlessly hacking away at them to get to Tarzan. He doesn't notice the one wrapped around his neck until it's too late, even as Tarzan points it out to him..
  • Hulk Speak: Tarzan. He mostly grows out of it by the end.
  • I Choose to Stay: Jane stays with Tarzan.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: In the film's climax when Tarzan has an easy opportunity to off Clayton with his own gun. After the villain taunts him to go ahead and do it, he comes to his senses and throws said gun away in disgust.
    Clayton: Be a man.
    Tarzan: Not a man like you!
  • I Have No Son: Kerchak's attitude towards Tarzan throughout the film. He finally accepts him as he dies.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted with Kerchak and Kala's first child.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Jane bears more than a passing resemblance to her voice actress, Minnie Driver.
  • Irony: While exploring the Porters' camp, Terk passes by a chemistry set and wonders what kind of primitive beasts are responsible for the mess.
  • 'It' Is De-simian-izing: When Kala brings the baby Tarzan to the rest of the gorillas, Terk and Kerchak both refer to Tarzan as 'it'. Kala, quietly and patiently, uses 'he' and 'him' until they follow her example.
  • It's Personal: Subverted; Tarzan doesn't know that Sabor killed his parents (or Kerchak and Kala's son), so the fight between the two has more meaning than he realizes.
  • Karmic Death: Clayton.
  • Killer Gorilla: Unlike the book it is based on, the movie averts this trope. The only character who shows signs of it is Kerchak, with his Papa Wolf tendencies.
    • Clayton sees them that way though, as he refers to them as "wild beasts". When he draws a rather poor sketch of a gorilla to ask Tarzan where the gorillas are, it has a large, snarling mouth with sharp teeth.
  • Large Ham: Terk. Oddly enough, not Clayton despite being voiced by BRIAN BLESSED, as his animation was more over-the-top than his voice acting.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: It took twenty years, but Tarzan is ultimately the one to bring down the one responsible for his parents' deaths. And, again, he's not even aware of that significance; he only killed Sabor because she was threatening his adoptive parents.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: Within the greater context of the Disney Renaissance. The most obvious departure from the old 90's formula was the fact that virtually all the music was sung in the background, as opposed to being sung by the characters (bar a few measures of "You'll Be in My Heart" sung by Kala near the beginning).
  • Left Stuck After Attack: During their final fight, Clayton comes after Tarzan with a machete, repeatedly stabbing into the cluster of vines where Tarzan's hiding. One thrust gets stuck in the trunk of the tree, forcing Clayton to work it loose, which gives Tarzan a chance to put some distance between them.
  • Le Parkour: Tarzan takes this to new heights, especially with his "tree-surfing".
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Jane starts out with her hair up, but in scenes where she bonds with Tarzan and the gorillas she lets her hair down.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Disney's Tarzan on Nintendo 64 came with a Tarzan figurine.
  • Loin Cloth: Tarzan's outfit.
  • Lost in Translation: The poetry of the song "Son of Man" relies on man being both a term for humankind in general as well as literally for a grown male adult; the former references Tarzan's species, the latter his coming of age. Many other languages don't have this kind of ambiguity, so they had to go in either one direction or the other, eliminating some of the poetry of the song.
  • Maniac Monkeys: The baboons are rather hostile.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Clayton.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Terk is far less easily frightened and more short-tempered than Tantor, despite him being an elephant.
  • Match Cut
  • Mighty Whitey: A downplayed version, in which Tarzan saves the day for another species rather than humans of another color. Maybe more like Mighty Human.
  • Mischief Making Monkey: The baby baboon that steals Jane's drawings.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Averted and parodied: the movie replaces the lions and tigernote  in the book with a leopard, and when young Tantor says the river has piranha, another elephant quickly remarks they live in South America. Although that doesn't explain how they know what piranhas are.
    • Played straight with the ring-tailed lemurs near the beginning, which are found in Madagascar, not mainland Africa.
  • Missing Mom: Archimedes references her once while Jane is excitedly recapping her swing through the trees with Tarzan while chased by raging baboons.
    Archimedes: She gets that from her mother. She would come up with stories like this. Not about - about men in loincloths, of course...
