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What is Disney's "Tarzan" movie about?

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Quick Answer

Disney's "Tarzan" is an animated adaptation of Edgar Rice Burrough's novel, "Tarzan of the Apes," in which a man is raised by gorillas in the jungle after his parents are killed. The movie hits it's climax when Tarzan meets a tenacious young researcher named Jane and is forced to choose loyalty to his gorilla family or to his own kind, which would mean returning to civilization.

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Full Answer

In the 1999 Disney film, Tarzan is orphaned when Sabor, a leopard, kills his parents. Meanwhile, a gorilla family in the jungle mourns the loss of their own infant at the claws of Sabor. Kala, the female gorilla who lost her infant, stumbles upon Tarzan, having heard his cries. To the disapproval of her husband and troop leader, Kerchak, she keeps and raises Tarzan.

Tarzan befriends several jungle friends, including a group of raucous gorillas with a penchant for mischief. As an adult, Tarzan kills Sabor and presents the leopard's body to Kerchak, finally earning the silverback's respect.

One day, the troop of gorillas scatter when a trio of humans enter the camp. Intrigued by the visitors, Tarzan investigates, eventually saving Jane from a congress of angry baboons. Jane wants to see the gorillas, and Tarzan finally concedes, executing an elaborate plan to lure Kerchak away. When the leader returns, he is shot by Clayton, a guide, and hands over leadership of the troop to Tarzan before he dies. In the end, Tarzan and Jane live happily ever after.

In a more thematic sense, Disney's Tarzan is about family and finding a place to fit in. The Disney version of Burroughs "Tarzan of the Apes" differs in both detain and theme.

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