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.
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?