  • Mr. Fanservice: Tarzan, who can seamlessly cross from being undeniably badass to just plain adorable whenever he's with Jane. His choice of wardrobe also helps too.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Averted. Tarzan is in extremely good shape for a man of his build... but Kerchak can swat him aside effortlessly. However, on one occasion he manages to use holds he learned while tussling with Terk to pin Kerchak.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Tarzan after he puts Kerchak in a headlock.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: After failing to reach her own baby in time, Kala gets a second chance to stop Sabor from eating a child when she finds Tarzan.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the books, "Tantor" is a term for elephants in general.
    • Jane's sketch of Tarzan is titled "Tarzan of the Apes", which is the title of the first Tarzan novel.
    • Tarzan fighting Sabor out of sight and slowly lifting her corpse into sight is directly taken from Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, where Tarzan fights and kills an ape underwater. That movie's Tarzan also appears to be an influence on the Disney version's design.
    • Tarzan smashing Clayton's gun is a throwback to the old Johnny Weissmuller films, where Tarzan developed a habit of smashing stranger's guns on sight after seeing several of his friends shot (and been shot at himself).
  • The Native Rival: Kerchak.
  • Names To Run Away From: Or, rather, THINGS to run away from - in order, Mama Bear!Kala, Angry!Clayton, Angry!Kerchak, Tarzan (both Angry! and not) Angry!Tantor, a herd of (angry, wild) baboons and, finally, rhinoceroses.
  • Nature Versus Nurture: A big part of the conflict, probably the main one, revolves around Tarzan's struggle to decide whether he belongs with those who raised him and who he's been friends with his whole life, or with the creatures who look like him, think like him, and whom he came from.
  • Neck Snap: How Clayton dies, when a vine wraps around his neck and he plummets from a tree. The vine snags during the drop and..well, you imagine the rest.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Tarzan shows Clayton where the gorillas are when he brings Jane to meet his family.
  • No Name Given: Tarzan's parents are unnamed - in the books they were John and Alice Clayton, the Lord and Lady Greystoke.
  • Noodle Incident: Clayton apparently taught a parrot to sing "God Save the Queen".
  • Not Now, Kiddo
  • Nubile Savage: Tarzan, although his hair hangs in messy dreadlocks from lack of haircuts and no combing.
  • Nurture Over Nature: Tarzan's ultimate decision.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Done realistically. Jane sneaks away but is only just around the other side of the tree.
  • Oh, Crap:
    • The look on Clayton's face when Kerchak charges at him is quite understandable.
    • The expression on the face of the nameless hunter who has Jane trapped during the final fight is amusing; he's smug at having won... then there's a serious OH CRAP! expression when a whole freaking troop of baboons - one of whom is armed with an umbrella - charges at him.
    • Tarzan has one during the climatic fight between him and Clayton. After Tarzan has dropped a whole tangle of vines onto Clayton to incapacitate him, he starts cutting himself free in a rage...but doesn't notice that one vine around his neck. Tarzan realizes what is bound to happen and frantically tries to warn him, but too late — the result is not pretty.
  • Only One Name: Tarzan's original human name is not revealed. In the books it was John Clayton, and eventually he became Lord Greystoke.
  • Pale Females, Dark Males: Kerchak is black, Kala is brown, the rest of the gorillas are different shades of grey.
  • The Patriarch: Kerchak, so much.
  • Papa Wolf: Kerchak, to his troop, and at the end, to Tarzan.
  • Parental Love Song: "You'll Be in My Heart". Kala sings it to Tarzan, promising that she'll care for him and he will "be in [her] heart always."
  • Pop-Star Composer: Phil Collins. Notably, most foreign versions (that Phil Collins didn't sing himselfnote ), got a major pop star to sing the dubs; Hesham Nour in the Arabic version, Pella Ankarberg in the Swedish version, and Alex Panayi in the Greek version, just to name a few.
  • Primal Chest-Pound: Kerchak thumps his chest angrily when Kala tells him he wants to adopt Tarzan, and later when he menaces Jane. Tarzan also does this in the closing scene.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Tarzan uses this technique on Terk, who lampshades it.
