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Review: The Legend of Tarzan

The Legend of Tarzan
06.30.2016
6 10
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PLOT: In the late 19th century, the now civilized Lord Greystroke, aka Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) returns to the jungle with Jane (Margot Robbie) in-tow to investigate rumors that the Belgian government is engaging in the slave trade.

REVIEW: I’ve long been a fan of Tarzan, the Ape man. While there hasn’t been a decent (live-action) Tarzan film in about thirty years, there was never a doubt in my mind that Edgar Rice Burroughs’s vine-swinging hero would return to the silver screen in a big way at some point. Sure enough, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN is a massive, tent-pole, wannabe franchise starter for Warner Bros, big enough that they’ve pumped a reported $180 million into it, and hired HARRY POTTER's David Yates to direct.

legend of tarzan margot robbie alexander skarsgard

While the early buzz hasn’t been great, this TARZAN update is a completely respectable, politically correct, 21st century incarnation of the hero. While neither as high-brow as Hugh Hudson’s GREYSTROKE: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN or as silly as the MGM Johnny Weissmuller programmers from the thirties and forties (which, I’ll admit, I have a huge weakness for), it remains to be seen whether audiences will embrace the loincloth-wearing hero in this period adventure.

In the lead role, Alexander Skarsgard is ideally cast. The fact that the tall, Nordic-looking Skarsgard doesn’t seem particularly British works in the movie’s favor, with it being intentional that the impossibly imposing ape-man stand-out among his 19th century English peers like a fish-out-of-water. Playing the part with a twinkle in his eye as he tries to affect the bearings of an aristocrat early on (to the point that he extends his pinkie while sipping tea), Skarsgard makes the most of his attempt at big screen immortality. Always a big guy, his physical metamorphosis is astonishing, with his peculiarly muscled Tarzan standing-out even in an era when all big male movie stars have a six-pack (he sports more of an eight-pack).

Margot Robbie comes-off just as well as the liberated, modern Jane, with the idea being that she was raised in Africa herself, giving her as much of a tie to the region as her husband. While mostly set a decade after they resettled-in England, Yates frequently flashes back to their original encounters as teenagers, while some movie-magic used to make Skarsgard look young, while Robbie doesn’t need anything at all.

Given how good both of them are, it’s a shame THE LEGEND OF TARZAN only amounts to a moderately good, respectable film, as with a few tweaks it could have been really solid and a serious franchise-starter. For one thing, Christoph Waltz is quickly descending into self parody, with his Belgian baddie being another in a long-line of villains he’s played and just as familiar as his recent, disappointing turn in SPECTRE. Can’t Hollywood find him more interesting parts? I’m also not sure that Samuel L. Jackson’s sidekick was wholly necessary. While always cool, some of his lines can’t help but be cliché, especially when he opens up to Tarzan about dark past as a gun-for-hire.

legend of tarzan samuel l jackson alexander skarsgard

Despite the huge budget, the CG for Tarzan’s primate friends seems surprisingly primitive, especially compared to the recent PLANET OF THE APES movies or THE JUNGLE BOOK. Yates also doesn’t seem at home directing the harder-edged action scenes, such as when Tarzan fights a train-load of soldiers hand-to-hand. This is a far cry from HARRY POTTER, and perhaps more of a specialist with physical action rather than fantasy would have been better at the helm. The soundtrack also comes up short. A really good score could have really bumped this up a couple of notches. While Rupert Gregson-Williams’s contribution is fine, it’s also very typical for Hans Zimmer’s ‘Remote Control” team, and it sounds like a temp track brought to life rather than possess a real identity of its own. If this had been made twenty years ago, a guy like Jerry Goldsmith could have helped turn this into a really fun film.

