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Western Animation / Tarzan

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"Put your faith in what you most believe in
Two worlds, one family
Trust your heart, let faith decide
To guide these lives we see..."

Tarzan, released in 1999, is the 37th film in the Disney Animated Canon and the tenth and final film in the Disney Renaissance.note  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.note 

The film opens in the late 1860s, where an English couple and their infant son are the only survivors of a shipwreck off the coast of uncharted Darkest Africa. Using the remains of the ship, they build a new home in a large tree while they await rescue. At the same time, a gorilla named Kala and her mate Kerchak live peacefully with an infant child. The peace is soon shattered when their child is killed by the vicious leopard Sabor, and Kala is left devastated. Some time later, she hears a baby's cries and stumbles upon the now-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. Kerchak despises the human for his appearance, but Kala decides to raise him anyway, naming him "Tarzan".


Tarzan grows up to become a strong, gorilla-like man, whose best friends are a tomboyish 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. Then a British expedition team come 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. The movie was even adapted into a short-lived Broadway musical.


Tropes present in this film include:

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  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: Much of the scenery, though it's integrated well thanks to the revolutionary "Deep Canvas" process.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: When Kala takes Tarzan to his parents' treehouse.
  • Acoustic License: Lil' baby Tarzan must have some monstrously powerful lungs such that Kala can hear his crying coming from the top of the treehouse, across the rope bridge, through the jungle, and all the way to her while she's standing next to a waterfall.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Kerchak was a monstrous Killer Gorilla in the book. Here, while he disapproves of Tarzan, he is actually a stern but benevolent leader of the gorillas.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the books, William Clayton is Tarzan's cousin and is only looking for proof of Tarzan's father's death so he can inherit the family title, Lord Greystoke, and, finding Tarzan uninterested in returning to England or claiming the title himself, claims Tarzan died with them, and doesn't do anything villainous. Here he's the villain and unrelated to Tarzan.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
    • In the film, Tarzan is raised by gorillas. In the books, he is raised by "Mangani", a fictional ape species, 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 book series was filled with serial-style adventures, including sci-fi and fantasy elements. The movie keeps its focus on Tarzan's identity crisis and his relationship with Jane. The TV series, in an Expansion Pack World way, included more of the pulp fantasy elements. It should be noted the pulp fantasy elements did not appear until after the first book Tarzan of the Apes, which this film is an adaptation of.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the books, Tarzan and Jane have black and blonde hair respectively, while here their hair is different shades of brown.
  • Adaptation Species Change:
    • Sabor was a lioness, but here, she's changed to a leopardess, most likely to represent the fact that lions aren't necessarily the Kings (and Queens) of the Jungle, an environment where leopards are far more common.
    • Also in the book, 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. It should be noted that Nkima did not debut until Tarzan and the Lost Empire, the twelfth book in the series. This film is an adaptation of the first book Tarzan of the Apes and Terk and Tantor are both based on characters featured or mentioned in that novel.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Tarzan as a kid.
  • 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", Tantor is nearly crushed several times, 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.
    • Tarzan's parents desperately tried to fend off Sabor, but failed, and their son would likely have starved to death or been eaten by another predator if Kala had not found him.
  • 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 smear themselves with red-toned dust or mud (to keep off insects).
  • Anachronism Stew: A 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. The sequel series stretched the anachronisms a bit further.
  • Animal Stampede: The young Tarzan accidentally starts an elephant stampede when he tries to snatch some tail hair from them, and the elephants mistake him for a piranha. The elephants almost trample a baby gorilla, but Kerchak is fortunately quick enough to save the infant.
  • Animal Talk: Apparently gorillas and elephants share a language, as they understand each other and Tarzan. However, other animals such as baboons and leopards have their own language. Tarzan, at some point, also talks to the baboons - he's apparently a polyglot.
  • Animals Not to Scale: The green tree python from the "Son of Man" sequence is big as an reticulated python and even longer, despite the species being a small snake at only 2 meters in length.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Regarding baby Tarzan.
    Kerchak: Kala, I cannot let you put our family in danger!
    Kala: (holding baby Tarzan up) Does he look dangerous to you?!
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Tarzan's often able to win over others' sympathy through his eyes, including the gorillas. In reality, gorillas do not like direct eye contact, perceiving it as a challenge. Locking eyes with one of them is demanding 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 relative to their weight 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 alpha 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. Related to this, all the elephants are humpbacked like Asian elephants rather than saddlebacked that African elephants are.
      • Actually, tusklessness among African elephants isn't unheard of; higher levels of it, however, occur in populations heavily affected by the ivory trade, as elephants with bigger tusks are generally the first to be killed, thus selecting for the tuskless gene.
    • Played for Laughs with Tantor's trunk, which he accurately uses as a snorkel like real elephants... and as a periscope, complete with sonar noises! Does he have eyes inside his trunk? Or maybe it's just a visual representation of him sniffing?
    • In a scene, gorillas are shown eating termites, fishing for them with sticks. While lowland gorillas do occasionally eat termites, only certain tribes of chimpanzees were known to use a stick to fish for them at the time of the film's release. However, mountain gorillas were discovered doing this in 2014.
