Earlier in the year we were transported to the Indian jungle thanks to the live action remake of the much loved Disney classic ‘The Jungle Book’ and with fantastic results. So could a trip to the African Congo to hear the story of Tarzan once more plus the live action treatment produce a similar quality to what Mowgli and company achieved just months ago?
So unlike the almost exclusively voice cast that was found in ‘The Jungle Book’, ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ required some physical performances from its cast. Tarzan is played by Alexander Skarsgård probably best know for his role in the TV series ‘True Blood’. He certainly looks the part and will make you think twice about those cinema snacks you’re digging into as you see how huge he is! When it comes to his acting ability for the most part Skarsgård does well too, for playing a man raised in the jungle he gets away with looking a bit wooden and awkward at times. He had a tendency to gaze into the distance a bit oddly as well but honestly none of this was that off putting and personally I thought that he got the job done just fine. His other half, Jane, is played by the lovely Margot Robbie. She steals the show in terms of Tarzan and Jane as a couple. Her scenes are always entertaining and Robbie makes Jane much more than just a damsel in distress. Alongside our main heroes we find Samuel L. Jackson in a supporting role as George Washington Williams. Jackson is really great here and offers a lot of comic relief which is genuinely funny. It isn’t just humour that he adds though as he is a valuable asset in many of the action scenes too. Finally making up the big named cast is Christoph Waltz who plays the villain of the film, Captain Léon Rom. Everyone knows that Waltz is great playing villainous roles. Things are no different here and I cherished every scene that his character featured in. He’s still a tad underused, much like in ‘Spectre’ last year but and underused Waltz is better than no Waltz at all. Anyway the film benefits greatly from it’s likable cast and they all work very well together.
The trailers and synopsis’ had led us to believe that ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ wouldn’t be an origin story and this is partly the case. As the film begins we start straight into a narrative with already established characters and history. However, as the film progresses we get flashback scenes which enlighten us to the origin of our characters. I really didn’t think that the film needed these, we all know the origin of Tarzan and the film even tells us much of this and then shows us it. The description of what happened would have been enough as I thought it damaged the pace slightly, thankfully these origin scenes only make up about a quarter of the film. Apart from this the pace was so good thanks to the brilliant action. The film really took advantage of it’s exciting setting of Africa. The action incorporated as many different locations, animals and sequences as possible meaning that you will never be bored. The action can be quite violent at times and the content of some scenes might be a little much for younger audience members, but I loved this. The finale almost comes out of nowhere and then goes a hundred miles an hour, it’s also a little convenient in parts. Flaws aside there is no denying that it was an exciting sequence. On a final note the film also looks wonderful, from the scenery to the old fashioned boats and some elements of the costume design I found a lot to appreciate here.
So whilst early reviews indicated that ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ was a poor retelling of a classic characters story I beg to differ. The film is an exciting adventure movie with plenty to praise. The action and humour blend well together and the surroundings always look convincing. Above all I think the core cast for this live action tale of Tarzan are just so watchable meaning that any weakness that the film has, and it does have some, can be set aside. ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ isn’t quite legendary but it’s very entertaining and definitely worth a watch.
Rating – 8/10
Question: Which live action film did you prefer, ‘The Jungle Book’ or ‘The Legend of Tarzan’?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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