USA 1999

Reviewed by Leslie Felperin


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

The nineteenth-century. A man and woman are shipwrecked with their infant son off the coast of east Africa. They build a tree house and move in, but Sabor the leopard kills the adults. Kala, a gorilla who has lost her own child to Sabor, finds the infant human, names him Tarzan and adopts him, despite the misgivings of her mate Kerchak, the head of their gorilla tribe. Although Kerchak never fully accepts him, Tarzan grows up among the gorillas and is befriended by Terk, a sarcastic female gorilla, and Tantor, an elephant.

Tarzan reaches manhood. One day, a new sound is heard in the jungle: gunfire. Professor Porter, a zoologist, has arrived in the jungle with his daughter Jane to study the gorillas. They are guided by Clayton, an adventurer who is secretly planning to capture gorillas and ship them back to England. When Jane, separated from the others, is cornered by Sabor, Tarzan saves her. Kala explains to Tarzan his origins by showing him the treehouse. Eager to learn more about his race, Tarzan spends time at the humans' encampment where he learns English and the history of mankind. They persuade Tarzan to take them to the gorillas. Clayton's men attack and capture many of the gorillas, much to Jane and Porter's disgust. With Tantor's help, Tarzan sets the gorillas free and in doing so finally wins the mortally wounded Kerchak's respect. Jane and Porter prepare to return to England, but at the last moment, Jane turns back and decides to stay with Tarzan, now the head of his tribe.


One of the most frequently filmed stories in the cinema, Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan of the Apes is adapted to suit the times and has become a useful yardstick of our changing attitudes towards nature, savagery and Africa. The first adaptation in 1918, with Elmo Lincoln in the loincloth, tended to emphasise the freakish nature of the ape-man and was inflected by the still-very-hot debate about Darwinism and man's contested relation to apes. Later versions, starring Johnny Weissmuller through to Christopher Lambert and Casper Van Dien, have posited a Tarzan more noble than savage, a good man in Africa who upholds up the white man's burden by his unique sensitivity to the environment. Frequently, imperialism is naturalised through Tarzan; he is 'rightly' the king of the apes, a sovereignty that inevitably places him above even the African natives.

Tellingly, there are no Africans in Disney's latest version of the story, Tarzan, perhaps because issues of imperialism would be considered a distraction to this Discovery-channel, eco-friendly take on the classic story. Instead, the gorillas themselves, here literally given a voice for the first time, represent that which is native and threatened by European encrouchers. Meanwhile, with his dreadlocks and deep tan, despite his white parents this version's Tarzan is 'blacker' than any previous incarnation.

Regardless of any subtextual meanings, supervising animator Glen Keane's Tarzan is admittedly a triumph of caricature: feral, powerful, more animalistic than any other version as he walks on his knuckles like an ape. In the film's heirarchy of design, he is the missing link between the highly realistic rendering accorded to the apes and the much-more cartoonish, exagerrated humans (even the film's self-mocking Jane looks like something out of a late-UPA cartoon). Disney's clever twist on the story is to make the hero's confusion about identity, family and community the film's emotional meat, although there's little doubt that in the end he will find his true place among the animals that nutured him, but with a mate thrown in as a bonus. And just in case there's any doubt, Tarzan uses technology in a strangely paradoxical way to counterpoint the human and natural worlds: to show Tarzan's point of view of the jungle as he swings and 'surfs' like an extreme-sport aficionado through the trees, the animators have used a new, state-of-the-art computer technique called 'Deep Canvas' to create a vertiginous, speeding effect. The best the humans can offer him, when Jane and her father introduce Tarzan to the history of his species, is a magic lantern slide show, perhaps a deliberate nod towards the most primitive form of animation.