    • Sabor, the leopard who killed Tarzan's birth family when he was only an infant, is somehow still alive and dangerous when Tarzan is an 18-20 year old adult, despite the fact that leopards don't usually live past their late teens. There are exceptions, but such an elderly cat would definitely not be so insanely fast and agile.
    • Sabor is shown to have slitted pupils. Big cats actually have round pupils, while slit-pupils are present only in small cats.
    • Albeit with great difficulty, Tarzan does manage to physically hold Kerchak back to stop him from attacking Jane. Though it is difficult to gauge their strength with any precision, a silverback male gorilla usually tips the scales at about 400 pounds and is many times stronger than any human. A human attempting to take on an angry silverback in real life would literally be crushed in a heartbeat.
    • Similarly, Sabor is shown as being a close match for Kerchak in terms of strength and even knocking him to the ground so that Tarzan has to intervene. The heaviest leopard ever recorded weighed only 96 pounds, which combined with the fact that Silverback gorillas weigh about 400 pounds on average (combined with the issues relating to Sabor's age, as mentioned above) means that in real life Kerchak would have beat her to death in seconds, or at the very least broken several major bones the first time he threw her against a tree with all his strength.
    • Hippos are portrayed as docile and passive creatures, one is even shown letting young Tarzan ride on its snout. Anyone with even a faint familiarity with hippos knows that in Real Life they're the exact opposite. Hippos are also portrayed eating water plants in the daytime, when real-life hippos are nocturnal grazers.
    • Pythons are portrayed with a pair of large fangs. Fangs are only present in venomous snakes, and only a few species possess large ones. Pythons are non-venomous constrictors.
    • The parrots (resembling a Lilian's lovebird with the body shape of a macaw) from the "Strangers Like Me" sequence have three toes in front and one in back, instead of two toes in front and two in back.
    • It's easy to miss, but Professor Porter refers to rhinos and baboons as Rhinoceros bihornius and Theropithecus babunious respectively, neither of which are the actual scientific names of any real life species of rhinoceros or baboon. Rhinoceros bicornis was the actual scientific name of the black rhinoceros during the time period the movie takes place, though (it was renamed to Diceros bicornis in 1911, with the genus Rhinoceros kept for the one-horned Asian species). Theropithecus is a legitimate genus, but it refers to the gelada, a cousin of baboons living in the Ethiopian highlands, while baboons belong to the genus Papio.
    • Sabor has large scarce spots of a jaguar, and her roars are a combination of those of leopards, lions, tigers and cougars.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Either this trope is in effect or Clayton employs the two strongest men in the world, considering how easily they carry Kala (a female gorilla, who would usually weigh about 200-300 pounds) and a heavy steel cage (which would be around 500 pounds) without any signs of strain or difficulty.
  • 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."
  • Aw, 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 Damn Heroes: Surprisingly, and not without a little bit of defying the laws of physics, this is first pulled off by Terk and Tantor, who realized Tarzan was in danger and swam all the way to the ship, climbed on to it (somehow) and decimated its crew to save him. This is notable in that, had it not been for them, Tarzan would have been unable to get out of this situation and thus he'd be unable to save his gorilla family from being captured.
    • In turn and thanks to the above, Tarzan gets to lead the subsequent Big Damn Heroes moment, swinging in yelling at the last second to save the gorillas from Clayton and the rest of the poachers.
  • Big "NO!": Tarzan utters one whilst on Clayton's ship.
  • 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.
  • Binomium ridiculus: Professor Porter refers to rhinos and baboons as Rhinoceros bihornius and Theropithecus babunious respectively, neither of which is the actual scientific names of any real-life species of rhinoceros or baboon. Theropithecus is a legitimate genus, but it refers to the gelada, a cousin of baboons living in the Ethiopian highlands, while baboons belong to the genus Papio. Similarly, Rhinoceros is a valid genus... for the one-horned Indian rhino.
  • Bloodless Carnage:
    • When characters get shot.
    • Averted when Sabor and Tarzan both received gashes during their combat, although there was no dripping or excessive gore.
    • Averted right at 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. This in addition to the fact that, you know, it's a Disney movie where we get to see dead bodies on screen.
  • Bloody Handprint: Bloody pawprints, actually, and the moment Kala sees them on the floor of Tarzan's cabin, next to the bodies of his parents, is when she realizes what she's dealing with.
  • Bloodier and Gorier
  • 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.
  • Bright Is Not Good: Sabor and Clayton are associated with vibrant yellow hues, and are the main antagonists.
  • Bring It Back Alive: Clayton aims to do this with Tarzan's gorilla family. Aside from Kerchak, who he decides would be "better off stuffed".
  • Buffy Speak: Jane's description of Tarzan on their first meeting:
    Jane: And all this time I thought you were just a big-wild-quiet-silent-person-thing.
  • 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 threatened by anyone different from you?!"
  • The Cameo: Mrs. Potts and Chip show up in the human's camp, albeit without faces.
