The Legend of Tarzan. 2016
Directed by David Yates
Starring Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, Jim Broadbent, Rory J. Saper, and Djimon Hounsou.
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.
Here is a fun fact- Tarzan is the most rebooted and reimagined franchise of all time. Here is another fun fact- The Legend of Tarzan adds nothing to the legacy and really has no purpose for existing unless you REALLY want to see Alexander Skarsgård’s shirtless chiseled up body for almost 2 hours. It’s beyond ridiculous how in your face it is, but I digress and go back to my original point that this movie is nothing more than extraordinarily boring.
The Legend of Tarzan picks things up with our revered hero after all the classic stories have already happened, which at first glance seems like a good idea considering that a refreshing story will probably be told. Not really, as there are about 50 different flashbacks to the origins of Tarzan anyway (is there anyone really going to see this movie that doesn’t know the original story of Tarzan) with a few reworked tidbits here and there, but for the most part all of this adds nothing.
The first half of the movie (a.k.a. the scenes Alexander Skarsgård wears clothes in) shows Tarzan as an aristocratic trade emissionary, which is about as boring as it sounds. He lives in a castle leading a normal civilized life, viewed as a pariah to the locals of the land, while Jane (played by Margot Robbie in the first misfire of her career as far as acting and project picking goes) wants him to get back into the jungle. By the way, there is a flashback of how they meet, and it is completely ridiculous.
Alexander Skarsgård is a proven capable actor, but a good Tarzan he does not make. Then again, the lackluster story and script don’t give him much to work with, but I will get to that in a minute. A lot of his performance as Tarzan simply amounts to a lot of passionate staring and dreamy facial expressions, sometimes communicating with various animal lifeforms in absurd scenes where he brushes his face up against them. Meanwhile, Jane is basically a damsel in distress (despite claiming she’s not, but that will fool no one watching the movie) that sees Margot Robbie delivering very forced lines. One of her only serviceable scenes is an intense and brooding dinner table scene opposite Christoph Waltz; as a matter of fact that’s one of the only good scenes in the movie.
Speaking of Christoph Waltz, he plays the villain Leon Rom, who is trying to bring back slavery after the Civil War, and is searching for treasures to make his land prosper once again, but all the character comes down to is Waltz pretending he’s Col. Hans Landa from Inglorious Basterds, just without the juicy Quentin Tarantino dialogue. Similarly, any time you see him on screen, you will wish you were watching a Quentin Tarantino movie instead.
Finally, some quick notes on Samuel L. Jackson’s character, apparently based off of George Washington Williams. Essentially, it is Sam Jackson being Sam Jackson, which also means that he is the only good thing in the movie. I don’t care if half of the things he says are anachronistic to the time period, because the movie is already terrible, so if anything he brought a little fun to be exercise.
Again, the crippling issue with The Legend of Tarzan is that it is completely boring, ruined by a cliché plot content with doling out the most generic story possible. There is a little bit of revenge, a damsel in distress, an uninteresting villain with lame motives, and some rather unspectacular action sequences. There isn’t a lot of swinging on vines in The Legend of Tarzan, but once you see it once you will understand why considering that the special effects are rather poor and make the motions look hilariously fake. The vine swinging is also captured from the oddest angles. There is also a terrible fight sequence on a train where Tarzan fights about 20 different people that only attack him one at a time. Hell, somehow the movie also manages to make Tarzan and a giant gorilla running at each other in slow motion, leaping towards each other with fists cocked, stupid looking and uneventful.
To say I loathed nearly everything about The Legend of Tarzan would sum everything up. Thank God for Samuel L. Jackson to provide some entertainment by almost licking a gorilla’s nuts. And the fact that it is the best scene in the movie really tells you all you need to know about the overall quality of this film.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★
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