“The Legend of Tarzan” stars Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson and Djimon Hounsou. Directed by David Yates of “Harry Potter” fame, the film is adapted from the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs. The movie serves as a sequel to the Burroughs legend, with Tarzan now domesticated living in England going by the name of John Clayton. Tarzan is called back to the jungle to investigate a mining camp mystery as well as saving Jane from a mustache twirling villain named Leon Rom.
“The Legend of Tarzan” was a film I was really looking forward to. The trailers looked pretty fantastic and I liked the idea of seeing a different version of Tarzan, rather than the origin story that we all know and have seen from the Disney animated film or the books. I liked the cast and thought that director David Yates was perfect for this type of fare, especially since he is considered the best of the “Harry Potter” directors. However, this movie was devastatingly disappointing. This was a real letdown for me this summer and I walked out of the theater really upset that I didn’t enjoy it.
There were a ton of problems with this movie. First and foremost, the story had a lot of plot holes and things that never really made sense, especially concerning the villain. Christoph Waltz was very cliched, one note and just a throwaway villain that nobody cares about. Another issue with the film was Samuel L. Jackson. I am a big fan of Sam L, but he did not fit in this movie. To me, he felt like the bumbling sidekick that stuck out like a really sore thumb. I don’t really understand why he was cast here, because his lingo and vernacular is not turn of the century London, but modern Tarantino. He’s doing his Sam Jackson thing and sometimes it was funny but most of the time it took me out. Margot Robbie is a great actress but she had nothing to do here. I didn’t feel the chemistry between her and Skarsgard which should have been an immediate sale.
Other issues arose such as the very green-screen look of the animals, especially the stampede scene which was very amateurish and poor looking, especially since post-“Jungle Book.” I don’t know what it was, but I think “Jungle Book” really spoiled me this year for special effects, showing realism of animals and environments to the extreme. The last thing that was noticeable was the pacing. The editing and the pacing was horrendous. It was stop go stop go, and the flashback sequences felt oddly placed in weird moments while other things in the present were happening at different moments that didn’t parallel the story. I just had a headache after the movie ended, and the climax was very anti-climactic.
In saying that, the scenes with Skarsgard actually swinging from the vines and fighting apes was really cool, but there wasn’t enough of that. I wanted more. That’s why the flashback sequences were my favorite, even though they were placed in odd moments. In now seeing the film, I found myself not caring about the story but more on the flashback scenes. It made me think of the far superior Disney adaptation. This version needed a little bit of Phil Collins to spice the film up.
Guys in the end, “The Legend of Tarzan” is a big miss this summer and it was a huge bummer. It’s not the worst movie that I’ve seen this year but it wasn’t a good one. Parts of the film had entertainment value, but the lackluster story and the odd pacing and editing mixed with some very mediocre performances didn’t help this movie. Skarsgard was an excellent casting choice for Tarzan and he truly was the sole of the film. “The Legend of Tarzan” is harmless summer popcorn flare, but no one will remember it in T-minus 4 hours. I can’t give this one a fresh rating and can’t really recommend it either. Go see “Finding Dory” again, or rent “The Jungle Book” on DVD.