  • Cartoon Creature: Most of the animals in the film are real species, but the parrots that appear during "Strangers Like Me" may be an exception. Their color scheme is similar to that of the Lilian's lovebird, but their body shape is all wrong.
  • 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.
    • Later, Kerchak is at gunpoint when the cavalry arrives in the form of Tarzan - then Tantor, Terk, Jane and the Professor - then the other elephants, a hippo, a rhino (who apparently just got caught up in the general excitement), and finally the baboon pack.
  • 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 also teaches Jane how to vine swing, which she uses in the final battle.
    • Tarzan's ability to imitate the sound of a rifle with his mouth - he uses it to intimidate Clayton.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The movie is the coming-of-age story for Tarzan, who for most of his life was ostracised by a few of the gorillas on the count of being different. With the arrival of Clayton and the Porters, he realises that there are other 'creatures' like him and the film is basically about him having to chose between civilisation and his jungle upbringing.
  • Company Cross References: The tea set in the Porters' campsite resembles Mrs. Potts and Chip.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: It's clear that Kerchak was left completely heartbroken by the loss of his child even worse than Kala was, and actively resents Tarzan's presence because he feels like Kala is trying to replace the child they lost.
  • 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). Thus, it's an example of a work being improved by this trope.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Jane is nearly killed by a troop of baboons, apparently because she refused to give a drawing to a baby baboon.
  • 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.
  • Emotion Suppression: Kerchak seems to have been much warmer and more loving in the past, but was clearly traumatized by his failure to protect his and Kala's baby from Sabor, and subsequently became a hardened, stoic leader obsessed with protecting his troop at all costs.
  • 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.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Tantor is first introduced standing at the edge of the water asking his mother if it's sanitary and about the bacteria in it, and then freaks out upon seeing Tarzan in the water.
  • Eureka Moment: There's a particularly poignant variant during the scene where Tarzan meets Jane after rescuing from the monkeys when he catches her hand as she tries to slap him, pulls her glove off and presses his own hand against hers. This is the moment that Tarzan realises that this strange creature with the baggy yellow fur and the high-pitched voice he'd just saved is actually the same as him.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Old-world monkeys like baboons and (if you count apes) more gorillas than you can shake a loincloth at.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage: "Strangers Like Me".
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • Sabor pounces on Kerchak and Kala's infant son and takes him away. Though not shown onscreen, the infant's pained shrieks can be heard as the leopard kills and devours him.
    • Clayton falls from a tree with a vine latched around his neck. Despite another Gory Discretion Shot, the silhouette of his hanging corpse is briefly seen due to a lightning strike.
  • Fish out of Water: Jane is a well-educated, independent and reasonably brave young woman (especially for her time period), 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.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The four main non-humans: Kerchak the no-nonsense and task-oriented choleric, Kala the emotional and thoughtful melancholic, Terk the extroverted and talkative sanguine, and Tantor the fretful but intelligent phlegmatic.

  • 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.
  • 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]
  • Gone Horribly Right: In order for Jane, her father and as well as Clayton to see the gorillas safely, Tarzan disguises Terk and Tantor as Jane and her father, just to have Kerchak distracted and to chase after them. It works well, but it is until later when Terk and Tantor unexpectedly return back to the nesting grounds, Tarzan realizes that he's now screwed when Kerchak soon returns and promptly attacks Clayton for threatening a gorilla.
  • 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.
  • Hand Gagging: A villain does this to Jane, who quickly bites it.
  • Handy Feet: Tarzan has them, taking the idea of being raised by gorillas to its logical conclusion by having him grasp things with his feet. Not as well as a gorilla, but pretty well for a human.
  • Happily Adopted: Tarzan. Invoked after Kala shows Tarzan the treehouse where he was found.
  • Hartman Hips: While rather slim, Jane has wide hips and a posterior worth mentioning.
  • 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.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Chillingly, when Kala enters the ruined cabin and steps over the fallen shotgun, listen very closely and you can hear faint gunshot sounds, followed by Sabor's roar.
    • The spine-chilling scream Clayton lets out right before he dies.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Tarzan's parents, who die trying to protect him from Sabor.
  • He's Dead, Jim: After Kerchak's last words to Tarzan, we get a Slow Motion shot of his arm falling to the ground.
  • Huggy, Huggy Hippos: Hippos are portrayed as gentle, docile animals; Tarzan can safely swim among them, not worrying that he might be attacked, and one even allows him to sit on its nose.
  • Hulk Speak: Tarzan. He mostly grows out of it by the end.
  • I Choose to Stay: Jane stays with Tarzan. Realizing he has nothing waiting in England either, Professor Porter remains behind as well.
  • Idiot Ball: When Sabor attacks the gorilla tribe, all the other adults just stand back and watch while Tarzan and Kerchak fight the leopard, even though both of them were almost a match for Sabor on their own and the addition of a few more gorillas would have made it a massive Curb-Stomp Battle against Sabor. The other parents could at least be excused for standing back to protect their children, but Kala has no excuse since Tarzan is all she has left.
