Most movies are better remembered when they are left alone with zero recreations or sequels. Although once in a while a sequel turns out to be better than its original, this is not the case for most. Attempts by even the best directors of Hollywood to recreate the memorable environments that we loved and enjoyed in the early days, almost always end in utter failure.
Tarzan, the wild man we loved in our childhood is brought back on screen in the 2016 movie “The Legend of Tarzan” by David Yates. Yates is a renowned British Director who directed the last four Harry Potter movies with great success.
This movie which is distributed by Warner Bros. shows John Clayton III (Alexander Skarsgård) more commonly known to the audiences as Tarzan acclimated to a life in England with his wife, Jane (Margot Robbie). Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz), an envoy for King Leopold of Belgium plots to lure the couple in to the jungle to capture Tarzan and trade him in exchange for Diamonds to his old enemy in the wilderness. With Jane being tangled up in this mess, Tarzan has to risk everything dear to rescue Jane from his enemies.
A Job Well Done!
Yates being the director of the world famous Harry Potter movies and the upcoming movie “Fantastic Beasts and where to find them”, another adaptation of a J.K. Rowling fantasy novel has done a surprisingly subpar job in The Legend of Tarzan. Even though the movie is filled with adventure and action sequences it offers far less than the viewers’ expectations.
The subplots contained throughout the movie about slavery, colonialism, and looting Africa’s resources are too detailed and irrelevant to the actual story. In addition to these subplots, the constant flashbacks to Tarzan’s time in the jungle with his Gorilla family takes up a huge chunk of the movie and leaves the actual plot paper-thin and rushed through the 1hour 50minutes runtime. The action choreography of the movie is on the positive side but is again degraded by the subpar special effects available throughout the movie. Being released in the same year as the new “Jungle Book” movie with its number of high quality CG animals and effects, the special effects of The Legend of Tarzan is visibly average.
Special Effects as Backup for “Covering” the Empty Spots in the Script
Even with the flaws in the plot, screenplay and special effects, the actors seem to be doing a great job. Alexander Skarsgård who plays Tarzan’s character is quite right for the part. Combined with Margot Robbie who plays his wife they portray a great chemistry between the two characters.
But the fact that the two main characters remain separated from each other during most of the movie runtime, the chance to display their good chemistry is lost. Skarsgård depicts the modern England Tarzan where he is Lord Greystoke rehabilitated and well-groomed to the polite London society and also the role of Tarzan in the wilderness with the same level of good acting. Our villain without a second thought does his part in the movie and displays great acting capabilities as a villain. When taking these into consideration we can easily come to the conclusion that the casting for the movie is excellent and couldn’t have been better.
Regardless of the rushed through plot, the movie’s beginning really does a good job in keeping the audience yearning to find out what happens next. The first scene shows the major villain of the movie, Leon Rom making a deal with Tarzan’s old enemy in the jungle, Chief Mbonga (Dijmon Hounsou) to bring and trade Tarzan for valuable diamonds to save Belgium from its bankruptcy.
The film then cuts back to London where George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson), an American envoy to act as a celebrity emissary to travel to Africa and find possible means of corruption in a mine in Congo. The movie takes up a lot of time in the script for Tarzan and Jane to decide whether Jane could accompany Tarzan on the journey. In between unnecessary flashbacks to their time in the forest years back and the journey to the Congo, Jane is captured by Leon Rom. She remains in captivity for most of the movie waiting for Tarzan to come for her rescue. The movie then explores the friendship between Tarzan and George Washington Williams, a black person, to keep racism at a distance from the story. But keeping Jane in captivity awaiting her male hero and Tarzan’s relations with certain tribes still raise questions of gender and racial discriminations in the movie.
The beautiful scenery from the Congo forest and the attractive image of Tarzan given by Skarsgård is not enough to bring justice to the original Tarzan story. The name Tarzan itself brings lots of memories back to us from the childhood where we watched Tarzan dangle from vines in a jungle full of animals. The Legend of the Tarzan doesn’t give out that excitement and adventure contained in the previous movies to the expected extent. But if you are a fan of visually rich online movies with gorgeous settings and scenery, this movie will not disappoint you at all.