Bonnie Arnold
Tab Murphy
Bob Tzudiker
Noni White
Based on the story Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Additional Screenplay Material
David Reynolds
Jeffrey Stepakoff
Gregory Perler
Art Director
Daniel St. Pierre
Phil Collins
Mark Mancina
©Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc/Disney Enterprises, Inc
Production Company
Walt Disney Pictures presents
Associate Producer
Christopher Chase
CAPS Supervisors
Scene Planning:
Thomas Baker
Animation Check:
Barbara Wiles
Janet Bruce
2-D Animation Processing:
Robyn L. Roberts
Colour Models:
Karen Comella
Paint/Final Check:
Hortensia M. Casagran
James 'JR' Russell
Digital Film Print:
Brandy Hill
Technical Co-ordinator:
Ann Tucker
Paris Unit Supervisors
Olivier Adam
Joaquim Royo Morales
Christophe Charbonnel
Visual Effects:
Allen Blyth
Production Manager:
Coralie Cudot-Lissillour
Florida Unit Supervisors
Philip Boyd
Visual Effects:
Joseph F. Gilland
Garrett Wren
Sean Sullivan
Artistic Co-ordinator
Fraser MacLean
Production Co-ordinators
Video Reference/Recording:
Kathy Cavaiola-Hill
Communications Co-ordinator:
Juliet Nees
Kirsten A. Bulmer
Scene Planners
S.J. Bleick
Ronald J. Jackson
Cynthia Goode
Dave J. Link
Mark Henley
Rafaël Vicente
Manager Digital Production
Kirk Bodyfelt
Director of Production
Dorothy McKim
Senior Managers
Production CAPS:
Gretchen Maschmeyer Albrecht
Scene Planning/Camera:
Joe Jiuliano
Florida CAPS Manager
Fran Kirsten
Patsy Bougé
Eleanor Lesh
Robert H. Bagley
Heather Jane MacDonald-Smith
Michael Kenji Tomizawa
Artistic Supervisors
Production Manager:
Jean-Luc Florinda
Computer Graphics:
Eric Daniels
Visual Effects:
Peter Demund
Marshall Lee Toomey
Doug Ball
Jean-Christophe Poulain
Brian Pimental
Associate Art Director:
Dan Cooper
Ruth Lambert
Mary Hidalgo
London Consultant:
Leonie Cosman
Story Consultants
Juliet Aires
Keith Giglio
Stephen Anderson
Mark D. Kennedy
Carole Holliday
Gaëtan Brizzi
Paul Brizzi
Don Dougherty
Ed Gombert
Randy Haycock
Don Hall
Kevin L. Harkey
Glen Keane
Burny Mattinson
Frank Nissen
John Norton
Jeff Snow
Michael Surrey
Christopher J. Ure
Mark Walton
Stevie Wermers
Kelly Wightman
John Ramirez
Camera/Film Recorder Operators
John D. Aardal
John Derderian
Jennie Kepenek Mouzis
Camera Operations Co-ordinator
Stephanie L. Clifford
Video Reference Crew:
Al Vasquez
Tom Smith
Chris Ullrich
Systems Support Manager:
Michael R. Fodor
2-D Software:
Kevin J. Hussey
Media Group Manager:
Thomas Moore Jr
Systems Development Manager:
James J. Sepe
Graham S. Allan
Richard M. Barnes
Janet E. Berlin
Mark Roy Carlson
Hank Driskill
Norbert Faerstain
Mark W. Gilicinski
John D. Hoffman
Troy R. Norin
Kyle Odermatt
Nasser B. Salomon
Mark M. Tokunaga
Mary Jane 'M.J.' Turner
David Troude
Jon Y. Wada
Doug White
Software Development Supervisor
Tasso Lappas
Software Development Senior Technical Director