  • 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: (smugly) Go ahead, shoot me. Be a man.
    Tarzan: Not a man like YOU!
  • Infant Immortality: Averted with Kerchak and Kala's first child.
  • Ink-Suit Actor:
    • Tarzan bears a striking resemblance to Tony Goldwyn especially the teal eyes and the pointed chin.
    • Jane bears more than a passing resemblance to Minnie Driver.
    • Clayton's resemblance to BRIAN BLESSED isn't as obvious due Blessed being known for his heavily bushy beard, but his nose and chin sure make Blessed stand out.
    • Terk definitely has Rosie O'Donnell's trademark bang in her hair.
    • Tantor has Wayne Knight's wide elastic smile.
    • Kala has Glenn Close's small warm mannerisms. Likewise, Kerchak definitely possesses Lance Henriksen's expressive eyebrows and bags.
  • Intimate Artistry: Jane sketches a picture of Tarzan on a chalkboard for her father and gets lost in his image, showing that she is already falling for him despite their brief encounter.
  • Irony: Clayton, the character who carries himself as a civilized hunter, who views himself as a paragon of civilized masculinity, and who has conquered the jungle spends his last moments howling and slobbering like a wild, feral animal before the jungle claims his life. Meanwhile, the supposed savage he has spent the movie mocking is the one who tries to save him from an unnecessary death.
    • 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 Dehumanizing: 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.
  • Jungle Jazz: "Trashin' The Camp" is a jazzy, scatting musical number sung by a band of gorillas (and one elephant). It's the only song in the movie performed by on-screen characters rather than an off-screen Phil Collins.
  • 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. Like real gorillas, Tarzan's tribe is mostly peaceful, but you do NOT want to get on their bad side.
    • 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. This follows what the common scientific belief was about gorillas in Victorian times. The Porters, on the other hand, claim that the entire point of their exhibition to Africa is to debunk these notions of gorillas and have a much better general understanding of them than most in their time.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: It took eighteen-to-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, as well as "Trashin' The Camp").
  • 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.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Tantor spends the movie as a Cowardly Lion, but upon hearing Tarzan's Big "NO!" when he is captured, he decides he's had enough of Terk's behaviour, angrily tells her he's had enough of it, and rushes to the ship where Tarzan and the others are captured, swims out to it, climbs aboard and takes out Clayton's thugs by himself. He also leads his herd to the nesting grounds, bringing reinforcements to stop Clayton from taking the gorillas.
    • Jane as well. While being chased by the baboons, she gets the idea to open her parasol to knock them out of Tarzan's way, and in the climax, swings on a vine to stop Kala from being taken away by the poachers.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: Tarzan during his attempt to escape from Clayton's thugs on the ship that would go back to England, right before he falls down from the ship's funnel and gets captured.
  • Loincloth: Tarzan's outfit.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: When Tarzan's rescuing Jane from the baboon horde, one of her shoes is lost. When the baboons return to play The Cavalry during the climactic fight scene, the baby baboon is wearing the lost shoe as a helmet.
  • 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.
  • Match Cut: Used many times between the gorillas and Tarzan's human family during the opening. One notable example is when Kala playfully tosses her baby in the air, and baby Tarzan falls back into his mother's arms.
  • Meaningful Echo: The gorilla speak for, "Jane will stay with Tarzan," noted above in Chekhov's Skill. When Tarzan first teaches it to Jane, she repeats it back before she even knows what it means, and the gorilla cubs they've been playing with cheer enthusiastically. At the end of the movie, Jane repeats the phrase to the assembled gorillas on the beach, this time knowing exactly what she is saying, and is met with the same level of enthusiasm.
  • Mickey Mousing: Used during the "Son of Man" sequence.
  • 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. We never see them actually interact with the other animal characters, though, so maybe the scene just cut to Madagascar for that moment?
    • Also, during the "Son of Man" montage Tarzan is seen fighting a green tree python, a snake that's native to New Guinea, islands in Indonesia and northern Australia, not Africa.
    • Another shot during "Son of Man" features a black rhino sharpening its horn on a tree. Like the aforementioned lions, black rhinos are found in open woodlands, deserts, and grasslands, not rainforests.
    • The midquel is arguably even worse, with wildebeest, gazelles, giraffes, and warthogs.
  • Missing Mom: Archimedes references her once while Jane is excitedly recapping her swing through the trees with Tarzan while chased by raging baboons.
    Archimedes: [Jane] takes after her mother, you know. 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 for the most part. Tarzan is in extremely good shape for a man of his build... but Kerchak can swat him aside effortlessly. Played particularly straight, however, when he manages to use holds he learned while tussling with Terk to pin Kerchak, which marks a stark contrast when compared to his strength during his physical confrontations against Terk herself, the thugs on the ship and Clayton.
  • 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.
    • Edgar Rice Burroughs' first novel Tarzan of the Apes also includes (two separate) scenes of young Tarzan being disgusted when he sees his hideous reflection in a pool of water, and covering himself with mud to make himself look more like an ape.
