Disney Animation Celebrates Tarzan’s 20th
Can you believe it’s been 20-years since Tarzan debuted? Well, believe it, because Disney Animation recently tweeted about it:
— Disney Animation (@DisneyAnimation) September 29, 2019
And to celebrate the anniversary, we found a D23 listing of seven swinging facts about Tarzan.
Jim Fanning wrote:
One of the most iconic heroes ever created swung to dynamic new life when Tarzan was released on June 18, 1999. Disney’s 37th animated feature brought the famed ape-man to life as never before through the art of Disney animation. Tarzan follows the extraordinary adventures of an orphaned infant raised by a family of gorillas who matures into a young man with the instincts of a jungle animal and the physical prowess of an athletic superstar. When he encounters humans in the form of a beautiful Englishwoman, her ape-expert father and a duplicitous hunter, he must determine who is his true family. To celebrate this Oscar®-winning film’s 20th anniversary, here are seven tantalizing tidbits to tell us why Tarzan will always be in our hearts.
Here’s our top three from the list:
Tarzan’s creator envisioned his story as an animated feature
With 47 previous movies, Tarzan is one of most filmed subjects in Hollywood history. By producing the first Tarzan animated feature, Disney realized a dream long held by Edgar Rice Burroughs who wrote Tarzan of the Apes in 1912. As early as 1936, the author seriously considered animation as the medium that could more faithfully bring his hero to life on the screen. “The cartoon must be good,” he wrote as he envisioned an animated ape-man. “It must approximate Disney excellence.”
Glen Keane was inspired by extreme sports in animating Tarzan
As Tarzan’s supervising animator, Glen Keane worked with a group of 13 character animators at Disney Animation’s Paris Studio. “The Tarzan described in Burroughs’ book was incredible and nothing like the one I’ve seen in the Hollywood films,” observed Keane, then a 24-year Disney veteran responsible for creating such characters as Ariel, the Beast and Aladdin. To shape the thrill-seeking persona of Tarzan, Keane drew inspiration from his own teenaged son and his love for skateboarding and other extreme sports. “Burroughs describes a Tarzan that is like a wild man, somebody that the adrenaline had to be pumping through, and I thought, he’s an extreme sports guy. What if he’s a tree surfer instead of swinging on the vines?”
Minnie Driver “drove” the character development of Jane
In defining Jane Porter, the Victorian lady who impresses Tarzan with her creativity and enthusiasm, the Disney artists were inspired by real-life jungle conservationists Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, who both lived with and studied gorillas and chimpanzees. But it was the vocal performance of Minnie Driver, the English actor who is perhaps best known today for the ABC comedy Speechless, that truly inspired supervising animator Ken Duncan. “She would have a lot of exaggerated mouth shapes and her eyes would light up,” says Duncan.
Read the whole fascinating article. And then tell us: What is your favorite thing about Tarzan? Let us know in the comments.