George Katanics
Software Development Technical Directors
Peter H. Palombi
Mayur Patel
Model Development Supervisor
Gil Zimmerman
Model Development Technical Directors
Nick Collier
Ian Coony
Bill Konersman
Andrea Losch
Nicoletta Marcialis
Kevin Paul Sheedy
Look Development Supervisor
Dale Drummond
Look Development Technical Directors
Sean Eckols
Clunie Holt
Mira Nikolic
Additional Digital Production
William T. Carpenter
Erica Cassetti
Sanguan V. Chow
Nika Dunne
Eric Gervais-Despres
Steve Goldberg
Claire Lawrence-Slater
Sean Locke
Jean-Louis Malgoire
Thomas C. Meyer
Chris Springfield
Charles Stoner
Gary Telfer
Susan Thayer
Nathan Detroit Warner
Jeff Wolverton
Visual Development/ Character Designs
Chen-Yi Chang
Guy Deel
Peter de Séve
Vance Gerry
Jean Gillmore
Joe Grant
Ian S. Gooding
Brian Jowers
H.B. (Buck) Lewis
Rick Maki
Henry Mayo
Sergio Pablos
Tina Price
Jeffrey Resolme Ranjo
Harald Siepermann
John Watkiss
Rowland B. Wilson
Principal Location Design
Paul Felix
Loïc Rastout
David A. Dunnet
Supervising Animators
Glen Keane
Ken Stuart Duncan
Russ Edmonds
Young/Baby Tarzan:
John Ripa
Michael Surrey
Randy Haycock
David Burgess
Bruce W. Smith
Sergio Pablos
Dominique Monfery
Ape Family:
Jay Jackson
Baboons/Baby Baboon:
Bruce W. Smith
T. Daniel Hofstedt
Chris Wahl
Georges Abolin
Pierre Alary
Marc Allard
David Berthier
Bolhem Bouchiba
Patrick Delage
Eric Delbecq
Thierry Goulard
Borja Montoro Cavero
Enis Tahsin Özgür
Stéphane Sainte-Foi
Tran-Quang-Thieu JC
Kristoff Vergne
Jared Beckstrand
Doug Bennett
Robert Bryan
Caroline Cruikshank
Mark Koetsier
Doug Krohn
Mario J. Menjivar
Dougg Williams
Andreas Wessel-Therhorn
Young/Baby Tarzan:
Steven Pierre Gordon
Jeff Johnson
Yoshimichi Tamura
Adam Dykstra
Danny Galieote
David Moses Pimentel
Chad Stewart
Tim George
Richard Hoppe
Michael Stocker
David Block
Theresa Wiseman
Robb Pratt
Marc Smith
James Hull
Mike Kunkel
Jean Morel
Stevan Wahl
Marc Eoche Duval
Juanjo Guarnido
Zoltán Maros
Ape Family:
Catherine Poulain
Additional Animation
Ruben A. Aquino
Jean-Luc Ballester
Dale Baer
James Baker
Travis Blaise
Tom Bancroft
Richard Bazley
Roger Chiasson
Wayne Carlisi
Michael Cedeno
Robert Espanto Domingo
Jerry Yu Ching
Sandro Cleuzo
Tom Gately
Brian Ferguson
Raul Garcia
David Hancock
Christopher Hubbard
Bert Klein
James Young Jackson
Sang Jin Kim
Sam Levine
Mark Alan Mitchell
Joe Oh
Jamie Oliff
Ralph Palmer
Mark Pudleiner
William Recinos
Michael Show
Bill Waldman
Anthony Ho Wong
Phil Young
Ellen Woodbury
Clean-up Animation Lead Keys
Philippe Briones
Juliet Duncan
June M. Fujimoto
Young/Baby Tarzan:
Margie Daniels
Adult/Baby Terk:
Debra Armstrong
Young Terk:
Brian B. McKim
Randy Sanchez
Dan Tanaka
Tony Anselmo
Tracy Mark Lee
Young/Adult Tantor:
Terry Wozniak
Gontran Hoarau
Susan Lantz
Ginny Parmele
Ape Family:
Susan Lantz
Ginny Parmele
Baboons/Miscellaneous Characters:
Liève Miessen