    • During the "Son of Man" montage, Tarzan and Terk lasso and ride a crane; the lasso was Tarzan's Weapon of Choice in Burroughs' novels (albeit for hunting, not playing).
    • The blackboard scene where Jane gets so lost in her thoughts of Tarzan that her father jokingly asks if he should leave them "alone for a moment" is similar to a scene in Burroughs' first novel where Jane describes Tarzan in such a gushing, fangirl-like style that the French soldiers listening are highly amused.
    • Clayton calls one of his thugs "Snipes," the name of a minor villain in Burroughs' first 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 strangers' guns on sight after seeing several of his friends shot (and been shot at himself).
  • The Native Rival: Kerchak is more of a father figure than a direct rival, but he bears many characteristics of this trope, especially his reluctance to accept Tarzan as one of his tribe.
  • Nature vs. 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.
  • 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. As a result, Tarzan never finds out who they really were.
  • Not Drawn to Scale: While with some crazy amount of Suspension of Disbelief we can accept that two solitary people, one of them a woman caring for an infant baby, devoid of all construction gear could have possibly created anything close to the jaw-dropping treehouse we see in the movie (within, apparently, just a few weeks no less), there is absolutely no conceivable way for them to have drawn that rope bridge across the gorge.
  • No Time to Think: At one point, Clayton has Tarzan in his shotgun sights. Kerchak charges the villain and takes two shotgun rounds to the chest - a mortal wound.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Although it quickly becomes heartwarming when she finds little Tarzan alive in the blanket, the scene where Kala is exploring the ruined cabin, not knowing that Sabor's been through it, is chilling.
  • Noodle Incident: Clayton apparently taught a parrot to sing "God Save the Queen".
  • Noose Catch: Clayton accidentally does this to himself after he cuts away the vines supporting him leaving just the one around his neck.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Tantor's mother does this when he tries to tell her about the "piranha" (actually Tarzan) swimming towards the herd.
  • 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!:
    • Kerchak and Kala, when they realize their baby is attacked by Sabor.
    • Kala begins to have one when she notices Sabor on the roof-joints of the tree-house.
    • Terk, Flynt and Mungo all have one when the elephants stampede right towards them. The gorilla family, including Kerchak and Kala immediately have one when the elephants charge through the jungle.
    • Terk, Tantor and Tarzan all immediately have one when Sabor suddenly emerges from the part of the jungle to attack the gorilla family.
    • Jane has one when she sees a army of angry baboons ready to attack her for making their child cry. She immediately has another one when they start jumping down from the trees and chasing her.
    • Tarzan when he returns Jane to the camp and he suddenly sees Kerchak behind her. Jane then has one when she turns around.
    • After Terk and Tantor are disguised as Jane and her father respectively by Tarzan as a plan to lure Kerchak away from the nesting grounds, they have one when they hear Kerchak's roar and they dash off to get away from him.
    • Tarzan, after seeing Terk and Tantor running back to the nesting grounds (where he is showing his human friends the gorillas), and realizing that Kerchak is coming back.
    • 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.
  • One-Word Title: It's a movie about Tarzan, called Tarzan, so it's a Protagonist Title.
  • Only One Name: Tarzan's original human name is not revealed. In the books it was John Clayton, and eventually he became Lord Greystoke.
  • Opposites Attract: Tarzan, a jungle dwelling Wildman, and Jane, a British Proper Lady, fall in love.
  • 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: Two alpha males: Kerchak (in defense of his gorillas, and eventually Tarzan) and the baboon alpha (in defense of the little chimp.)
    • To be specific, this is the job of a Silver Back Gorilla. They are the Alpha of their family, and will sooner show full on aggression towards an intruder than ignore them. Researchers that have lived with Gorillas for extended periods of time have only managed to do so because they knew how to interact with a Silver Back to the point where it wouldn't rip them apart. Kerchak may have been a Jerkass at times, but he was only doing what was required of him.
  • Paper Destruction of Anger: Clayton wants Tarzan to take him to the gorillas, pointing at a picture of one. Tarzan is more interested in wooing Jane, so Clayton tears up the picture in a fit of rage.
  • 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 while letting out his Signature Roar. While Tarzan does it with his fists, Kerchak uses his open hands like real gorillas.
  • Progressive Instrumentation: "Trashin' The Camp", in which some playful gorillas and an elephant find a human camp and use the random objects they find there to play a (very destructive) impromptu song.
  • Protagonist Title: It's a movie about Tarzan, called Tarzan, so it's also a One-Word Title.
  • Pull The Trigger Provocation: Clayton actually tries to goad Tarzan into shooting him, but fails.
    Clayton: Go ahead. Shoot me. (he laughs as Tarzan hesitates) Be a man.
    Tarzan: (forces the barrel up against Clayton's throat while imitating a gunshot sound perfectly to throw him off-guard) Not a man like YOU! (he smashes the gun against a branch and throws the pieces away)
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Tarzan uses this technique on Terk, who lampshades it.
