10 best animated films from the Disney Renaissance

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9. Tarzan

Tarzan was the last film to be made in this era of Disney, coming out in 1999. But despite it being at the end of what most would call Disney’s most popular time, it made quite a bit of money. At a little over $171 million, it is the fourth highest box office for a Disney film in the period.

The film tells the classic story of Tarzan, a man who grew up in the jungle and was raised by gorillas, only to find and fall in love with Jane, a woman visiting the island he lives on. For most of his life, he has believed he’s a gorilla. How would he think any different? But once he sees humans coming to his home, he realizes that he looks more like them than he does his family.

Jane comes to be in the jungle because she is on an expedition with her father and their guide, Clayton, to study gorillas. When they come upon a nesting site, they can’t believe their luck. They watch the gorillas for awhile, but then the professor and Clayton move on. Jane stays to draw a baby baboon who has come close to her. The baboon who seems to like her drawing takes it from her, but when she takes it back, he begins crying. This leads to his family chasing Jane through the jungle. Luckily, Tarzan comes to her rescue.

Through their interactions, they discover different things about each other’s lives and soon fall in love. After bringing Jane back to her campsite, Tarzan confronts his mother, wondering why she didn’t tell him there were other people like him. She warns him to stay away from the humans but he cannot.

When Tarzan visits Jane again, he sees that more men have arrived and that there is a ship there. Jane tells him that they are to head home soon and she wants him to come with her. He declines, not wanting to leave his family forever. But ever the smarmy villain, Clayton comes up with a plan. He tells Tarzan that if he shows them where the gorillas are, Jane will want to stay longer. Tarzan agrees.

This results in one of the gorillas attacking Clayton and Tarzan having to hold them off so they won’t kill the humans. It all goes wrong! But it does lead to the truth coming out about Tarzan’s past. With this new discovery, he decides to leave with Jane on the ship.

Once on board, Clayton forces his thugs on Jane and Tarzan and throws them into the hull of the ship. Clayton’s real goal is to capture all the gorillas and sell them for a profit. Extremely pissed off, Tarzan lets out a yell that reaches his family who rescue them from the guards.

But Clayton isn’t done yet. He ends up capturing the gorillas. Little does he know that Tarzan and every other animal in the jungle has joined together to come after him. The film ends with Tarzan, Jane, and his (and now her) family all together in the jungle.

Tarzan is unique from the other films of this time because all of the songs in the movie were performed by Phil Collins and the songs are played over the movie, not sung by the characters themselves. Collins also worked with composer Mark Mancina to come up with instrumental music for the film as well.