There’s a moment in David Yates’ excellent and emotionally resonant Legend of Tarzan when George Washington Williams’, played by Samuel L. Jackson, goads civilized Tarzan, played by Alexander Skarsgard, just a little too much. Alexander Skarsgard’s Tarzan erupts instantly and spectacularly with a combination of physical force and gut-chilling animal sounds and pins the American to a wall, then growls out the words: “They have my wife, and their families.” In this single small moment, Yates and Skarsgard put on display Tarzan’s utter commitment to the woman he loves while at the same time same evoking the internal contradiction of a man who in adulthood could pass among society as a aristocratic Englishman, but whose feral upbringing has left him with a volatile beast within that can overwhelm the civilized trappings in an instant. Unlike the filmmakers who have come before him, Yates effectively captures this duality – and in so doing delivers a film that is fresh and appealing to modern sensibilities, yet is faithful to the character of the books in ways that Hollywood has never attempted before. The result is pure pulp poetry with a beating heart. Edgar Rice Burroughs would approve of it, and 21st century audiences will, if they can be lured into theaters to see it, be intrigued and satisfied by it.
Legend of Tarzan begins eight years after Tarzan and Jane (a luminous and effective Margot Robbie) have left Africa to undertake a gentrified life in London, where Tarzan has claimed his birthright of John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke. He is drawn back to Africa at the behest of George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson), a black American journalist who is based on the historical figure who led the exposure of the crimes of King Leopold II of Belgium. Williams recruits him to assist in Williams’ quest to investigate the suspected crimes of King Leopold. Accompanied by Jane, the two men return to Africa where Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) has laid a trap for Tarzan that, if successful, will result in Rom delivering Tarzan to Chief Mbonga (Djimon Hounsou), who seeks to deliver vengeance to Tarzan for killing Mbonga’s son many years earlier. Mayhem and adventure ensues.
When Edgar Rice Burroughs was firing on all cylinders, his pulpy, emotionally infused adventure novels were able to strike a mythic vein that caused him to become the J.K. Rowlings of his day – the first global superstar pop culture author, translated into 57 languages, his books and characters embedded in cultures from Russia to Turkey and Japan. At the time of his death in 1950 he was the best known author on the planet with his works selling more than the combined sales of his contemporaries Hemingway, Faulkner, and Joyce. Hollywood tried more than fifty times and although the movies obviously met with success — not one of them ever captured what the grand old pulp master had created on the page. Yates is the first to do it; his Legend of Tarzan stands head and shoulders above the Tarzan movies that came before it–and regardless of how it fares in the crowded summer theatrical marketplace, it is assured of a place in cinema history as the Tarzan movie that captured the heart and spirit of Burroughs’ creation.
It remains to be seen how 2016 audiences react. Has Tarzan’s time on the world stage passed, or is there indeed something mythic and archetypal that can cause the character to come alive in the modern imaginations? Yates and his team have given it an extraordinary “best shot” and have created something of heart, beauty, and lasting value. The editing of the film by Mark Day is taut and streamlined –not a moment is wasted and the story drives forward with energy and commitment; Henry Braham’s cinematography is cool and brooding in London, and lush and earthy in Africa; the production design by Stuart Craig is grand and evocative; and the music by Rupert Gregson Williams is both emotional and pulse-quickening. Special mention goes to screenwriters Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer who updated the Burroughs material, giving it unexpected historical gravitas, while excavating from the pages of the early Tarzan books the core values that made them unique. And the CGI wizardry is seamless, photo-realistic, and effective on all levels.
Give Legend of Tarzan a chance to work its magic on you. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Legend of Tarzan Srt Sub Subtitle Download
I just experienced The Legend of Tarzan, and in the immortal words of the Countess Olga de Coude “Magnifique!” is the only thing that I can think.
Sadly, I arrived at the theater for the early release of TLOT to an empty theater. I sat alone in the center of the empty theater reading my copy of The Return of Tarzan quietly in wait for the movie to begin. Slowly a few other viewers trickled in but sadly, the theater might as well have been completely empty.
The previews for other movies came and went as previews do and then the opening of this long awaited Tarzan began.
I sat in rapture as Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan came to life in front of my eyes. Yes, It IS ERB’s Tarzan. There are liberties that Mr. Yates took with the characters and locations, but all in all, THIS IS TARZAN as he was meant to be. Quiet, Strong, Passionate, steely eyed… “Magnifique!”
The Mangani are Mangani. They are not chimps nor gorillas. They are huge, magnificent beasts. Were Mr. Burroughs alive today, I wholeheartedly believe that he would jump up and down like a young child shouting “YES! YES! That’s them!”
Kala is every child’s mother, protective and loving. The relationship between Tarzan and her is perfectly portrayed. The love Tarzan feels for his ape mother is passed on to the movie viewer to be felt, not just seen.
The panoramic views of the jungle are even as ERB described them to be. Dark, foreboding, beautiful and deadly. It is the jungle of Tarzan.
This is not an action movie in the vein of Captain America or any of the modern action movies. It is a story. A very well told story of adventure driven by the love of a man for his mate. Is there action? Of course there is action. It wouldn’t be Tarzan without action. But first and foremost, it is a very well written and delivered story. It is a story that Edgar Rice Burroughs himself would have told. He would be proud and finally relieved that his creation had finally come to life in a manner that does justice to his creative genius.
I sat through the movie mesmerized. Spellbound. It ended just like it should, you won’t be disappointed.
As the credits began to roll, I quietly stood up, still in a mostly empty theater, and walked out to my awaiting truck to drive home and write this review.
If people listen to the critics who did not like this movie, they will be missing out.
For those of us who love the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, GO SEE THIS MOVIE!
