REVIEW: The Legend of Tarzan
We review The Legend of Tarzan from Warner Bros. Pictures Philippines and stars Alexander Skarsgard and Margot Robbie. Opens June 30!
Years after leaving the jungle and settling down with his wife Jane (Margot Robbie) in London, Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) is forced to return to the Congo in order to act as a trade representative for England. However, he soon clashes with a greedy Belgian captain (Christoph Waltz) who has sinister plans for his old home. David Yates directed this adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic tales. Samuel L. Jackson, Djimon Hounsou, John Hurt, and Jim Broadbent co-star.
The movie is the literary equivalent of a comic book movie. Whether its a good thing or a bad things really depends on your perception but let me lay down the reasons why I think that this new film adaptation is a CBM.
For starters it manages to deliver both an origin story and move the story forward to some extent. We get to see a non-linear story of how Tarzan came to be through flashbacks. I didn’t find it confusing but it could be a big roadblock for some viewers who appreciate linear storytelling. These flashbacks is also the source of some of the drama that propels the story forward like how Djimon Hounsou has a mad-on for Skarsgard’s Tarzan.
The villains here are so-so. Sadly we don’t get the “Villains are just as good as the hero” rather we are presented with a “hollow” villain in Christoph Waltz. He postures as somebody capable with but in the end, proves to be a one trick pony. Still Waltz brings his trademark annoying acting chops (I say that in a good way mind you) to the table. I’m also surprised that they have Casper Crump here; Vandal Savage from TV’s Legends of Tomorrow but that didn’t really do anything.
Alexander Skarsgard is a good pick for Lord Greystoke/ Tarzan. In aristocrat mode, he plays that withdrawn nobleman; as the king of the jungle, he definitely looks awesome. But don’t expect too much drama or too much acting from him here, he’s doing more of an early action hero here in ‘Legend of Tarzan’.
Forgive me if I can’t get Harley Quinn out of Margot Robbie’s Jane Porter. She’s just perfect for that role that it overpowers her other performances in this film. Given how close we are to the release of Suicide Squad, that won’t really change too. She is pretty and hits the quota to fill the standard “strong female” role. Its also hard to point a finger at Robbie’s Jane because she wants us to believe that she’s this strong female lead but then she also manages to become the damsel-in-distress.
I wanted to comment on how the movie plays like a CBM (comic book movie) because of a number of things.
– the plot is definitely predictable; by the time we reach the second act of the film, we are already expecting this character to end up like this. They definitely went on a “safe route” for this film.
– The film really takes from those old Tarzan stories from the old days. Only with less jungle tales and a rather left field-y story of mining, slavers and politics. Had we focused more on Hounsou’s vendetta, it would have been really interesting.
The mere presence of Samuel L. Jackson is worthy of turning this movie into a CBM. The dude plays George Washington Williams, a real-life hero, who provides a sense of humor to a dark tale. In gamer speak, he also plays the support-type support character. Funny but really not necessary. Still an interesting addition to the cast.
I guess my only other gripe for the film is how some VFX tend to look fake. Some moments in that big gorilla fight looked badly-CGI-ed and lets not even get started on the wildebeest! Oh and some scenes also involved Tarzan swinging really, really looked bad.
Aside from that I though The Legend of Tarzan was a fun romp, something light and did not follow the myriad of Tarzan flicks that does a straight retelling over and over again.
Special thanks to Warner Bros. Pictures Philippines!