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The Legend of Tarzan
BLU-RAY disk
11.01.2016 By: Jason Adams
The Legend of Tarzan order download
Director:
David Yates

Actors:
Alexander Skarsgard
Margot Robbie
Samuel L. Jackson

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Eight years after leaving, a domesticated Tarzan must return to the jungle with his beloved Jane to face his past and stop Africa from falling into slavery.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?

I don’t know if audiences or studios were really clamoring for a new TARZAN (especially after the memorable failure of Edgar Rice Burrough’s other famous hero JOHN CARTER), but HARRY POTTER director David Yates still manages to deliver a decent old-fashioned adventure movie.

The one smart thing THE LEGEND OF TARZAN does, especially in this era of origin stories and reboots, is not rehash the same ol’ Tarzan story or turn the film into a prequel explaining how Tarzan got his first loincloth or learned to swing on vines. Starting a decade after the title character first left the jungle with Jane, the movie picks up with a more civilized Tarzan being called back to adventure. It’s a solid premise that isn’t ashamed of the pulpy nature of the source material, but also puts it in a context for modern audiences.

In fact, Yates’ film so desperately wants to be modern and politically correct, but the script can't fully support it. Margot Robbie’s Jane is a self-assured, empowered female that keeps telling everyone that she’s not a damsel in distress. However, she spends pretty much the entire movie being held hostage and waiting around for her beloved Tarzan to come rescue her. The film also does a great job treating the native African characters with respect (something not always done in the earlier films). But then you have Samuel L. Jackson coming in as the comic relief and asking Tarzan like “Do you want me to lick his nuts?”

With the requisite studio-mandated physique (i.e. eight-pack abs), Alexander Skarsgard makes a solid King of the Jungle. He gets a chance to play both the more civilized side of John Clayton and the ferocity of Tarzan, and does fine at both. He could be a formidable action star; however, the action in TARZAN is disappointing. Some of the more exciting jungle scenes are fun, but everything is obviously all greenscreen. The fight scenes are also surprisingly sloppy, considering Yates handled it pretty well in the Harry Potter movies. And Tarzan's CGI ape family are just not convincing, especially compared to the new PLANET OF THE APES series. The film starts off surprisingly strong, with character-centered first and second acts, but disappointingly get bogged down in to a rather silly CGI-laden finale that sees Tarzan, lions, alligators, gorillas and wildebeests all working together to take down the bad guy. Had they stuck the landing better, this could've been a fairly effective franchise-starter.

THE EXTRAS

The Blu Ray comes with a DVD and Digital Copy, as well as a handful of decent bonus material. (More than I was expecting.)

Tarzan Reborn (15:10): This mildly informative offering features cast and crew sharing their history (or lack thereof) with the character prior to filming and how they wanted to reinvent him for the 21st century. You also get a little of the crazy preparation Alexander Skarsgard had to go through to get ready for the role.

Battles and Bare-Knuckle Brawls (15:05): Take a closer look at three of the film's major set pieces, including the stampede, the train fight sequence, and Tarzan's one on one fight with his ape brother. A good variety that shows the various elements (stunts, practical effects, and CGI) that went in to the final product.

Tarzan and Jane's Unfailing Love (6:01): Margot Robbie, Skarsgard and director David Yates cover the romantic angle of the film. Standard stuff.

Creating the Virtual Jungle (15:15): An interesting look at the film's effects work, both practical and CGI, and how the film used both soundstages and on-location photography to pull everything off. If you like VFX stuff, this is worth a watch.

Gabon to the Screen (2:28): This very brief featurette mentions Africa and conservation, but is mainly an excuse to further plug the film.

Stop Ivory (1:30): Skarsgard and Robbie give a brief, self-explanatory PSA on saving elephants.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS

While THE LEGEND OF TARZAN was overall better than expected, the strong opening act unfortunately devolves in to standard CGI blockbuster territory by the end. If you're in the mood for mindless entertainment (or Alexander Skarsgard with his shirt off), catch it on rental or cable.

Extra Tidbit: John Hurt filmed scenes as Jane’s father and was heard in the trailers, but his role was cut completely from the final film.

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+0
11:50AM on 11/01/2016

I think your review isn't quite King of the Jungle

The movie was one of the better films this past year and is vastly underrated - just like John Carter. I was very against Skarsgard in the role but feel he did a rather good job. The movie had some scenes that were a bit much sure, but what film of this genre doesn't?
The movie was one of the better films this past year and is vastly underrated - just like John Carter. I was very against Skarsgard in the role but feel he did a rather good job. The movie had some scenes that were a bit much sure, but what film of this genre doesn't?
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