Today, we wrap up our look at the Freeform’s 30 Days Of Disney, as we take a deep look into one of the groundbreaking animated films in the Disney library Tarzan. Released in June of 1999, this is based on the classic story by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan of the Apes, released in 1912. This updated take for 1990s includes the addition of Tarzan not only swinging through the trees but also taking a queue from the extreme sports trend of the time and having him almost skating across the branches which lead to a new process in animation.
Tarzan, as many of the animated classics before it, changed how hand-drawn animation was done by introducing a new method of 3D painting and rendering technique known as Deep Canvas — a term coined by artist/engineer Eric Daniels. Much the same way the multiplane camera changed animation in The Old Mill (a Silly Symphony that debuted in 1937 by giving flat 2D animation depth), the deep canvas is a technique that allows artists to produce CGI backgrounds that look like traditional paintings. This groundbreaking technique was used in not only Tarzan but also Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) and Treasure Planet (2002). This led to 2003 when Disney received an Academy Award for developing the Deep Canvas technology before moving away from traditional animation to the all CGI style.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Tarzan, at the 2019 D23 Expo, a panel was hosted by Wayne Knight (the voice Tantor the Elephant in the film), also featuring directors Chris Buck and Kevin Lima, along with producer Bonnie Arnold. They were joined by animators Bruce W. Smith, Ken Duncan, and Eric Daniels. This panel dives deep into the history, creation, and some of the legacy of the film. However, by far the biggest piece of news that came out of it was panel was from Buck, who joked, “Can I please put this rumor to rest? Tarzan’s parents are not Elsa and Anna’s parents.”
Our main correspondent for Walt Disney World and the Orlando area and a heck of a paleontologist if he does say so himself.