  • Race Lift: Of a sort. In the original novel, Jane was an American and Tarzan was the lost son of a British lord. In this film, it's just the reverse: Jane is a posh Victorian Brit while Tarzan has an American accent for some reason (likely due to a lack of exposure to a British environment robbing him of the chance to get an accent).
  • Ragnarök 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 Wolves: Tarzan, of course.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Part of the reason Kerchak dislikes Tarzan is because he feels Kala is trying to do this with their child Sabor killed. He even says so in the scene where she brings Tarzan back from the cabin. He changes his mind, right before dying in Tarzan's arms.
    Kerchak: won't replace the one we lost.
  • 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. It's either that or a lifetime of not wearing shoes has left his feet so calloused that you'd need a blowtorch to get them off.
  • Rule of Drama: Sabor is portrayed as an equal match for Kerchak, and actually gets the advantage on him so Tarzan has to prove his prowess in battle by intervening. In real life, leopards are smallish ambush predators that usually hunt fairly small game, whereas Silverbacks are very strong and built like cement mixers, so in an actual straight-up brawl like we see Kerchak would have made a lovely leopard-skin rug the moment he first got his hands on Sabor.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Soon after Sabor is defeated, Clayton enters sporting the same color scheme, with shadows over him looking like leopard spots.

  • Save the Villain: Attempted. Tarzan sees the vine wrapping around Clayton's neck and tries to stop him from cutting the others. Clayton is too overcome with rage to listen and causes them both to fall from the tree, resulting in the vine snapping his neck.
  • Scenery Porn: The jungle is animated beautifully.
  • Serendipitous Symphony: The "Trashing the Camp" sequence.
  • Shout-Out: There are a couple of moments referencing past Disney films:
    • During the start of the "Trashin' The Camp" sequence, Terk dances with a white skeleton in similar fashion and design to the classic Disney short The Skeleton Dance.
    • In the same scene, 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.
    • 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.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • To show how much effort was put into portraying the gorillas, the production crew actually went to Uganda and Kenya to do research on gorilla behavior. Particularly, when Kerchak pounds his chest, he does it with open hands like real gorillas do, instead of clenched fists like most cartoon gorillas.
    • Tarzan thinks he sees a lurking animal in the vegetation and stares towards it for a long while, but it's not until he turns away that Sabor suddenly attacks. This is accurate of most feline hunters who won't attack their prey until the latter turn their heads away.
  • Signature Roar: Tarzan's signature yell, performed by BRIAN BLESSED mimicking Johnny Weissmuller's iconic yodel after Tony Goldwyn was unable to provide a satisfactory version of the yell.note 
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Tarzan's mom.
  • Snipe Hunt: Terk sends Tarzan to find a hair of an elephant to get rid of him for some time. He succeeds, although in the stampede he causes, panicking elephants almost crush a baby gorilla.
  • Soft Water: Zigzagged. kid Tarzan jumps from the top of a waterfall, falls many stories, and hits the water with a loud smack before his body sinks, after which Terk and her friends comment "That's gonna leave a mark". However, he than rises to the surface seemingly unharmed.
  • Soundtrack Lullaby: "You'll Be In My Heart" starts as Kala singing to Tarzan, then switches to Phil Collins for the rest of the song as the gorilla tribe settles down into their nests for the night.
  • Stealth Insult: In the original version of Tarzan and Clayton's final confrontation, as Tarzan holds Clayton at knifepoint.
    Clayton: Do it. Prove you're a savage!
    Tarzan: (lowering the knife) No. I'm not like you.
  • Stealth Pun: During the "Strangers Like Me" number, Tarzan and Jane share an intimate moment in a tree... and are surrounded by lovebirds.
  • 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, from a combination of trying to cope with full Victorian dress in the heat and humidity of central Africa, and because the rough living damages the fabrics. At the very end, her outfit would have been considered obscene for the period.
    • Tarzan wears nothing but a Loincloth in the majority of the movie. He wears one of his biological father's suits when preparing to leave with the humans, but takes it off when going to rescue the gorillas.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Tarzan's biological father is identical to his son, only with short hair and a mustache.
  • 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.
  • Super Strength: The two mooks who try and carry off Kala at the end. A female gorilla her size would weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of two hundred pounds. A steel cage that size would likely weigh over five hundred. Yet there are two men easily lifting and moving quickly with it.
  • Switch to English: At the beginning, the gorillas communicate through realistic gorilla noises. When Kala meets up with Kerchak after finding baby Tarzan, they start talking in English.
  • Take Care of the Kids: Kerchak tells Tarzan to take care of his troop at the end of the film.
  • Talent Double: While Tony Goldwyn provided the title character's speaking voice, BRIAN BLESSED (Clayton) provided his iconic yodel.
  • Tempting Fate: See Cue the Rain for one example.
  • That Thing Is Not My Child!: Kerchak's attitude towards Tarzan throughout the film. He finally accepts him as he dies.
  • Time Skip: Once from baby Tarzan to kid Tarzan, and then kid Tarzan to adult Tarzan. Both happen during or near a musical number, too - the first is immediately after "You'll Be In My Heart" and the second is during "Son Of Man".
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Terk and Jane.
