And His Jungle Band – The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

This movie is just kind of there.  We all know the story of Tarzan: he is a man who was raised by apes in the jungle who eventually gets discovered by civilization.  Here’s another rendition of that golden oldie story.  To come to this movie’s defense, I don’t think this is nearly as bad as the rap it has received.  A rating of 36% on rottentomatoes is not something that any film wants, but if you look a little bit deeper, you will see that the average rating score is 5.1 out of 10.  That’s really what this movie is: there are moments where you will perk up and enjoy yourself, and there are also moments where you will tune out and start to daydream.  It’s not all bad, but it is a mixed bag at best.

2The story itself is already starting to fade from my brain.

Now this kind of starts off on the wrong foot in having Samuel L. Jackson looking at this white, white man and calling him Africa’s favorite son, but it’s whatever, and I got past it.  The thing that frustrates me most about this movie is that it has the potential to be cool, and they could have made it happen with only marginal changes.  I’m not saying that they needed to go back and make an origin story with this, but it sure would have given it a better sense of pathos, because the story they tell here is lacking.  I pose to you a simple question: what do you want out of a Tarzan movie?  You want to see jungle action scenes with him flying from vine to vine, obviously.  While that is here, it makes up such a small part of this movie.  You get more civilized Tarzan than anything, and there is a small amount of flashbacks of him as a child being raised by apes.  You never get to see him become this cool jungle badass, and more often than not you get to see him talk it out rather than get physical, and when it does come to a fight, he almost always loses in knockout fashion.  I don’t even think Alexander Skarsgård is bad for the part; he clearly got ripped for this, and it seems like such a waste with the lack of action that takes place in this.

1Tell me I’m wrong.

In addition to that, you have Christoph Waltz doing the same thing he does in almost every movie he shows up in, only this time he has a bracelet/necklace that he uses to strangles people with.  They also don’t give Margot Robbie much to do other than to be a damsel in distress.  I don’t mind any of these actors for the parts, but it’s a lack of interesting core ideas which is this movie’s biggest shortcoming.  The script is this movie’s undoing, and it never rises above being just watchable.  The effects look okay, but like I said, it’s just a whole lot of talking more than action.  I would much rather see the cool stuff that everybody’s chatting about, but hey, I didn’t direct this.

The Legend of Tarzan (2016) **1/2

– Critic for Hire

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