  • Putting a Hand over His Mouth: A villain does this to Jane, who quickly bites it.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: The treehouse put together by Tarzan's birth-parents is incredibly intact after the better part of 20 years of neglect in a jungle climate. The outfit Tarzan finds there is even more so.
  • Raised By Gorillas
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Clayton dares Tarzan to shoot him, and finishes with, "Be a man."
  • Required Secondary Powers: Tarzan's ability to pick up English so fast can be attributed to his ability to mimic animal noises, which also allows him to have many jungle friends and imitate gunshots (although, given that he doesn't need to make elephant noises at Tantor, obviously it's not just gorillas that speak "gorilla").
  • Rule of Animation Conservation: The reason for Tarzan's knuckle walking, tree surfing, and other acrobatics. They wanted to have Tarzan do things a normal human actor simply couldn't do. Being animated also makes it much easier to show Tarzan having a legitimate bond with his adoptive family.
  • Rule of Cool: The guy is surfing down giant vines. Either he has really smooth feet, or the vines are greased. Otherwise, there is a going to be a lot of friction.
  • Save the Villain: Well, he tried anyway...
  • Scenery Porn: The jungle is animated beautifully.
  • Serendipitous Symphony: The "Trashing the Camp" sequence.
  • Shout-Out:
    • There are a couple of quotes referencing past Disney films as well:
    • During the start of the "Trashin' The Camp" sequence, as Tantor is frightened by every single object in the Porter camp, the object that scares him the most is a tea kettle and cup that bear a striking similarity to Mrs. Potts and her son.
      • Terk dances with a white skeleton in similar fashion and design to the classic Disney short The Skeleton Dance.
    • Another from Beauty and the Beast:
      Kerchak: You came back!
      Tarzan: I came home.
    • Terk's questioning Kala about what she will name Tarzan, and subsequent reaction, bears more than a passing resemblance to Thumper regarding Bambi and his mother.
  • Signature Roar: Tarzan's signature yell.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Tarzan's mom.
  • Straying Baby: Kerchak and Kala's baby chases after a frog while his parents are asleep. This ends with the worst outcome possible; getting eaten by Sabor the leopard.
  • Stripperiffic:
    • Jane wears less and less clothes as the movie goes on. At the very end, her outfit would have been considered obscene for the period.
    • Tarzan wears nothing but a Loin Cloth in the majority of the movie.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Without the mustache, Tarzan's father looks identical to his son.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Sabor. A leopard whose seemingly easy prey is suddenly defended by an adult gorilla would probably be better off seeking other prey.
  • Take Care of the Kids: Kerchak tells Tarzan to take care of his troop at the end of the film.
  • Tempting Fate: See Cue the Rain for one example.
  • Time Skip: Once from baby Tarzan to kid Tarzan, and then kid Tarzan to adult Tarzan. Both happen near a musical number, too - the first is immediately after "You'll Be In My Heart" and the second is during "Son Of Man".
  • Translation By Volume: Clayton tries to get Tarzan to understand the world "gorilla" by shouting it at him. Tarzan, of course, mimics him.
    Clayton: GO-RIL-LAS!
    Tarzan: GO-RIL-LAS!
  • Translation Convention: Around the animals, obviously.
  • Tsundere: Jane. Just watch her reactions from when Tarzan is realizing there are other creatures like him and the way they interact during "Strangers Like Me".
  • Vague Age: Tarzan's age is hard to pin down. As an adult, he is likely in his early twenties.
  • Vine Swing: Tarzan often does this; for example, when he rescues Jane from the baboons.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Tarzan. Walking pants-less, too.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Tarzan is constantly seeking the approval of Kerchak, who refuses to accept Tarzan as a member of the gorilla troop, much less as his adopted son. That all changes when Tarzan comes back to save them. 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 troop to Tarzan and acknowledges Tarzan as his son with his last words.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tarzan's deeply hurt that Kala let him think he was some kind of unique freak of nature... "Why didn't you tell me there were creatures that look like me?"
  • Wild Child: The title character.
  • You and What Army?: Tarzan may have been a pest as a child, but a baboon troop, a whole herd of elephants, a whole troop of gorillas - once freed, at least - and a freaking rhino and hippo ally with him to stop Clayton and the hunters.

Alternative Title(s):

Tarzan II