The Legend of Tarzan started out as a serious movie with its intriguing opening and its reference to the diamonds of Opar. You see Opar is a lost city in the original Tarzan tales and the source of much of Tarzan's wealth- it's an ancient Atlantean outpost and shows up several times in the twenty-plus Tarzan novels that Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote. So when I saw Opar referenced right at the beginning I thought- finally they're making a serious Tarzan movie. Unfortunately as the movie wore on I lost some of my enthusiasm for it- this could have been a phenomenal movie and maybe the best Tarzan movie ever, but instead as a whole I found it mediocre to good.
The plot is a little weak and involves King Leopold of Belgium endeavoring to enslave the Belgian Congo in the 1890's. His man in the Congo is Leon Rom and he's played well by Christoph Waltz- he's cunning and nasty but not over the top. So they got the villain right, mostly. Rom makes a deal to deliver Tarzan to his mortal enemy in exchange for the diamonds of Opar, which he will use to further Leopold's goals in the Congo. On the one hand I had high hopes for the story in the beginning- I liked the political element, as Burroughs often played with similar storylines. So it seemed authentic. As it wore on it seemed to get lazy and felt like a million other weak Hollywood plots out there- this is a movie that is better in the beginning than the end.
Also we get flashbacks (done well) that show us the origin of Tarzan, but this is not an origin story per se. We first see Lord John Clayton (aka Tarzan) in London in his role as Earl of Greystoke, and this is also like the books. He's married to Jane and they've lost a child (miscarriage apparently) but are very much in love. And let me just say at the outset that Jane, played by Margot Robbie, is awesome in this movie. Totally badass and maybe the best part of the film.
Tarzan is invited by the Belgian government to visit Congo and he accepts after being urged to go by an American named George Washington Williams, played by Samuel L. Jackson. His character is an envoy of the US government and wants to chronicle the reported misdeeds of Leopold in the Congo. So Tarzan and Williams go and Jane accompanies them- she was raised there as Tarzan was- and of course everything takes off from there.
In many ways this seemed like a Burroughs story with the fast pace and somewhat eyebrow raising plot developments. Like I said it feels like a serious movie in the beginning but deteriorates by the end. The cast is good and Jane is no damsel as I mentioned earlier. Many of the jungle scenes and animals are clearly CGI but the film looks good. There are some hokey moments and after a terrific start I thought Tarzan a bit one dimensional as it went on- but it felt like a Burroughs story in many ways and that's the highest praise I can give it.
Great review! I agree with many of the things you said, and also respectfully disagree, especially when it comes to Jane's character :) I reviewed this a while back, too. You can find my review hereReplyDelete
Thanks! I went over and read your review and I see where you're coming from. I thought Jane was great especially on the boat and earlier when she seemed to have agency and didn't take any guff, but you're right- upon reflection she did become very helpless at the end which was frustrating. So I see your point. :)Delete
And while I didn't think they did a bad job with the flashbacks I can see where they may have not been for everyone. I also thought the (this is a spoiler s maybe I shouldn't) stampede at the end was very disappointing and I just had given up by then lol.
