I hope everyone is having a great summer. 2016 seems to be a huge year for action and adventure films. I saw The Legend of Tarzan and it was very impressive. Let's get started with my review.
Truthfully, this was one of my favorite films of the year. That says a lot because I'm not usually a Tarzan fan. However, this adaptation seemed more unique and interesting compared to its predecessors. The Legend of Tarzan combines the original characters and premise with elements from history. The story takes place in two locations. Part of the film occurs in England and then the majority of it takes place in Congo. The movie specifically takes place during the Victorian period, which I appreciate as a steampunk author. It also includes historical figures, such as the Belgian colonialist Leon Rom and the American frontiersman George Washington Williams. The film includes a lot of themes that were problematic during the 19th century, such as slave trading, resource smuggling, animal poaching, and overzealous colonialism.
In many ways, this version of Tarzan is more realistic than what many viewers would expect. It has a serious plot and believe me, that's a good thing. The realistic elements make the film and characters seem believable. Alexander Skarsgard was an excellent choice for the titular role. He brings a special element to Tarzan and has a very long body that looks great during those sequences of tree swinging. Margot Robbie played Jane as both classy and spunky. The two of them portrayed Jane and Tarzan as an honest and compassionate couple who stand together during difficult times. I also appreciated Samuel L. Jackson as George Washington Williams because he brought some humor and elements of the Wild West to this movie. There's a big variety of animals in this film, including gorillas, lions, wildebeests, elephants, crocodiles, etc. The viewer sees the unique relationship that Tarzan has with all of these animals. Cultural conflicts are another problem that are addressed in this movie. It's more of a grown up Tarzan tale that has a lot of substance. The plot takes its time and has a big emphasis on drama, but the movie doesn't drag at all. Don't worry. There's plenty of action and excitement as well. Steampunk fans, you might actually like this movie. It's not a steampunk film, but the story takes place during the 19th century with plenty of elements from Victorianism and colonialism.
I can't think of many negative elements from The Legend of Tarzan. Maybe some people will be critical about the visual effects. Most of the animals are CGI and they might come across as fake or cheesy to some viewers. This movie actually has a storyline, so people will be disappointed if they wanted it to be a wild action film from beginning to end. Fans of soap operas and romance films will also be disappointed because Jane and Tarzan have a pretty stable relationship. It might not be dramatic enough for those types of viewers. Most importantly, it's not a great film for young kids. Even though it has adventure and animals, many of the themes are dark and with an adult subject matter. So, pay attention to the PG-13 rating.
Overall, The Legend of Tarzan was a pleasant surprise. I highly recommend it. Leave a comment if you have anything to say and enjoy your night at the movies!