In the end, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN is a serviceable, entertaining update of Burroughs’s hero, and far better than the early buzz suggests. While the commercial prospects seem a tad dire, should the series go on there’s some real potential here for a fun series of adventure-programmers, with Skarsgard and Robbie perfectly cast in their iconic parts. Hopefully they both get to re-use their loincloths.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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7:45PM on 07/08/2016
Not perfect, but I liked it. Waaaaaaay better than ID42R or whatever they're calling it. Bit slow to start, and there's definitely a few dodgy bits (those are some mighty long vines to swing around a moving train and then land on it). Jackson does his usual schtick, Sars Guard was decent, I could watch Margot Robbie read the entire phone book and pay to see it in IMAX 3D, and I think Waltz has nailed the "bad guy that doesn't look imposing but really is" bit, so why not cash in on it? Perfectly
Not perfect, but I liked it. Waaaaaaay better than ID42R or whatever they're calling it. Bit slow to start, and there's definitely a few dodgy bits (those are some mighty long vines to swing around a moving train and then land on it). Jackson does his usual schtick, Sars Guard was decent, I could watch Margot Robbie read the entire phone book and pay to see it in IMAX 3D, and I think Waltz has nailed the "bad guy that doesn't look imposing but really is" bit, so why not cash in on it? Perfectly serviceable summer fare.
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7:17AM on 07/08/2016

meh

this film did not do anything for me. christopher lambert is still the essential tarzan. i mean c'mon you remember those brooding savage eyes? alexander skaarsgard looked like a stoney-faced greek god in a jungle. i liked how he got his ass kicked by his ape brother, though. makes him less invincible. and those flashbacks oh wow it stunned me with its boringness. nothing new there. jane's still the same damsel in distress. oh you escaped? oh, got captured again.
this film did not do anything for me. christopher lambert is still the essential tarzan. i mean c'mon you remember those brooding savage eyes? alexander skaarsgard looked like a stoney-faced greek god in a jungle. i liked how he got his ass kicked by his ape brother, though. makes him less invincible. and those flashbacks oh wow it stunned me with its boringness. nothing new there. jane's still the same damsel in distress. oh you escaped? oh, got captured again.
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1:33PM on 07/04/2016

10/10

Saw it on Imax and absolutely loved it. It gave me the pulpy adventure film that I desired. Best film I've watched this year. I give it a 10/10.
Saw it on Imax and absolutely loved it. It gave me the pulpy adventure film that I desired. Best film I've watched this year. I give it a 10/10.
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10:59PM on 07/02/2016
I'd give this movie 8/10. It's surprisingly good and entertaining. Everybody in this movie is great.
I'd give this movie 8/10. It's surprisingly good and entertaining. Everybody in this movie is great.
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4:52PM on 07/02/2016

Pretty Entertaining

Fairly correct review but wonder how the younger generation receives the movie given the leads and no idea on the previous movies. The only thing that started to me bother is the rushed action scenes and jump in the travel time(not the flashbacks). Waltz seemed bored as hell but serviceable as a villain and much better than how he completely underplayed the last few scenes in Spectre.
Fairly correct review but wonder how the younger generation receives the movie given the leads and no idea on the previous movies. The only thing that started to me bother is the rushed action scenes and jump in the travel time(not the flashbacks). Waltz seemed bored as hell but serviceable as a villain and much better than how he completely underplayed the last few scenes in Spectre.
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+3
12:46AM on 07/02/2016

6 out of 10?

