By Jack Bull (United Kingdom)
The Legend of Tarzan follows on from the story we were told in the 1999 Disney Classic, Tarzan. Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) is now living in London, with his wife Jane (Margot Robbie) and has put his ‘legend’ behind him, wanting to be a part of society and move forward with his life, now being referred to his human name ‘John Clayton’. Although all appears well in John’s life, Captain Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz), advocating for King Leopald, hatches a plan to entice him back to his beloved home in the region of Congo. Rom has been told by an Old foe of John’s that if he is to capture him he will be rewarded with diamonds. Events lead to John and Jane returning to where they once called home, accompanied by George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson), a U.S. Civil War veteran, who intends to find out exactly what is taking place in Congo. Rom captures Jane and plans to use her in an attempt to lure John into his clutches. It’s up to John to try and save the woman he loves and overcome all obstacles in his way in his fight to do so.
Looking at this film on paper it is understandable that it would be highly anticipated and a great expectancy would rest on its shoulders. With the Tarzan legacy coming out of the animated world it was always going to be a big ask of Director/Executive Producer David Yates, successor of the final four films of the Harry Potter series phenomenon.
The cast is exceptionally strong, with standout performances from Margot Robbie, who hasn’t really put a foot out of place on the acting forefront as of late and Christoph Waltz, who has earned his rightful place as Hollywood’s go to guy in terms of casting a villain. The scenes two share are where the film truly shines and the audience does feel like there is some genuine threat being fought against. Skarsgård, the films lead is a convincing Tarzan, who has clearly worked hard on the image of the character. There are minor slips in his accent (drifting from British/American) and being slightly overshadowed by, what can be argued are, ‘bigger names’ may not have helped the character development. Overall, the performance was mediocre throughout. Samuel L. Jackson is the comedic outlet in this film, with one liners that fall somewhat flat and breaks the tension the movie actually would have benefited from. It is refreshing, however, to see him not having to be so serious which has been the case with a number of his recent roles. With all that being said, the acting is fairly strong throughout this film, with a script that is particularly average. The relationships within this film can sometimes appear to be slightly forced, which can be blamed a lot on the pacing of the film (more detail on this below).
The storyline does has some depth, however you never feel completely invested in what you’re watching, following a very similar pattern to films we have been accustomed to for far too long. The elements where there is true potential lies within the flashbacks visited, where we see segments from Tarzan’s youth, the birth of the jungle legend and his first encounter of Jane. Obviously this is taken from the events that took place in the previous film and to some extent shows what the film could have potentially been, almost teasing the audience by showing the content which may have actually fared better on the big screen. These scenes are very few and far between which then leads me to the pacing of the film.
Everything is very rushed throughout and therefore any momentum that appears to be building and what would have made this film great is only briefly touched on. The scenes involving Tarzan swinging through trees, the flashbacks, the old enemy we only really learn about in the final sequences of the film and the climax all fall short in execution.
Finally if you’re looking to see a film with action and where you don’t have to worry too much about the substance then this is an OK watch for you. If you’re a fan of the old Tarzan then you may leave the theatre/cinema disappointed or wanting more.
Rating: 3/5BEST QUOTES