New version of Tarzan doesn’t want to swing through his Legend

(From IMDb.com)

(From IMDb.com)

In this version of Tarzan, we meet the man of the jungle as an aristocrat in jolly old England, happily married to Jane under the given name of the parents from which he was orphaned before those sympathetic apes raised him.

And when a U.S. politico played by Samuel L. Jackson comes with the proposal from Belgium’s King to go back to the Congo, John Clayton III says no.

No, The Legend of Tarzan, directed by David Yates and written by Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer does not bring to my mind the Tarzan of my youth, the one created by Edgar Rice Burroughs and played famously on the movie screen by Olympic swimming champion Johnny Weissmuller.

This Tarzan played by Alexander Skarsgård starts far more interested in remaining the Earl of Greystroke.

And even when the storyline gets him to the continent, it moves ever so slowly.

We learn of Tarzan’s legend in flashbacks interspersed with this storyline of the 1890s, when the Belgian King needs to basically sell the former king of the jungle to a former enemy to make late payment and keep the Congo.

It’s good vs. evil all the way.

Christoph Waltz has the bad guy part down pat as Leon Rom, doing the Congo bidding for King Leopold.

Jackson as former Civil War hero George Washington Williams and Margot Robbie as Jane as well as every actor who plays a native of Congo are fortitude of good — as soon as the man named after the American president figures out the King is trying to enslave all those fellow dark-skinned people, anyway.

Skarsgård as Tarzan, of course, is the epitome of a man doing good deeds. He talks to the animals, rallies for indigenous people and will do anything to save his wife.

Samuel L. Jackson and Margot Robbie were much more interesting than Tarzan.

Samuel L. Jackson and Margot Robbie were much more interesting than Tarzan.

The actor is built like an Olympic champion, too, as he swings on vines in the action scenes and fights for his honor with the apes and her honor with the bad men.

But all through the 109 minutes, I also thought the dude was a bit boring. The actor and the character, both.

Robbie as Jane had all the marriage chutzpah of the power couple on the screen, really.

Tarzan’s scenes with the animals looked too computer-generated to me.

Even the trademark Tarzan yodels seemed too tame.

Ah, well. Not even Tarzan is perfect.

The swashbuckling ending sure made the mid-size 4:40 p.m. Friday crowd in the large Regal Cinemas theater in Syracuse suburban mall Shoppingtown happy.

What are your favorite memories of the Tarzan legend, and why? Do you prefer a talkative Tarzan story, or an action Tarzan movie? What’s your favorite Christoph Waltz movie and character, and why?

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12 thoughts on “New version of Tarzan doesn’t want to swing through his Legend

  1. I have never seen a Tarzan movie, although the Geico commercial amuses me. “Tarzan know where Tarzan go.” “Tarzan not know where Tarzan go.” I’ve never seen a Christopher Walz movie either, so I don’t know why I’m commenting. Really I must get to the movies more often.

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  2. Christoph Waltz is always brilliant, I love him in Inglorious Basterds and in the one with the parents discussing the children, but the name escapes me. I love me some half-naked Skarsgard, but I don’t think I need to see more than the trailer on this one.

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  3. Have seen numerous Tarzan movies, I kind of like getting the background story via short flashbacks and the telling of his legend via song narrated by Jane. I enjoyed it though seeing it at the Movie Tavern might have been part of it as I fully reclined in the seats while sipping my rum based cocktail. 🙂

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    • I’m glad you took the cue from last week and watched Tarzan at the Movie Tavern in the reclining chairs, Scott. I knew I might not be with everybody not being totally on board with this latest version, but I yam what I yam. Wait, that’s Popeye …

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  4. I won’t see this one, Mark. I read every novel in the Tarzan series as a kid and I don’t believe Hollywood will ever make a good Tarzan movie. They always want to do it better than ERB did it, and they can’t. They just can’t.

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