The Legend of Tarzan Review: A Bad Idea & An Even Worse Movie

George, George, George of the Jungle…Strong as he can be…Watch out for that tree! Every kid growing up had that glorious theme song stuck in their heads to the point they considered shoving a drill into their skulls to get the voices to stop, or maybe that was just me.

Samuel L. Jackson and Alexander Skarsgård in The Legend of Tarzan (2016) (Warner bros)

However, the old 60s cartoon holds a special place in many people’s hearts and it’s no surprise why. It was something special about George from his remarkable strength, the legendary name, and the fact he had an IQ of a potato but he was our potato dammit! With so much natural charisma, zany antics, and the inability to duck 100-foot walls of lumber you can imagine the disappointment when Warner Bros announced they were doing a live-action version of George’s less entertaining counterpart, Tarzan.

The Legend of Tarzan begins with the tragic story of our main character played by Alexander Skarsgård. After Tarzan’s mother dies from natural causes and his father is brutally murdered to death by a pack of angry apes (someone got the short end of the stick) Tarzan is then taken and raised by the same pack of apes who murdered his parents and grows up to be the legend and king of the jungle we all remember him as, assuming you remember anything about Tarzan from your childhood, to begin with.

Samuel L. Jackson, Alexander Skarsgård, and Margot Robbie in The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

Tarzan currently resides in England with his wife Jane played by Margot Robbie, is urged by an American Envoy named George played by Samuel L. Jackson to return to his homeland which is threatened by an evil money hungry tyrant played Christoph Waltz. Now that we got the names out of the way, let’s talk about the positives of this film…Now let’s talk about the negatives. Perhaps good CGI is getting more and more expensive with inflation but considering the budget is 180 Million Dollars and they had full intent on having this showed in IMAX theaters, the visuals are shockingly bad.

The camera work was like going on a roller coaster filled with all the feelings of nausea and completely free of fun. The awkward directing decision to have conversations between Tarzan and George be in 360° spinning rotation while both characters are standing completely still was a headache creatively and physically. More bad camera work included the constant use of the shaky cam to the point you start to believe Michael J. Fox is directing this movie on a GoPro. Poor CGI adds to the negatives of this film. When there are times that the animals of the jungle, that share a very important role here look like they came out of a movie in the 1990s with how hilariously untouched they look. During a scene where Samuel L. Jackson is being stalked by an ostrich and I thought to myself “If this looks this bad in regular 2D than God Bless the poor sucker who paid $18 to watch this lack of effort in IMAX.

Christoph Waltz in The Legend of Tarzan (2016) (Warner Bros)

The more I thought about Tarzan, the harder time I had finding anything good to say about it. The story is extremely generic; we all know how it ends. Tarzan and his woodland creatures save his damsel in distress from the evil man who rapes and pillages villages for their blood diamonds. The acting seems phoned in by everyone involved. Tarzan I guess is supposed to be deadpan but everyone else looks like they just want to collect their mortgage payment and go home. There is no heart to this film, no flair, nothing. George of the Jungle, the 1997 film is a much better movie and by the time this review is posted, I’m sure it will have a better score on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Legend of Tarzan is just a boring waste of time, so boring that I’ve literally lost the will to finish this review in the middle of typing it.


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