Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Legend of Tarzan

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  It's not even the Disney version but somehow this one puts Phil Collins' "You'll Be In My Heart" in my head.

The Legend of Tarzan – 3 out of 5

My familiarity of the character Tarzan is very limited.  I know the basic origin of the guy, know that his old books were fairly popular and even had one that involved an adventure in my home state of Wisconsin, and I know I enjoy the Disney animated version quite a bit.  Besides that, I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of the property.  However, The Legend of Tarzan looked pretty cool from the trailers so I definitely decided to give this one a go.

How badly do you think Tarzan stunk when Jane fell
in love with him?

Deep in the heart of the Congo, a tribal leader (Djimon Hounsou) strikes a deal with the envoy of the King of Belgium; Léon Rom (Christoph Waltz).  He will provide the king with diamonds a-plenty if he lures his old enemy Tarzan to the jungles.  In London, Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) has settled into a life of normalcy as John Clayton III with his wife Jane Clayton (Margot Robbie).  However, after an American by the name of George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson) reveals that the Belgians are taking the populations of the Congo as slaves, Clayton decides to return to the wilds.  Soon, Rom gets his plan into action that will lure Clayton into a trap and he takes Jane hostage.  Now Clayton must toss off the cloak of civil society that he adopted and return to being the man of legend—to once again be Tarzan!

"Time to get Tarzan on some candy-asses!"

There’s actually quite a bit working in The Legend of Tarzan’s favor and very little holding it back.  First off, this movie has some tremendous visuals.  The jungles and plains are presented wonderfully and look gorgeous.  Additionally, the lighting and filters used for the flashbacks sequences look amazing.  The film also offers up some fantastic sound and music and they really work in concert to create atmosphere and compliment the action and scenes taking place.

Nature in all of its beauty and potential for development!

He's so good at playing a villain.
The cast in this film is also terrific and everyone really feels like the perfect choice for their roles.  Waltz is captivating to watch (when is not, really?), Margot is very entertaining as Jane, Sam Jackson is always his cool self (seriously, it’s unnatural how cool this guy is), and Skarsgård really captured the spirit of the iconic character of Tarzan and does it with is infuriatingly perfect body.  There’s even some really fun chemistry in the camaraderie between Jackson and Skarsgård that really made for some fun and lighthearted moments in a film that, for the most part, feels very heavy in tone.

I really wish I had the motivation to get that type of body.

The only downsides I found for the film come in the form of the special effects and the story’s pace.  The effects aren’t terrible but rather a mixed bag of quality.  There are times, like when Tarzan is swinging around or some of the computer generated animals, where everything looks very good but there were times early in the film where there’s a flashback and some of the gorillas looked sketchy.  The bad special effects are rare but definitely noticeable.  Finally, the film did have some issues for me with how its plot flowed.  I loved how the film’s story worked in Tarzan’s origin in small moments as the plot progressed rather than just start the film with his backstory but sometimes this slowed down the momentum.  The movie definitely had some issues with the pace ebbing and flowing as it goes back and forth from running smoothly to moving fairly slowly.

There shall be no Harambe jokes here.  If 2017 gives us one thing, let it
be the death of that joke.

The Legend of Tarzan isn’t perfect but it’s still a very ambitious and compelling adaptation of the iconic character and property.  The film might suffer from some pacing problems but it is still filled with some decent (and shockingly dark) action and the movie actually gets more exciting as it builds and really delivers in its third act.

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