  • Town Girls: The three main females: Jane (femme), Kala (neither), and Terk (butch).
  • 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.
  • Trash Can Band: This ensues when the animals discover the Potters' camp.
  • True Beauty Is on the Inside: Jane calls Kala beautiful because of her personality.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change:
    • "You'll Be In My Heart" starts in D-flat as Kala sings to Tarzan, but switches to D when Phil Collins takes over, then modulates up to E toward the end. In the single version, the verses are in D-flat but shift up to E-Flat for the chorus; then it shifts to A-flat for the bridge, then to F for the final verse.
    • "Son of Man" starts out in D, but modulates up to E in the third verse, to symbolize Tarzan's Time Skip to adulthood.
    • "Strangers Like Me" is mostly in B-flat, but temporarly modulates to E-flat for the bridge, then to B for the last chorus.
  • 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".
  • Uriah Gambit: Key point of Clayton's plan to capture the gorillas. He knew Tarzan was a powerful and agile individual who wouldn't like it if someone laid a finger on his gorilla family, so he set him up in a situation that would potentially (and in fact did) overwhelm him and get him captured: have his thugs jump at him ALL AT ONCE as soon as he stepped on the ship that would allegedly head back to England. Needless to say, Clayton reacts just as you'd expect him to (and maybe even worse) when Tarzan asks him for help after being captured.
  • Vague Age: Tarzan's age is hard to pin down. Judging from the fact that Sabor is still around (Leopards live to be 17 at the eldest), as is Kala (Gorillas have a lifespan of 35 years and females reach sexual maturity at 12 years, and considering the fact that her gorilla baby was happy to wonder off chasing a frog, meaning he was about 2-3 years old) he is likely to be 18-to-20 years old at the oldest.
  • Villainous Face Hold: When Clayton has captured Tarzan on the ship, he uses the barrel of his gun to lift Tarzan's chin up so he's forced to look him in the eye when Clayton reveals his betrayal.
  • Vine Swing: Tarzan often does this; for example, when he rescues Jane from the baboons.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene:
    • Tarzan, naturally. Walking pants-less, too.
    • Max, one of Clayton's goons, is also constantly shirtless. Two of the other goons also have open vests which expose their bare chests.
  • "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.
    Tarzan: Why didn't you tell me there were creatures that look like me?
    • Kerchak to Tarzan when the latter allows the other humans to interact with the gorilla family and unfortunately, the silverback's anger turns out to be justified.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Clayton taunts Tarzan with this when the latter has his own rifle pressed up to his neck, telling him to "be a man". However, as Tarzan proves, for all the rage he feels, he will not be the man Clayton is, and smashes his rifle to pieces.
  • Wiki Walk: For some reason Jane and her father brought every modern convenience with them, including a slide projector and slides depicting... well, everything (At least, everything British). Tarzan begins looking at them, and it is implied that he views every single one because there's a dissolve to him still looking through slides while the others are asleep.
  • Wild Child: The title character.
  • Women Are Wiser: Kerchak refuses to accept Tarzan as a son while Kala is the one who wants to adopt him.
  • 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.
  • Younger Than They Look: Tarzan and Jane are only 18 years old during the events of the movie and sequel series.

    Tropes present in the Broadway Musical include: 
  • Adaptational Context Change: During "Strangers Like Me," Tarzan's verse about show Jane his jungle world has him introducing her to his mother, whom she originally didn't meet until late in the film.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Jane's Stripperific clothing development in the film is averted. Though, some productions have her wearing her Fur Bikini during the curtain call.
  • Adaptational Nationality: Clayton is American rather than British.
  • Adapted Out: Tantor is removed entirely from the Broadway musical version. Justified - while gorillas and leopards are roughly human-sized and can be played by costumed actors, an elephant would be very difficult to be put on stage.
  • Distant Duet: Depending on the production, "For The First Time," where Jane and Tarzan sing about their budding feelings for each other.
  • Gender Flip: Terk is portrayed as a male.
  • Irrelevant Act Opener: "Trashin' the Camp" becomes this.
  • Karma Houdini: Unlike the film, Clayton doesn't die and kinda gets off free for what he does.
  • No Song for the Wicked: Clayton does not participate in any of the show's musical numbers, much less have one of his own.
  • Sidekick Song: Terk gets one, "Who Better Than Me".
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Everyone who dies in the film is killed in the musical, except for Clayton, the villain.

    Tropes present in Tarzan II include: 
  • Abusive Parents: Mama Gunda doesn't shy away from physical punishment when disciplining Kago and Uto.
    Mama Gunda: Lips!
  • Adult Fear: A few years after losing her own child to Sabor, Kala believes he lost Tarzan too after he falls off a cliff in a storm.
  • Affably Evil: Mama Gunda talks in a sickeningly sweet manner with everyone.
  • Animation Bump: Scenes of the film, while consistently passable, fluctuate in quality a bit, ranging from high quality TV budget to practically matching the fluency of the first film.
  • Berserk Button: Kago does not like being poked by his brother.