Gail Frank
Clean-up 2nd Unit Supervisor
Vera Lanpher-Pacheco
Visual Effects Supervising 3D Effects Animator
Dan Chaika
Visual Effects Supervising Animator
Mark Myer
Visual Effects Animators
Etienne Aubert
Thierry Chaffoin
Margaret Craig-Chang
Jeff Dutton
Colbert Fennelly
James Menehune Goss
Craig L. Hoffman
Tom Hush
Michael Cadwallader Jones
Dorse A. Lanpher
Dan Lund
Brice Mallier
David Joseph Mildenberger
Cynthia Neill Knizek
Masa Oshiro
Mouloud Oussid
Kathleen Quaife
Allen M. Stovall
David Tidgwell
Phillip Vigil
Marlon West
Additional Visual Effects
Gordon Baker
Robert Bennett
Guner Behich
Verell 'Skip' Bowers
Paul Briggs
John Cashman
Aliza Corson
John Fargnoli
Jazno Francoeur
William J. Haas
Darlene E. Hadrika
Michael Kaschalk
Paul R. Kashuk Jr
Stephen McDermott
Michael L. Oliva
Christopher R. Page
Sean Simon Ramirez
Paitoon Ratanasirintrawoort
Gary Schumer
Heather M. Shepherd
Rochelle Doriot Smith
John David Thornton
Tony West
Additional 2-D Animation Processor
Florida Supervisor:
Jan Barley Gutowski
Colour Stylists
Penny Coulter
Maria Gonzalez
Barbara Lynn Hamane
Debbie Jorgensborg
Heidi Lin Loring
Celine O'Sullivan
Sylvia I. Sanchez
Marie St. Clair
Judith L. Tolley
Additional Animation Checker
Florida Supervisor:
Laurie Sacks
Layout Journeymen
James P. Alles
James Beihold
John Byrne
Fred Craig
Vincent Massy de la Chesneraye
Pierre Fassel
Richard Carl Livingston
Antonio Navarro
Simon O'Leary
John Puglisi
Tom Shannon
Allen C. Tam
Sherilan Weinhart
Tanya T. Wilson
Additional Layout
Scott Caple
Arden Chan
Shawn Colbeck
Trish Coveney-Rees
Tom Dow
Mac George
William Samuel Hodman
Gary Mouri
Franc Reyes
Kenneth Spirduso
Kevyn Wallace
Yong Hong Zhong
Blue Sketchs
Madlyn Zusmer O'Neill
Valérie Braun
Monica Albracht Marroquin
Bill Davis
Eithne Ersoz
Noel C. Johnson
Supervising Digital Background Painter
David McCamley
Backgrounds Journeymen
Jennifer K. Ando
Dominick R. Domingo
Debbie Du Bois
Olivier Besson
Justin Brandstater
Hye Young Coh
Scott Fassett
Jean-Paul Fernandez
Thierry Fournier
Susan Hackett
Jason Horley
David Jarvis
Mi Kyung Joung-Raynis
William Lorencz
Jerry Loveland
Serge Michaels
Gregory C. Miller
Patricia Millereau-Guilmard
Don Moore
Patricia Palmer-Phillipson
Pierre Pavloff
Philip Phillipson
William T. Silvers Jr
Christophe Vacher
Thomas Woodington
David Yorke
Additional Backgrounds
Sunny Apinchapong
Ron DeFelice
Xin-Lin Fan
Christopher F. Greco
Miguel Gil
Brad Hicks
Xiangyuan Jie
Geraldine Kovats
Michael Kurinsky
James J. Martin
Barbara Massey
Kelly McGraw
Kevin McNamara
Peter Moehrle
David Murray
John Piampiano
Leonard Robledo
Robh Ruppel
George Taylor
David Wang (Ying Guang)
Colour Model Mark-up
Bill Andres
Sherrie Cuzzort
Beth Ann Mccoy-Gee
Grace H. Shirado
Christine Ng Wong
David J. Zywicki
Tim Mertens
James Melton
Character Sculptures
Kent Melton
Christophe Charbonnel
Tony Cipriano
