Director: David Yates (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)
Screenplay: Andrew Cozad (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), Craig Brewer (Footloose 2011),
Released: July 1, 2016
The Hook: I never considered or have seen the story of Tarzan told from this perspective before.
This Tarzan story is about Tarzan returning to the Congo. He’s already been saved, married Jane, and reclaimed his estate as a child of wealthy parents in England. Things are happening in the Congo that are causing some concern for some of the higher-ups of England. A government official recruits Tarzan to go take a look at what’s going on since, you know, he’s from there. He’s hesitant but he misses his homeland enough to give it a shot. He takes Jane with him, since she pretty much grew up there as well. That’s when the fun begins (of course). It really is an adventure piece and I love the presentation.
As I mentioned, I never seen this angle of the Tarzan story before so it was something that really piqued my interest. And I’ll admit it, I never read the book so if this perspective is old news its new to me. I also can’t recall older Tarzan adaptations coming in from this angle, where Tarzan returns, so, again, new angle for me. With the entertainment world big on retellings nowadays, I’m not surprised the story of Tarzan is among the many. With all retellings, reboots, etc. it’s nice to see this a new angle, especially when it’s the same story but different, you know?.
Alexander Skarsgard (Tarzan/John Clayton) easily takes the spotlight. He does well portraying Tarzan/John Clayton. I cannot help but thing he’s getting a bit type casted, playing the brooding and silent protagonist, but you will not be disappointed. Acting along side Skarsgard is Margaret Robbie (Jane Clayton). I’ve always felt that Jane was . . . rambunctious. She has this restless energy which I suppose fits in with being raised by an adventurous father. Robbie captures that personality very well and being the leading couple in this film, she complements Skarsgard nicely. Samuel L. Jackson (George Washington Williams) adds that humor to balance out the seriousness (in his own no-nonsense kind of way) and Christopher Waltz (Leon Rom) plays the antagonist to the tee. The other cast members add to these starring roles and makes for a pleasant on-screen experience.
Man versus man is always a theme we can appreciate and you can add The Legend of Tarzan to the mix. It gets redundant unless executed well and I believe that was the case in this film. With the narrative mainly coming from Tarzan, it was amazing to watch how his character handles his homecoming and the challenges he comes up against when he finds his home, and family (both animal and human), threatened by greedy and callous men. The narrative unfolds nicely as well, shifting between the present and past with flashbacks to fill in the blanks.
I did get a bit confused with the timeline a bit, but it could just be that I wasn’t paying attention. For the sake of not being too spoilery I’ll just say it had to do with two events, Tarzan’s injuries and his mother. And if you don’t want spoilers, look away!
Overall, I liked this movie. The story line was good, the acting was good, the execution was good. Plus, plus, plus. It’s definitely DVD-worthy (if you’re still keeping a library. With all the streaming services now days, I don’t know if DVDs are still a thing ;).