  • Be Yourself: The Aesop of the movie. As Tarzan tries to seek exactly what he is, he is left with the answer he is... a Tarzan, something that is unique and special in itself. Kind of a Broken Aesop though since in the first movie, Tarzan being led to believe that he was a unique kind of ape and being swayed away from trying to act too much like the others was portrayed as a bad thing when Tarzan encountered creatures that were much more like him; he even got mad at Kala for not telling him that such creatures existed.
  • Book-Ends: The movie ends exactly the same way the first did - the camera zooms out as Tarzan emits his famous yell from a tree branch, then cuts to the film's title on a drumbeat.
  • Central Theme: Identity. After realizing he's not like the other apes, Tarzan tries to figure out what he really is.
  • Copycat Mockery: Terk does impressions of Kerchak and Kala to make fun of the arguments they have about Tarzan. She even changes her hair to be like the people she's imitating.
  • Cynical Mentor: Zugor becomes this to Tarzan for a while.
  • December–December Romance: Between Zugor and Mama Gunda.
  • Dumb Muscle: Kago and Uto are both enormous, but rather dim-witted. Especially Uto, who mistakes Tarzan for a baby bird and accidentally points at himself while responding with a No, You to one of Kago's insults.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Kago and Uto may be big and violent apes, but they are very respectful towards their abusive and controlling mother.
  • Fake Action Prologue: The movie opens with Tarzan fleeing from what appears to be the monster Zugor. It's actually just a game he plays with Terk.
  • Full-Boar Action: While trying to figure out what he is, Tarzan attempts to befriend a young warthog, resulting in a whole sounder of hogs attacking him.
  • The Hermit: Zugor is an elderly gorilla living all by himself.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Zugor looks very much like George Carlin as an ape, complete with a bald forehead and a grey beard-like tuft on his chin.
  • Interquel: Takes place between in Time Skip of the first movie.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Zugor. He scares the other animals so that they leave him alone, and is initially very dismissive of Tarzan and insensitive to his problems, but he softens up to the boy once he realizes they are Not So Different.
  • Kick the Dog: Kago is introduced as playing with a mouse - that is, blocking the way of the scared rodent with his fists, just for kicks.
  • Killer Gorilla: Kago is an aggressive gorilla who takes pleasure in smashing things.
  • Laughably Evil: In contrast to the antagonists of the first movie, Mama Gunda and her sons Kago and Uto are silly, comical villains.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the original movie, this one is less violent and a lot more kid-friendly. The villains are incompetent and Laughably Evil, and the greatest apparent threat (the Zugor monster) is just imaginary.
  • Love Redeems: Mama Gunda does a full Heel–Face Turn when she and Zugor realize their attraction to each other.
  • Mama Bear: Kala charges at Kago and Uto, who are at least twice as big as her, when they threaten one of the gorilla babies as well as Tarzan.
  • Manchild: Kago and Uto are both fully-grown male gorillas rivaling Kerchak in size, but have the personality of little boys.
  • Metaphorgotten: Mama Gunda's bedtime story about three little frogs is meant to be a clear allegory to her and her sons' situation, but soon it devolves into an evil monologue ignoring the frog metaphor.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Wildebeests, giraffes, and gazelles are shown living in the jungle.
  • My Beloved Smother: Gunda is a very overbearing mother to Kago and Uto.
  • Mythology Gag: When Zugor tells Tarzan to stay in the far corner of his shelter, Tarzan mutters "Me Tarzan, you grouch", an obvious play on "Me Tarzan, you Jane".
  • Non-Standard Character Design: The tickbird perching on the the rhinoceros that competes with Zugor for a fruit has a very zany, cartoony design, complete with Feather Fingers, compared to the somewhat realistic design of the other animals in the movie.
  • Not So Different: Zugor realizes that he and Tarzan are not that different after discuss that both of them have been cast out of their gorilla troop (Zugor because of his old age, Tarzan because of his species).
  • No, You: When Kago calls Uto a "banana brain", he responds with this (while accidentally pointing at himself).
  • Rhino Rampage: As Zugor forages for food, he encounters an angry rhino who takes his food. He attempts to scare away the rhino by the "Zugor monster" act, but Tarzan blows his cover, resulting in the rhino chasing both of them.
  • Scarecrow Solution: Zugor uses a hollow tree trunk to amplify his voice, and some light effects to cast a gigantic shadow, pretending to be a monster.
  • Sequel Escalation: Inverted, the movie is a much more low-key story than the original movie, with fewer life-threatening situations and more Laughably Evil villains, focusing on Tarzan's childhood.
  • Vine Swing: Tarzan begins to realize who he really is after he discovers his skills with this. He also uses his swinging skills to rescue Kala in the climax.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Tarzan II


Clayton's Death

The Trope Codifier: Clayton suffers a surprisingly-horrifying death where, after Tarzan tangles him in vines, he hacks away at them in a frenzied bid to get free, not noticing one coiling around his neck. To drive the point home, the shadow of Clayton's dangling corpse is shown by way of lightning flash.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / NooseCatch

Media sources:

Main / NooseCatch