Costume Designer
Video Reference Crew:
Fionn Zarubica
Title Design
Robert Dawson
Gary Cofer
Custom Film Effects
Additional Synthesizer Programming
Marc Mann
Score Conductor
Don Harper
David Metzger
Executive Music Producer
Chris Montan
Score Producer
Mark Mancina
Score Co-producer
Christopher Ward
Music Production
Andrew Page
Tom MacDougall
Deniece LaRocca
Music Editor
Earl Ghaffari
Songs Recorder/Mixer
Frank Wolf
Score Recorder/Mixer
Steve Kempster
"You'll Be in My Heart (Phil Version)" by/performed by Phil Collins; "You'll Be in My Heart" by Phil Collins, arranged by Mark Mancina, performed by Phil Collins, Glenn Close, orchestra conducted by Mark Mancina; "Two Worlds", "Strangers Like Me" by Phil Collins, arranged by Phil Collins, Mark Mancina, performed by Phil Collins, orchestra conducted by Mark Mancina; "Son of Man" by/performed by Phil Collins; "Trashin' the Camp" by/arranged by Phil Collins, Paul Bogaev, performed by Rosie O'Donnell, Phil Collins
Vocal/Creature Sound Design
Scott Martin Gershin
Additional Audio
Mark Ormandy
Additional Dialogue Recording
Vince Caro
Brian Riordan
Re-recording Mixers
Chris Jenkins
Mark Smith
Ron Bartlett
Original Dialogue Mixer
Doc Kane
Supervising Sound Editor
Per Hallberg
Effects Editors
Christopher Assells
Peter Michael Sullivan
Geoff Rubay
Curt Schulkey
Craig S. Jaeger
James M. Moriana
Jeffrey Wilhoit
Greg Zimmerman
Nerses Gezalyan
Lou Kleinman
Animal Anatomy Consultants
Dr Elizabeth Rega
Dr Stuart Sumida
Voice Cast
Brian Blessed
Glenn Close
Minnie Driver
Tony Goldwyn
Nigel Hawthorne
Professor Porter
Lance Henriksen
Wayne Knight
Alex D. Linz
young Tarzan
Rosie O'Donnell
Taylor Dempsey
young Tantor
Beth Anderson
Jack Angel
Joseph Ashton
Robert Bergen
Billy Warren Bodine
Hillary Brooks
Roger Bumpass
Lily Collins
Kat Cressida
Jim Cummings
Aria Curzon
Jennifer Darling
Debi Derryberry
Patti Deutsch
Paul Eiding
Blake Ewing
Francesca Falcone
Michael Geiger
Scott Gershin
Sam Gifaldi
Amy Gleason
Jackie Gonneau
Debbie Hall
Jonnie Hall
Sandie Hall
Tina Halvorson
Linda Harmon
Karen Harper
Micah Hauptman
Jennifer L. Hughes
Grady Hutt
Luana Jackman
Adam Karpel
Theo Lebow
Brandon Lucas
Ricky Lucchese
James Lively
Sherry Lynn
Melissa MacKay
Danny Mann
Ilana Marks
Jason Marsden
Mickie T. McGowan
Donna Medine
Nils Montan
Bobbi Page
Brandon Pollard
Phil Proctor
Scott Record
Michael Reagan
Ian Redford
Jessica Rotter
Chris Sanders
Stephanie Sawyer
Laura Schillinger
Brianne Siddall
Frank Simms
Susan Stevens Logan
Shane Sweet
Tiffany Takara
Dominic Thiroux
Jamie Torcellini
Erik von Detten
Joe Whyte
Danielle Wiener
additional voices
video reference cast
Miriam Johnson
Brian McCarthy
Rocco Vienhage
Buena Vista International (UK)
7, 962 feet
88 minutes 28 seconds
SDDS/Dolby digital/Digital DTS sound
In Colour
Prints by
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011