Monday, July 11, 2016

[Review] The Legend of Tarzan

With so many versions of Tarzan out there, it didn't really feel like we needed another one anytime soon. But considering how reboot-happy Hollywood is, here we are.

Alexander Skarsgard ("True Blood") plays the 'Lord of the Apes' aka 'King of the Jungle' aka Tarzan. At the beginning, he's lured out of his fully-clothed life in London and sent to The African Congo to prevent a war-mongering devil in a white suit (Christoph Waltz in prime villain form) from sourcing diamonds and enslaving tribes. But Tarzan isn't alone; he's got some help from his audacious and vivacious wife Jane (Margot Robbie) and a charismatic and comical sidekick (Samuel L. Jackson).

Jackson's humorous timing is the only thing that truly cuts through the drab tone and hazy color palette, as this film swings into bleak territory. All-out serious mode would be fine if the story here wasn't so underwhelming. Any momentum is broken up by seen-it-before origin flashbacks, and there's not as much animal action as you might hope for (although there is an amusing scene of Tarzan getting clotheslined in midair by a gorilla). Even when the animals do make their presence known, they don't look nearly as realistic as the marvelous creations in this year's The Jungle Book.

Margot Robbie is a terrific Jane and she delivers some fierce lines of dialogue, including a glorious attack on the villain's uneven mustache. But unfortunately, most of the film's duration has her getting captured or chained to something. Alexander Skarsgard is super stiff as Tarzan, and the character comes off as mightily bland, which makes him the least interesting part of his own movie.

I'll refrain from spoilers, but thankfully the climax brings a couple of memorable moments, and while they don't totally redeem the entire film, they might put a gratified smirk on your face. So, The Legend of Tarzan isn't as bad as I anticipated, but it's nothing to holler about either.

( 6/10 )

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