There have been numerous interpretations and versions of Tarzan on the big screen and throughout other forms of popular media, so the question has to be asked … what does The Legend Of Tarzan offer that is different than anything previous?
Well, not much different, but more of an update of the story well known. The movie smartly sets itself in a latter period in the life of John Clayton (Lord Greystoke/Tarzan), residing in England and a decade removed from his upbringing in the jungles of Africa. Tarzan’s origin is told through snippets of flashbacks, as indeed the past-events of many of the supporting characters soon intermingle into a rich layer of connections.
At times, the plot seems too complex and over-detailed for its own good, even though it gives every actor a genuine purpose and reason for their actions. Alexander Skarsgård is good as Tarzan, but it’s Margot Robbie as Jane that shines at every moment, as a person more than capable of defending against injustice. Christoph Waltz and Samuel L Jackson deliver typical convincing purposes, however despite his very limited on-screen time, it is Djimon Hounsou who is truly wonderful as a tribal chief seeking revenge. It’s a performance so glorious and brilliant, it’s worthy of his own film!
The movie has some problems, though. Despite flowing at a good pace, the movie rarely elevates beyond cliche, as the viewer always feel a step ahead of the plot and I personally found the over-reliance on CGI to be distracting, rather than inspiring.
The absolute highlight of the movie is the sweeping, majestic score by Rupert Gregson-Williams. Arguably the best music of his career, and certainly one of the very best filmscores of this year!
The Legend Of Tarzan is entertaining, and I feel will be a movie better received once it has its home video release and/or with repeat viewings. There is an underlying sense of compassion and heartfelt humanity in the film that should resonate an emotional connection to many viewers.
score: 7.5 out of 10