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Tarzan is a 1999 American animated feature film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures on June 18, 1999. The thirty-seventh film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics, it is based on the story Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is the only major motion picture version of the story Tarzan property to be animated. It was also the last bona fide hit before the Disney slump of the early 2000s making $171,091,819 in domestic gross and $448,191,819 worldwide, outgrossing its predecessors Mulan and Hercules. To date, it is the last film based on the fictional character Tarzan to have had a theatrical release, and also currently holds the record for being the most expensive Disney animated film, with a budget of $150 million. It was also the first Disney animated feature to open at #1 since Pocahontas. This was the last major box office success of the Disney Renaissance.
In the late 1880s off the coast of Africa, a married couple and their infant son escape a burning ship, ending up on land near uncharted rainforest (presumably West Africa). The couple craft themselves a treehouse from their ship's wreckage, but are subsequently killed by Sabor, a rogue leopard. Kala (Glenn Close), a gorilla whose own son was killed and eaten by the vicious leopardess, hears the cries of the orphaned infant, and finds him in the ruined treehouse where the parents' dead bodies lie in a dark corner. Kala takes a instant liking to the baby. Kala is attacked by Sabor, who wants to kill and eat the baby, but Kala manages to get her tangled in the ropes holding the derelict rowboat, and she and the baby escape.
The kindly Kala takes the baby back to the gorilla troop to raise as her own, despite her mate Kerchak's (Lance Henriksen) disapproval. Kala raises the human child, naming him Tarzan (Alex D. Linz as a young boy, Tony Goldwyn as a young adult). Though he befriends other gorillas in the troop and other animals, including the young female gorilla Terk (Rosie O'Donnell) and the paranoid male elephant Tantor (Wayne Knight), Tarzan finds himself unable to keep up with them, and takes great efforts to improve himself. As a young man, Tarzan is able to kill Sabor with his crude spear and protect the troop, earning Kerchak's reluctant respect.
The gorilla troop's peaceful life is interrupted by the arrival of a team of human explorers from England, consisting of Professor Porter (Nigel Hawthorne), his daughter Jane (Minnie Driver) and their hunter-guide Clayton (Brian Blessed). Jane is accidentally separated from the group and chased by a pack of baboon. Tarzan saves her from the baboons, and recognizes that she is the same as he is, a human. Jane leads Tarzan back to the explorer's camp, where both Porter and Clayton take great interest in him—the former in terms of scientific progress while the latter hoping to have Tarzan lead him to the gorillas so that he can capture them and return with them to England. Despite Kerchak's warnings to be wary of the humans, Tarzan continues to return to the camp and be taught by Porter, Clayton and Jane to speak English and learn of the human world, and both he and Jane begin to fall for each other. However, they are having a hard time convincing Tarzan to lead him to the gorillas, due to Tarzan's fear for their safety from the threat of Kerchak.
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