Film Review: The Legend of Tarzan

Given the vast majority of remakes, sequels, prequels and re-imagining of various stories, its easy to just pin it on the movie makers and claim they are losing the ability to make original stories, and ignore all the many original stories that are being released in various formats.

But I've noticed an interesting trend.

Film started early, the first ever feature length film was released in 1906. It was about the Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly.

Since then, the films that have been remade and retold so many times since, Sherlock, Superman, hero films in general (Marvel very much continuing this trend especially) and yes, Tarzan, - topping the list - are stories about characters, who, among other things, are people with amazing and unique gifts, that, more often than not, are used to help others.

Worlds of peoples, a town, states, lands, the victims of crime, etc. A nice, glass half full way to look at it.

So, with that in mind, on with this newest interpretation of the "jungle man" who can talk to animals and whatnot.

I've said in reviews before, that the current trend is for films to have a "gritty reality" feel to them, whether it warrants that feel or not. The "realism" pendulum in Hollywood and to a lesser extent, other centres of film- making, London, does tend to swing violently from one extreme to the other, for various lengths of time - with minor swings within some films itself.

Thankfully, for this film, the "gritty realism" is warranted, and wanted. Director David Yates, most well known for piloting the last four Harry Potter films to a most satisfying conclusion, does his usual magic, pardon the pun, with this film. The trailers showed a lot more than they should, but this still managed to be a great thriller that keeps you on the edge of the seat for the full 105 minutes, but with the essential moments of romance and humour, to keep the story moving.

Story tellers on this one are Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer and to a lesser extent, the editors involved - a large part of keeping the pacing of a great adventure/thriller film at a cracking speed. The film is based on the stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of which published in 1912.

For the iconic character of Tarzan, the role has been rightly given to Alexander Skarsgård, who brings a lot of character and emotion to someone who every word is carefully crafted and every expression says so much more.

He is not the only one, Margot Robbie who portrays Jane, is just as gifted.

Christoph Waltz, Sidney Ralitsoele, Djimon Hounsou, Casper Crump (some may recognise him as Vandal Savage from the recent series Legends of Tomorrow) Samuel L Jackson, Simon Russell Beale and Jim Broadbent make up the rest of the main and supporting cast of this film, all of them bring their A game to it. The mark of someone in a smaller role is making that character memorable, despite the limited scenes. Everyone here puts in their all.

The beautiful score is handled by Rupert Gregson-Williams, brother of Harry. Production design by Stuart Craig and overall look of the film, cinematography by Henry Braham make the worlds that these characters inhabit seem all the more magical. Part of the reason why these stories had such great appeal to audiences since first publication, a little over a hundred years ago now, was that they took us to a mysterious world not many had dared travel to.
A reason that keeps us still going to the cinemas and other outlets to see these stories made about worlds that we have yet to discover for ourselves.

A brilliant film overall and worth watching many times, for the thrills, the excitement and if nothing else, to see Mr Skarsgård topless.


  1. This quote comes from another film that has adventure coming out its every orifice.

    “Jack: Am I dead?
    Elmont: Not just yet.”


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