You had it rated as a 7 yesterday on this page. This was a solid film, best Tarzan movie yet and easily closest to the novels. Was it perfect? No, but honestly this is better than most of the movies I have seen in the theater this year. Go see this film! A sequel would be awesome, well done WB.
You had it rated as a 7 yesterday on this page. This was a solid film, best Tarzan movie yet and easily closest to the novels. Was it perfect? No, but honestly this is better than most of the movies I have seen in the theater this year. Go see this film! A sequel would be awesome, well done WB.
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11:48PM on 07/01/2016
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Skarsgard Nordic ethnicity originally gave me pause as well, but there had been cross pollination between the British Isles and Norway so it wasn't a show stopper for me, and like the reviewer I think it ultimately worked in his favor. I haven't seen a period piece like this on the big screen in a while so I was impressed with the detail in the mis-en-scene. While I wouldn't go so far to say that the CG was bad, I would say that some of it did seem
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Skarsgard Nordic ethnicity originally gave me pause as well, but there had been cross pollination between the British Isles and Norway so it wasn't a show stopper for me, and like the reviewer I think it ultimately worked in his favor. I haven't seen a period piece like this on the big screen in a while so I was impressed with the detail in the mis-en-scene. While I wouldn't go so far to say that the CG was bad, I would say that some of it did seem unfinished, as though the producers pushed it forward and didn't allow time for some shots to be polished. I don't really see where the perception of political correctness comes in though. Yes Jane is liberated, but at the same time she wasn't portrayed as a preposterous feminist caricature that could engage in fisticuffs with a dozen henchmen twice her size without batting an eyelash. Samuel Jackson's character was a sidekick to be sure, but no bumbling or stupid. I liked the way they juxtaposed Tarzan's life as an aristocrat with his life in the jungle with the apes. I'd be interested to know how close this iteration was to the Burroughs novels, or which film iteration out there might be the closest if not this one. Overall, worth the price of a matinee admission.
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+1
3:47PM on 07/01/2016
Skarsgard seems to be a very likable dude. For that reason, and that I like the other actors involved, I wouldn't like to see this movie fail in the box office.
Skarsgard seems to be a very likable dude. For that reason, and that I like the other actors involved, I wouldn't like to see this movie fail in the box office.
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+0
7:46PM on 06/30/2016
Could be decent, but it's going to bomb. The marketing has been minimal, the reviews are poor, and the trailer does little to leave an impression. Did they really pump over $100 mil. into this? Why wouldn't the advertise the shit out of this movie then? The whole campaign for it has come across like a second rate action adventure that seems to belong more at the tail end of summer than the beginning.
Could be decent, but it's going to bomb. The marketing has been minimal, the reviews are poor, and the trailer does little to leave an impression. Did they really pump over $100 mil. into this? Why wouldn't the advertise the shit out of this movie then? The whole campaign for it has come across like a second rate action adventure that seems to belong more at the tail end of summer than the beginning.
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3:12PM on 07/01/2016
They have been bombarding tv stations in my city with non-stop ads for it. Must be a region decision. Unfortunately, the only trailer I saw that sparked my interest was the very first teaser they released. After that, the others have turned me off of it.
They have been bombarding tv stations in my city with non-stop ads for it. Must be a region decision. Unfortunately, the only trailer I saw that sparked my interest was the very first teaser they released. After that, the others have turned me off of it.
5:22PM on 06/30/2016
OY VEY ANOTHER CHRIS CUCKRAY MOVIE REVIEW WITH THE POLITICALLY CORRECT CRITERIA MET PRAISE GOYIM

god forbid anything not currently in line with SJW values
OY VEY ANOTHER CHRIS CUCKRAY MOVIE REVIEW WITH THE POLITICALLY CORRECT CRITERIA MET PRAISE GOYIM

god forbid anything not currently in line with SJW values
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3:23PM on 06/30/2016
Was Sam Jackson CGI'd in? How does he continue to be in everything?
Was Sam Jackson CGI'd in? How does he continue to be in everything?
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1:38PM on 06/30/2016

Mediocre Squish bait...

