Bringing a book or an animation to life on the big screen is never an easy feat, mostly because interpreting roles laced in such splendour is stuff of genius, the picture just has to be good enough, good enough to leave us as amazed as the source work did. Hence the need for a Director seasoned in adapting books to the big screen.
Enter David Yates, a Director who already brought us the last 4 instalments of the Harry Potter movie and did so beautifully, so yes Warner Bros’ resolve on this was well founded.
The plot is set in the eighteen-eighties in Pre-colonial Congo. King Leopold funds an incursion of mercenaries led by Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz), in a bid to conquer the Diamond-laden Congo and enslave its people.
Quick Fact: King Leopold was responsible for the murder of about Ten Million Congolese
Great Britain’s envoy, John Clayton III, formerly known as Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård), is informed of the Belgian plot by an American diplomat, George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson), and they travel together to thwart it. Tarzan’s wife, Jane (Margot Robbie) is captured by Leon Rom. She is to be the bargaining chip on multiple fronts.
Let’s start with the name shall we?, “The Legend of Tarzan” suggests the audacious chronicles of Tarzan and possibly of how he and Jane came to be, but what this flick brought were some hazy flashbacks of his origin story, so at the end, the entire movie felt like the sequel to a movie that was never made. Sad!
The sad truth is this, when we heard that another Tarzan Movie was in the offering, we never envisaged the idea of the feral Lord of the Apes in a 3-piece suit for more than one hour movie time. The last title this movie should have been given is exactly what it was given. The Movie isn’t about the “Legend of Tarzan”, not in the slightest… Let’s find another title: Tarzan: The Belgian Incursion…?
The movie kicks off with quite a sluggish pace, the plot took forever to breakdown, so long it took that when it eventually did my enthusiasm had waxed cold. On the plus side, the CGI on this flick was at par, not as bad as “Gods of Egypt”, not as good as “Jungle book”.
The biggest flaw of this Movie stems from its script, with so many stories being packed into 110 minutes, the movie couldn’t help but come off as suffocated and needing more room to breathe.
The predictability and lack of mystery didn’t help either, within the first 20 minutes the end of the screenplay was already decided, and then it simply became a matter of how many laughs it could muster and how much awe of the effects the movie could generate before the inevitable already decided end.
Samuel L. Jackson was the greatest asset on this one; the highly-priced thespian brought a much needed comic relief that the movie would have been basically lost without. Alexander Skarsgård was perfect for the role of Tarzan with the physique and the coarse, rough nature of our favourite “spirit of the jungle”, even the Jaw line was right.
With a star studded cast of gifted actors, The Legend of Tarzan is merely watchable but not at all memorable. My advice to Hollywood is this, Leave Tarzan in the Wild.
I wrote this