I was so looking forward to this film and I enjoyed it but it's not something I'd watch twice, I loved how good the movie looked and the cast was excellent but it needed more Tarzaz, you know? Great review!ReplyDelete
Same. No desire to see it again. And Tarzaz- i like that! It definitely needed more Tarzaz!!Delete
I haven't read any of the books but I really did not love this film...I do agree that Jane's character was pretty awesome though!ReplyDelete
I liked Jane. She seemed tough and I was hoping she would kill Watz' character. But yeah on balance pretty disappointing. :)Delete
I actually liked the movie a lot and you are right, I found Jane much more than a damsel in distress. I really liked the interaction between the characters - felt it was one of the best parts. Great review.ReplyDelete
I liked it a lot at first, and thought it was starting off awesome. I loved the relationship he and Jane had with the tribe, I thought that was nice. It slipped later on though. I did like Jane.Delete
I really like that Jane is more badass than helpless and in many ways it sounds like a lot of fun. I love when the movie still has the same feel of the book even though there are changes! I'm not sure this is a movie I need to run out and hunt down but it's definitely one I'd watch if it came on HBO.ReplyDelete
She is tough in this movie! She takes no crap and was afraid of no one. A good depiction I thought. And I tend to view through the lens of the book (s) which isn't really necessary but I can't help it. :) I wouldn't rush out to get it, no, but if it's on yeah it's worth a look.Delete
This is a film I'd sort of ignored as a whole. I mean, my main interest in watching was Alexander Skarsgard and I feel like that is not a sound basis for wanting to watch something l Hearing that Jane is actually quite a badass character though definitely makes me think I should give it a chance. I think since my only knowledge of Tarzan is from the Disney film I'll probably be quite impressed with this one. Also, it does sound fun if nothing else.ReplyDelete
He was good in this. :) Jane was the best part of the movie, I thought. It's fun in a mindless way if you aren't expecting too much. I never saw the Disney version of Tarzan so I don't know but I thought this was somewhat faithful to the source material, but did its own thing too.Delete
I'm glad that Jane wasn't a damsel in this one; sounds like one thing they really got right. Sorry you lost your enthusiasm for this one as it went on though.ReplyDelete
She's not a damsel- I mean she doesn't do a LOT at the end so maybe she is a little bit there, but I'm thinking throughout the movie she doesn't take any crap But this definitely starts off better than it ends- I thought?Delete
I love the actors and the movie was pretty good. I liked it, but I will admit it wasn't as good as I was hoping. Great review!ReplyDelete
SAme here. Loved Jane, Tarzan wasn't bad... it was decent. :)Delete
Hmm, I wanted to see this. I probably will still give it a try. Your review makes it drop a little on the list below some other movies that I'll probably watch first though. Great review!ReplyDelete
It's worth a look if you want to- it's not great but it's not the worst either.Delete
Ok, so... *cringes* I didn't know Tarzan was ever a series of novels? Is that bad? Lol. I think I just kinda never thought about it. But anyway, I can see why you were disappointed if you thought it would be more like those novels and more serious and then it wasn't. I might still watch it if I ever get the chance though (not that I watch many movies at all, but whatever lol).ReplyDelete
Ha ha yes there were a ton of books but they're pretty old, I don't think a lot of people know about them? I've only read a few. But yeah if you ever get a chance it's not bad- it's just not that great either. :PDelete
I thought Tarzan was so miscast and I so wanted to like this because everything else worked. But him.ReplyDelete
You know I thought he was okay but as the movie wore on her never really developed? He was so one note.Delete
I think my issue with films is that we keep getting new versions of things we've seen countless times-Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Robin Hood, Tarzan, Three Musketeers and so on. I can never find the enthusiasm to watch them so Tarzan is not really on my want to see list!ReplyDelete
True. Where's the new stuff? they keep going back to the well and frankly you're mot missing anything w/ this one.Delete
I'm motivated now to read the Burroughs version of Tarzan. I'd be very curious to see where everyone else got the story wrong!! Great review!ReplyDelete
Thanks, the books are pretty old and there are some good ones but some duds too. I think the first two are pretty good, 5 is good and the 14th (I read and reviewed it a bit ago). They're hit or miss. :)Delete
It doesn't surprise me at all that Margot Robbie was a standout among the cast - she's definitely got "it", whatever it may be. I think she's a really talented actress! I may have to pass on watching this movie though, since the whole Tarzan story is one that often makes me cringe...ReplyDelete
This was my first time seeing her and I was impressed. I thought she killed it as Jane! She was tough and unafraid and I found her WAY more interesting than Tarzan lol.Delete
I enjoyed this one and loved the flashbacks and of course the chemistry between Jane and Tarzan. You're right that the plot does fizzle by the end. Great cinematography too.ReplyDelete
Yeah they had chemistry, and it was shot beautifully. It did lack a bit towards the end... :)Delete
Glad you enjoyed this, for the most part. I thought it was wonderful, probably because I went into it expecting a "sillier" drama that I couldn't take seriously because of the whole raised-by-ape plot. :)ReplyDelete
GREAT review^^ I was curious about this movie but it's a shame it started out so strong only to fizzle until the end. I'm still tempted to watch this though for Robbie and Jackson...we'll see!ReplyDelete