I’m not a ‘Tarzan’ fanatic. I’ve only seen one ‘Tarzan’ film and that’s Disney’s version of the vine swinging gorilla man – which I loved. But will ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ from Warner Bros. stand on its own or will it swing and miss. Let’s swing through the review and find out.
‘The Legend of Tarzan’ is messy, there’s elements of potential greatness, but then there are elements where I’m like “really, we’re really going there”. My biggest problem is that the film is setup like it’s a sequel, only telling some of these origin moments like him as a baby and how he met Jane through flashbacks – and they are all very briefly. I would have preferred this to be an origin story or having a linear narrative structure to get characterization out of these characters, because the film lacks a lot of human elements to these leading characters. This film is different to the animated film – a movie that my generation remember fondly, so fleshing these characters needed a fresh storytelling approach, because at times I got lost and the film becomes a little convoluted.
The biggest crime is that the relationship between Tarzan and Jane is fine, but I don’t know much about these characters besides that Jane grew up in Africa and Tarzan can make bird calls. That’s it. For the most part, it’s just them kissing and being close, but for a relationship that’s been through years of marriage, the chemistry and writing seems flat. With the animated film (sorry I have to make comparisons) Jane isn’t that interested in Tarzan, however bonds as she studies him and his way of life, while she teaches him about her way of life. These comparisons and differences create this bond and there romance grows and blooms as the film progresses. Here, she sees his abs and she is already in love. I need more than just abs, there needs to be more of a mental connection between the two, like the animated classic.
I’m glad Samuel L. Jackson was in this movie. He made those scenes interesting with his charisma and has some jokes, even though one was a little jarring. Besides Jackson, this film is joyless and at times boring to watch. Once the action starts, then the film becomes interesting. I wanted more Tarzan swinging jungle that fights, than what we got in the film which isn’t much – most of it is actually towards the film’s conclusion sadly.
I was optimistic with ‘The Legend of Tarzan’, but the film is joyless and forgettable. While it has moments of ape action, the film is clogged up by an uneven and sluggish narrative structure.