I wish I could say more, there is so much to say. I’ll end this with this. I’ll go see it again, and again and when it comes out on DVD, I’ll own it and watch it till I have seen it as many times as I have read the books, which is really saying something.
Going into this movie, I had a good idea of what I was going to experience, but I must say, this movie felt incredibly flat, and now that I look back on it, I feel like there is not much good to be said about this movie.
I actually thought that the premise of the movie was quite interesting. The story focuses on Tarzan after having left the jungle and taken up more of a civilized human lifestyle. He finds his way back due to certain events and has to save his people from greedy Beligish colonizers.
I liked how the story focuses on a more worldly Tarzan who is not the ape-man he once was. I think that, given to the right people, this movie could really have been something really great, but unfortunately, the movie goes astray and loses it’s direction. What we end up with is a very generic adventure film.
Everything from the writing to the acting to the score feel like they were done in a very short span of time. There are moments in this film that are so cliché that you wonder what these film-makers were thinking. It just felt lazy.
The animation of the animals is decent at times, but ultimately fails, because we see through it ashamedly often.
This movie is a flop, and it could have been a lot better in many ways. It seems like Hollywood has been getting this a lot lately, Warner Brothers even more so. The Legend of Tarzen will deliver an interesting take on the story of Tarzen, but it doesn’t go very far at all.
Over the last two decades there have been some extremely successful reinventions of classic characters for the modern age: Zorro, Batman, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, etc. All of these stay true to the heart of what made the character great to begin with, but ground the character in a practical sensibility that make them relatable to today’s audience. I’m guessing this was the intent with Tarzan, the Lord of the Jungle, made famous through the stories of Edgar Rice Borroughs. Tarzan was a staple of early Hollywood, probably most famously played by Johnny Weissmuller, but with the exception of the Disney animated feature in the late 1990’s, no one has tried to bring Tarzan back to his big screen roots in a long time. After The Legend of Tarzan, I think it will probably be a long time before anyone else gives it another shot.Read more…
But before we get into the nuts and bolts of why this went flying off the tracks, let’s talk about Belgium. This is relevant, the film’s entire plot hinges on the basic premise that Belgium is pure evil. If you’re not acquainted, Belgium is a country in northwestern Europe, roughly the size of Maryland. It has the unfortunate position of being situated directly between France and Germany, thus whenever the Germans get an itch to go flatten Paris, Belgium is the most direct route. They’re also famous for their chocolates. Oh and slavery. Belgians have never met an African tribe they didn’t think would be put to better use mining diamonds or standing in front of actively firing weaponry. Now, if I told you that a tremendous part of the plot of The Legend of Tarzan was taken up by painstakingly explaining the Belgians presence in the Congo, the state of their monarch’s finances, and the atrocities they were willing to commit to balance their….WAFFLES, Belgians and waffles, can’t do without them….where was I before that. Totally blanked, but that’s OK because it’s really not worth trying to keep track of beyond noting that the personification of Belgian evil is Christoph Waltz, and he’s Belgian. And evil.
The Legend of Tarzan is a hot pot of mess. It’s poorly directed, which is a surprise since David Yates is usually a very steady hand on the wheel. The acting from Waltz, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson (he’s Tarzan’s American buddy there to keep an eye on the whole slavery rumor), and others is just weird to bizarre. There are so many different subplots flying out of left field and disappearing into the ether that you can’t focus on one for more than a solid 30 seconds before another one pops up like a two-hour game of “Whack a Subplot”. Robbie, who plays Jane, is given a lot of pluck and I am guessing that the aim was to avoid making her simply a damsel in distress (guess what she is for most of the film? No, not Belgian, but fine supposition). Then there is the dialogue which ranges from cringe-worthy to stupefying (did Jane just make a priest molestation joke to evil Belgian Waltz…..what the what?). Amongst all this madness, Alexander Skarsgard, who plays Tarzan with all the emotion of a fine plank of cedar stands out just because he’s not Belgian or acting like a loon (and he talks to animals and yodels in the jungle and STILL is the most normal human in this movie).
The film takes place years after Tarzan left the jungle, married Jane, and took up his father’s title as Lord Greystroke in England. But then a tidal wave of Belgian plot devices occur (I may have wandered out in search of some waffles for a bit) and he’s lured back to his old home in the Congo where he walks and talks and swings with the animals. This, by the way, is honestly the best part of the movie. Watching Tarzan interact with photorealistic CGI animals, and lead them against (wait for it) the Belgian army, is by far the most interesting part of the film. Probably because it actually focused on Tarzan. His youth is interspersed through the whole film in an inelegant and intrusive fashion that does nothing to endear you to Tarzan, or particularly entertain you. It’s mostly just another one of those subplots I previously mentioned (sans Belgians).
So is there any reason whatsoever to see this film? Well, that depends on 1) your inherent dislike of Belgium and 2) what kind of a fan of cinematography you are. While Tarzan fails on almost every level, the cinematography is absolutely stunning, Oscar-caliber camera work. The film looks gorgeous and features a wonderful score. Additionally, I was not being glib about Tarzan and the animals. The bits we get of him reconnecting with the creatures who raised him and rallying them against (yes brace yourself) the Belgians, are the bits where you see where this could have gone completely differently if the screenwriter hadn’t gotten a bad batch of chocolates at some point in their life.
Tarzan, to begin with, is a very hard character to make relevant to modern audiences. However, one of my favorite fictional characters is a billionaire who dresses like a six-foot bat and fights crime, so it CAN be done. It just takes a love of the source material, the cleverness to pick the bits that work for a modern audience, and to stay true to what made people love the character in the first place. None of that care is lavished on The Legend of Tarzan, so all you end up with is eye candy (which as far as I know is not made in Belgium).