Oct 26, 2018

[Movies] The Legend of Tarzan (2016) Review

Home entertainment services like HBO and Netflix were tailor-made for giving lackluster movies new life. You know the type -the ones that you never bother to see in the theaters but you may consider watching should it randomly come up while you're flipping through channels.

In our case it was while browsing through the Netflix library.

The Legend of Tarzan is the Tarzan sorta reboot movie we didn't quite ask for or expect nor did we actually need. But hey we have it and it had some interesting casting choices and it may have been largely inspired by movies like Hook?

And that's because the movie is a sort of sequel to the original Tarzan adventures. Tarzan has left the wild and has been living in civilization but eventually has to go back becauses reasons. It's all a weird premise with some dramatic action shots but on the whole it ends up feeling a little dull and hollow even.

Synopsis: The Legend of Tarzan is an adventure movie directed by David Yates. The screenplay was written by Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer as based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs character.

A deal is made by Léon Rom (Christoph Waltz), the envoy of the King Leopold II of Belgium to secure diamonds to help the bankrupt country. But the Congo is controlled by Chief Mbonga (Djimon Hounsou) who demands an old enemy in exchange for the diamonds - he wants Tarzan. And Léon can be quite a resourceful man when it comes to delivering what his king wants.

But Tarzan is now John Clayton III (Alexander Skarsgård), who has been living a civilized life with his wife Jane Porter (Margot Robbie) in the ancestral home of Lord Greystoke. He has a bit of infamy because of his past adventures in the jungle but he's determined to leave all that behind and embrace the London life. But one thing leads to another and Tarzan is maneuvered to return to Africa.

What I Liked: The movie does have some oddly pretty moments, whether we're talking about sweeping establishing shots or how different aspects of the action are depicted. The fighting is the sort that you don't really lose track of who just did what during the fight unlike a lot of the other movies these days.

Skarsgård makes for a very intense Tarzan and it's believable enough that he has to contain himself in order to fulfill his desire to leave the jungle behind. Robbie makes for an interesting Jane and one certainly appropriate for modern viewers as she's not necessarily a damsel in distress and her heart remains to be in Africa more than anything else. They work well together on-screen and give the movie a solid enough base to stand on.

What Could Have Been Better: The story is painfully bad - it leans on being very simple and predictable and ultimately uninteresting. The pacing for the story didn't help things at all and makes for a bit of a crawl in many bits until the properly return to Africa in the second half of the movie. Taking Tarzan out of his element in this manner as the initial status quo was a very strange move indeed and didn't make for a good movie experience.

And then you have odd casting choices like Samuel Jackson as American George Washington Williams. And the problem is that as skilled he is as an actor, his role in this movie was to play Samuel L. Jackson in a Tarzan movie. He feels more like a member of the audience than a character in the story and his scenes can be so jarring that his lines tend to take you out of the fantasy of things.

TL;DR: The Legend of Tarzan is a sad movie with some strong moments but not much holding it together. Maybe they shouldn't have taken Tarzan out of the jungle so soon and saved that for another time or better framed things so it wouldn't feel so disconnected. Thus the movie can only get 1.5 convenient circumstances that slow strip away John Clayton to reveal Tarzan out of a possible 5.

No comments:

Post a Comment