This isn't a movie made for people who like movies. It's a movie made to get money from teenage girls to buy tickets to see half naked Tarzan running around. The man speaks perfect english... I mean wtf is wrong with Hollywood? They didn't even try on this one. Horrible looking CGI and a half assed Tarzan??
This isn't a movie made for people who like movies. It's a movie made to get money from teenage girls to buy tickets to see half naked Tarzan running around. The man speaks perfect english... I mean wtf is wrong with Hollywood? They didn't even try on this one. Horrible looking CGI and a half assed Tarzan??
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1:28PM on 07/04/2016
Spoken like someone who watched the trailer but didn't bother to actually see the film before forming an opinion.
Spoken like someone who watched the trailer but didn't bother to actually see the film before forming an opinion.
+0
12:26PM on 06/30/2016
Solid review but I can't bring myself to pay $15 for this. It looks mediocre at the very best and Skarsgard, while he may be talented, always has that stupid expression on his face. And is it just me or does SLJ look like his body was motion captured for this movie, for whatever weird reason? Pass.
Solid review but I can't bring myself to pay $15 for this. It looks mediocre at the very best and Skarsgard, while he may be talented, always has that stupid expression on his face. And is it just me or does SLJ look like his body was motion captured for this movie, for whatever weird reason? Pass.
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10:44AM on 06/30/2016

Where are Tarzans speedos?

This movie is so politically correct that they consider it wrong for him to wear the traditional loincloth? I don't know, to me sexiness was always part of the Tarzan equation, I mean, just look at Bo Derek and her hubby in Tarzan the Apeman. I see "Turkey at the box office" written all over this one, cgi gorillas always spell certain doom, especially when they are badly animated, immediately, flashbacks of Jumanji and Crystal Skull come to mind....I don't know.
This movie is so politically correct that they consider it wrong for him to wear the traditional loincloth? I don't know, to me sexiness was always part of the Tarzan equation, I mean, just look at Bo Derek and her hubby in Tarzan the Apeman. I see "Turkey at the box office" written all over this one, cgi gorillas always spell certain doom, especially when they are badly animated, immediately, flashbacks of Jumanji and Crystal Skull come to mind....I don't know.
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8:07AM on 06/30/2016

A bit arsh

But I mostly agree with this review.
Some green screens are rather weak for such a big movie.
Still the movie is good and fun and beautiful...
And it will bomb for one reason only: it's not a Disney film... Sad but true!
Would it be a Disney flick, I'm sure the film would have made $100M/$150M, just on the brand name. But here, it will go, most probably, the Pan way and make $50M at best.
I hope to be wrong, though.
A solid 7/10 for me !
But I mostly agree with this review.
Some green screens are rather weak for such a big movie.
Still the movie is good and fun and beautiful...
And it will bomb for one reason only: it's not a Disney film... Sad but true!
Would it be a Disney flick, I'm sure the film would have made $100M/$150M, just on the brand name. But here, it will go, most probably, the Pan way and make $50M at best.
I hope to be wrong, though.
A solid 7/10 for me !
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8:17AM on 06/30/2016
Ya because Disney totally saved John Carter and The Lone Ranger.. oh wait.
Ya because Disney totally saved John Carter and The Lone Ranger.. oh wait.
8:40AM on 06/30/2016
I have to agree with you, on this one...
You could have said the second Alice as well, actually !
But, aside from the aforementioned Alice 2, they had SUCH success, lately, with films that would have been probable bombs if not for the House Of Mouse's brand ($200M domestically for Cinderella, anyone ?), that I really think some families go to see a Disney film, instead of 'a' film, THEN, if it's good (Jungle Book for instance), they go see it again.
NB And I think JC and LR SHOULD have been
I have to agree with you, on this one...
You could have said the second Alice as well, actually !
But, aside from the aforementioned Alice 2, they had SUCH success, lately, with films that would have been probable bombs if not for the House Of Mouse's brand ($200M domestically for Cinderella, anyone ?), that I really think some families go to see a Disney film, instead of 'a' film, THEN, if it's good (Jungle Book for instance), they go see it again.
NB And I think JC and LR SHOULD have been hits, I love them both !
1:31PM on 06/30/2016
Ya I hear ya.. John Carter was the shit!! But the whole situation reminds me of that sounth park with Mickey Mouse..
Ya I hear ya.. John Carter was the shit!! But the whole situation reminds me of that sounth park with Mickey Mouse..
1:34AM on 06/30/2016

Are his abs CGI?

I gotta know.
I gotta know.
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5:54AM on 06/30/2016
lol, no.
lol, no.
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