The Legend of Tarzan Review

Genre: Action
Year: 2016
Rating: M
Run Time: 110 minutes
Main Cast: Alexander Skarsgård
Samuel L. Jackson
Margot Robbie
Djimon Hounsou
Christoph Waltz
Main Production Company: Village Roadshow Pictures
Written by:Adam Cozad
Craig Brewer
Directed by: David Yates (Expelliarmus!)

legend-tarzan-2016-poster
I did not mind The Legend of Tarzan as a story (even though it was very predictable). The movie as a whole did not give me any massive headaches or migraines. That being said after seeing The Legend of Tarzan I wondered what the point was for this remake as it added nothing new to Tarzan the character.

Captain Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) is a man who wants to fund his army in the Congo. The only way he can do that is entering the diamonds trade. Rom can only obtain diamonds through chief Mbonga (Djimon Hounsou). Mbonga will give Rom the diamonds if he brings his worst enemy Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård)

My overall criticism of this movie is that it’s an unnecessary remake as it offers nothing new and sticks to the conventional formula. I honestly don’t know what the point is. If you have seen the original, you have seen this movie. The only difference is that there’s more violence and it’s in CGI instead of watercolor and that’s it. The story is the same, the characters are the same and the setup is the same. If people decide to play it safe, critics are going to give you an average mark. That is what I am going to do. Despite this, The legend of Tarzan has some positives.

I liked Christoph Waltz playing the bad guy. He is always a good actor even in crappy movies. The only cross that he has to bear is the crucifix he carries around that is used as a hangman’s noose in a blatant use of symbolic irony. The overdone symbolism reminded me of the constant usage of American flags in Transformers: Age of Extinction. They show Waltz holding the crucifix about ten times. That is nine times too many. Nevertheless, he put on a committed performance and sometimes he had to turn chicken shit into chicken salad and that was admirable from him. Other times he got chicken salad and made it into chicken gold. Every time he is offscreen you want him back on the screen.

The funny thing about the dialogue is it’s uneven in a weird way, that is some scenes it’s good and others it’s bad. I said to my mum “They must have had two writers” and I was right! (Cozad and Brewer) My guess was both writers read the outline and wrote separate scenes and just stuck it together without reading over each other’s work. It would explain the inconsistencies in the writing process. There were scenes where the dialogue seemed realistic and fluent and there were other scenes where it was just hokey. It got to the point where I could identify what person A wrote and what person B wrote. That is why I said early that Christoph Waltz either had chicken salad or chicken shit. Because he is a master at delivering dialogue even if on paper it’s terrible.

Alexander Skarsgård (or Mr. Abs) plays Tarzan. I am just going to call Skarsgård Mr. Abs because he was bland in his performance and the most interesting thing (especially for girls) is his abs. I call it like I see it. He does hug a lioness like Neel Sethi hugged a wolf in The Jungle Book. That scene was cute. Besides that (and when he is fighting) Skarsgård plays his character in an uninteresting way. Everyone around him outshines him, especially Samuel L Jackson who only says one word and he steals a scene (That word is “shit” and I am not joking. If you see the movie you know what I’m talking about). Mr. Abs is a cookie cutter cardboard cutout. Every now and then Mr. Abs tries but always loses to Marget Robbie, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, a random tribesman or a gorilla. I would feel sorry for Mr. Abs, but considering he has Abs, I don’t.

Overall, Tarzan just sticks to formula and is not brave enough to try anything new. Yes, the actors except for Mr. Abs are good. Yes, half of the writing is good. Even some of the cinematography was better than expected. But this feels like more of the same. More of the same is bad enough already but when that happens to a remake it further questions it’s existence. At least when it came to sticking to the formula, they did not mess up badly at all and at some points it was good. It could have been way worse than it was. Overall, the movie is ok to watch, but I don’t see much justification for its existence **1/2

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