Hello, fellow moviegoers!
The tale of Tarzan is one of those that sits on the top shelf of classic stories. The premise of a man raised by gorillas reuniting with humanity is one that has always been intriguing. In fact, IMDb lists over a hundred different iterations of the character on film and TV within the past century. So a new Tarzan film isn't really anything to be excited about, as they are a dime-a-dozen. But, something was different about The Legend of Tarzan from the second they released the first trailer. It felt more realistic, interesting, and adventurous.
The Legend of Tarzan is directed by David Yates, and it stars Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz, and Samuel L. Jackson. Now accustomed to English life, John Clayton, formerly known as Tarzan, has a happy life. But, when he has to return to the Congo to investigate goings on at a mining camp, he must revert back to the way he used to be in order to survive.
The Legend of Tarzan was a movie that had the potential to be one of the year's best so far. While it is still an enjoyable film, it doesn't quite live up to those prospects. The story is an interesting one that keeps the audience's attention, but it fails to go above and beyond to make the film truly memorable. While it was neat to see Tarzan being reunited with the jungle and the animals in it, we didn't know enough about the character's pre-Jane life to give those scenes the emotional tug they needed.
While some may say you can't have Tarzan without Jane, Jane in this film wasn't an interesting enough character to keep the film entertaining. Her sole purpose in the film was to give a reason for Tarzan to chase Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz). She was merely a plot device, not an actual character that you wanted to learn more about. Margot Robbie's performance as Jane was fine, but it was nothing spectacular.
Where this film truly shines is in its action sequences. All of the action sequences in this film highlight a brutality that comes with the jungle. Not only that, but director David Yates did a great job at explaining why these fights were happening. It wasn't like a lot of films where the fights scenes are obligatory. No, these fight scenes heightened the experience while also advancing the plot.
In my opinion, the scenes that stood out the most were those that featured gorilla encounters. The gorillas in this film are arguably the best part. You could feel so much emotion coming from these gorillas, even though they never said a word. There was a real sense of family between them. It was understood why they didn't like humans, or why they did or did not trust Tarzan. Plus, when they wanted to be, these gorillas were scary. These were creatures you did not want to mess with.
The biggest problem in this film comes not from Tarzan, but rather the actor who portrays him. I believe that Alexander Skarsgard was completely miscast in the role. Not only did he not look the part, but he didn't really portray that contained wildness that comes with Tarzan very well. It felt like he was going for the opposite, not inner wildness hidden by sophistication, but a sophisticated person trying to be wild. Throughout a majority of the film, he never felt like Tarzan. We never even see him do his classic Tarzan call. We hear it in the distance, but never actually see it, which was a missed opportunity for a really cool scene. I can't help but wonder if they wanted to have a scene like that, but Skarsgard couldn't do the call in a convincing manner.
In a world where it seems like you can only either love or hate anything, I feel like people are going to see The Legend of Tarzan in that mindset. They'll either love it or hate it. When in reality, it lies somewhere in the middle. While it was an entertaining film, The Legend of Tarzan fails to capture the spirit of Tarzan. Alexander Skarsgard was completely miscast in the lead role, and Jane was only there to forward the plot. The action scenes and the gorillas were what really saved this movie. If you go into this film expecting classic Tarzan, you'll be disappointed. But if you go in expecting to see a story about a British dude that can get around pretty well in the jungle, you might have some fun.
So what did you think of The Legend of Tarzan? Was Alexander Skarsgard convincing enough for you? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don't forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So check back then for more movie reviews and miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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