Synopsis: Tarzan, having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment.
Release Date: July 1, 2016 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Action, Adventure
What happens to Tarzan after he leaves the jungle and rejoins civilized society? What would life be like with Jane in late 19th Century London? These are some of the questions that could have easily propelled a movie like The Legend of Tarzan, and yet somehow we’re stuck back in the jungle with a tired chase movie, in which Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) tries to track down a kidnapped Jane (Margot Robbie), while at the same time enlisting the help of his friends (and enemies). There’s really nothing new or inventive about The Legend of Tarzan, and, in fact, the film itself is unbearably boring. Its leading actor lacks charisma, the main villain, played by Christoph Waltz, is as cookie cutter as they come, and even the action is unremarkable. It’s hard to fault The Legend of Tarzan for trying to avoid the formulaic origin story route, but this “where are they now” narrative isn’t much better than the familiar.
The Legend of Tarzan‘s cast, despite the star power and Oscar winners/nominees on its roster, is lackluster to say the least. Alexander Skarsgard is charming enough as an older Tarzan, and he certainly has the physique, but there’s no sense of charisma to his character. This is supposed to be a character who is king of the animals, and yet Tarzan feels one-dimensional. It’s even worse when he’s in the presence of Jane, with whom is absolutely no chemistry. Thankfully, the script keeps the two characters apart for most of its running time.
As for Jane, Margot Robbie tries to make the most of her damsel-in-distress character, but there’s clearly not a lot for her to work with in the script. Acting against Christophe Waltz should have at least added some needed fire to their scenes, but Waltz’s character is equally flat. He’s neither menacing nor compelling.
If there’s one thing that The Legend of Tarzan has going for it, it’s that the CGI animals look like real animals. Less so when matched up with live actors, but that’s hard to pull off without a massive budget. Unfortunately, the effects work in the film, such as Tarzan’s vine-swinging, look sub-par for a summer blockbuster. At times the swinging is exciting, but there’s so very little of it to truly judge. Yes, a movie about Tarzan doesn’t have a lot of vine-swinging. It’s that kind of movie.
What could have been a fun extension of Tarzan lore is instead a generic, B-rate summer blockbuster that lacks all of the important tangibles. Its action is not exciting, its leading actors are not charismatic, and its story is painfully formulaic. There is definitely a fun story to be told that catches up with Tarzan after the jungle, but this is not it. It’s better to let The Legend of Tarzan exist in our memory than to tarnish it with such a woefully misguided film like this.
When you get right to it, The Legend of Tarzan‘s action is of the painfully dull variety. Chase scenes feature fast cuts and incoherent movements – when not relying on poor CGI, that is. Fights between Tarzan and humans are slightly more entertaining, but they struggle to show off the character’s “training” in the world of the animals. Instead he seems more like a superhero and less like an ape-ish human. And then there’s the vine-swinging, which, as was mentioned, is not used enough, and when it is, the visuals are not as awe-inspiring as you would hope. The film is just not exciting, and that’s a real shame.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): David Yates
- Producer(s): David BarronTony LudwigAlan RicheJerry Weintraub
- Screenwriter(s): Adam CozadCraig Brewer
- Story: Edgar Rice Burroughs
- Cast: Alexander Skarsgård (John Clayton/Tarzan)Christoph Waltz (Leon Rom)Samuel L. Jackson (George Washington Williams) Margot Robbie (Jane Clayton)Casper Crump (Major Kerckhover)Sidney Ralitsoele (Wasimbu)Osy Ikhile (Kwete)Mens-Sana Tamakloe (Kolo)Antony Acheampong (Kanam)Edward Apeagyei (Kimanga)Ashley Byam (Kasai)Djimon Hounsou (Chief Mbonga)
- Editor(s): Mark Day
- Cinematographer: Henry Braham
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer: Ruth Myers
- Casting Director(s): Lucy BevanSusie Figgis
- Music Score: Rupert Gregson-Williams
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA