Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy.
Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie, Samuel L Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent.
Year Of Release: 2016
Certificate: 12A (UK)/PG-13 (US)
Runtime: 110 Minutes
Director: David Yates
Synopsis: “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.” IMDB
After four Harry Potter films, David Yates decided to take a step out of the limelight, only directing the pilot of “Tyrant” on FX, for five years Yates was quiet on the film front until this year when he had “The Legend Of Tarzan” and “Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them” releasing, the latter still within the Potter universe.
The Legend Of Tarzan starts with John Clayton III in London after the events of the Berlin Conference in which the United Kingdom and Belgium have divided up the Congo, the Belgians are on the brink of bankruptcy having shovelled all their money into railroads and other ventures, so they send Leon Rom (Waltz) to the Congo to try and get his hands on the diamonds in Opar. Struggling to get access to the city Rom and his team are ambushed by Chief Mbonga (Hounsou) who proceeds to offer him diamonds in exchange for an old enemy Tarzan (Skarsgård). “Tarzan” has long left Africa and now is living in London with Jane (Robbie) living a normal life, George Washington Williams is in the UK with his own agenda, realising that John is actually the legendary Tarzan he confides in him that he believes the Belgians are enslaving the Congolese people and making them work for them. While in the Congo trying to work out what is going on, Jane is kidnapped by Rom and his people, in a ploy to trap Tarzan to hand him over to Mbonga.
The story was boring and unnecessary, the actual story we were all wanting has long before happened at this point, “Tarzan” is now living in London as some sort of aristocrat or something of that nature. Living a life we don’t care about at all, we get some flashbacks to the story we’d expect with a Tarzan flick, but those moments are so few and far between they aren’t worth sitting through the rest of the crap. I mean Tarzan is a well dressed rich boy talking politics with the government, a man who swings vines and runs around with animals is sitting in a board room, yawn-fest! There is a couple of vine swinging scenes and two with Tarzan and apes, is that enough? Not in my opinion, especially when the biggest “vine” event isn’t even on vines in the jungle it is on ropes at a dock.
The cast is all style over substance in this film, they were all picked because they “look the part” none of them truly feel like they are right for the role, well except for Jim Broadbent who pays the British Prime Minister who barely has any screen time, the rest just feel like they’re there, not actually doing anything more than reading lines. Their characters have little depth or any development throughout they film, they are just boring shadows of what they could be, Samuel L Jackson, does well every role he’s ever done, Skarsgård as Tarzan wasn’t awful he just wasn’t anything special, Robbie as Jane was just a one dimensional character who really didn’t bring anything exciting to the table. I get the choice of Skarsgård and Robbie for Tarzan and Jane, given the right direction I think they would have made a good dynamic, however they just turned out hollow characters with no development and little chemistry.
Overall, I was a bit let down with the film I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece, however I was expecting some simple enjoyment which just never turned up, much like Tarzan who barely turns up in this film. Yes we see “Tarzan” in the film, however it just feels like a man in the jungle he doesn’t have a Tarzan vibe at all, it’s a boring retelling of a classic story. While I admire the fact they tried to bring back Tarzan, it came from a great concept, however the execution was so far wide of the mark. I really wanted to like this, I did, I just struggle to find any real merit for this film. The film may be well suited to a younger audience that is new to the story, anybody expecting anything fun may be underwhelmed by this below average attempt at bringing a classic to the modern audience.