O@tM: The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

There are many legends. Many of them originating in Africa and some of them including the story of Lord Greystoke a.k.a. Tarzan and his wife “Grab the liane” Jane. But there are even more movies than legends made about Tarzan and the story around this purely fictional character. Let’s see how the latest adaptation/interpretation/spin off fares compared to previous attempts:

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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0918940/?ref_=nv_sr_1

John Clayton following his parents’ death in Africa would be raised by an ape and would be known by the name Tarzan, would leave Africa and go to his parents’s home in England along with woman he fell in love with and married, Jane Porter. He would be asked by Belgian King Leopold to go to Africa to see what he has done there to help the country. Initially he refuses. But an American, George Washington Williams wants him to accept so he can accompany him. He says that Leopold might be committing all sorts of atrocities to achieve his goal like slavery. He needs to prove it. Clayton agrees and his wife insists that she accompany him because she misses Africa. They go and when they arrive a man named Rom who works for Leopold attacks the village they are at and captures Tarzan and Jane. With Washington’s help he escapes and sets out to rescue Jane by going across the jungle and Washington joins him despite being told that he might not make it.

IMdB: 6.5

It’s already more than a week ago since we’ve watched The Legend of Tarzan and I’m still completely clueless about what I gotta write about this movie. Of course I was severely underwhelmed, as was my husband and as were trillions of other moviegoers. The IMDb rating of a meager 6.5 speaks volumes about the movie’s qualities … respectively the lack thereof. So I guess it’s save to say this is a shitty film. But why it is so shitty, we gotta find out now:

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Same as Chris Hemsworth in The Heart of the Sea Alexander Skarsgård would look better in an ad for deodorant or aftershave than in a movie about the jungle.

Let’s start with the production: With a budget of around 180 million $$$ one can say Tarzan is a major movie. And it shows in regard of the cast and production value. Tarzan is a beautifully shot movie, as far as one can say these things in today’s computer generated movies at all. But, yes, Tarzan has found its own filmographic language. And, despite some rather cheap-looking CGI one can say they nailed the dark atmosphere.

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“Black Lives Matter!!!”

The cast was kinda great: The newcomer Alexander Skarsgård was supported by a sexy Margot Robbie as his loving wife Jane, Samuel L. Jackson as nerve wrecking and completely useless American sidekick George Washington Williams and the inevitable Christoph Waltz as Tarzan’s evil but ultimately bumbling nemesis Leon Rom.

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A walk on the wild side.

 All three of them are acting like bumbling idiots in a children’s theater. We know they can do better, so this is 100% a failure on part of the director David Yates and a bad screenplay. While Margot Robbie missed a chance to play another character than loudmouth Harley Quinn, Jackson and Waltz had not much choice than to act on their usual level of overtalkative but inconsequential figures that were almost like comic reliefs.

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Planet of the Apes?

And the pacing … what pacing? This movie was neither here nor there. Everything kinda flowed limped along without ever creating any recognizable suspension or story arc. Tarzan was just a row of stitched together scenes. Unmotivated like Tarzan himself and anaemic like his sidekicks and enemies. That’s no way to create good drama Mr. Yates!

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1 autopiloting Jackson, 1 pretty good Robbie, 1 bland Skarsgard.

Look, we get it. Lord Greystoke is not really in the mood to return to the jungle but Alexander Skarsgard acting like he’s not in the mood to do this movie isn’t the correct way to interpret his role. Hey Alexander, how about showing us some emotions n stuff, how about playing the leading hero, how about taking control of the movie? It’s called Tarzan. You are the fukn Tarzan. SO BE TARZAN FFS!!!

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Tarzan and his army of CGI characters.

All these small errors and mistakes ad up, you know? And they create a chain reaction that starts with a bad script, goes along a clueless director, helpless actors and ends up in a directionless movie and an unimpressed audience = TOTAL FAILURE!

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They’re supposed to be brothers, why are they fighting. We don’t wanna know.

And the sad thing is that this movie, like all Tarzan movies, has all the ingredients for greatness in it. It’s open to so many interpretations and conflicts and society critical semi-political and philosphical discussions. Tarzan is a natural grab bag. Too bad really that noone had the cojones to make a decison about what to grab from the bag. For a budget of 180 mil one should expect something better. Much better.

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Harley Jane, the only convincing role in the whole movie.

So we kinda know exactly what’s wrong with The Legend of Tarzan but what we don’t know is where did it start to go wrong? Was the failure system imminent? Was it the typical outcome of a film made by committee? Can we blame the system Hollywood? Yes, yes and yes!

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Skarsgard was impressively buffed … and that’s it. Period.

Still it’s a crying shame. particularly since we see too many much too expensive and much too bad duds movies in the last couple years. Don’t the studios of today have any strong man at the top anymore, or a kinda watchdog, an alarm system? Anyone with taste and common sense? Obviously not. I guess they suffer the same fate as politics do these days. Everybody is too cowardish to say something to, hammer their fists on the table, decide to stop and start fresh, take a risk. Where are the true filmmakers of the olden times?

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Margot Robbie commandeered every scene she was in but couldn’t save the movie.

Jeezus, we have the best technology, budgets to send missions to the moon for, many many technology clever people. And still the movies we produce becoming gradually worse. The Legend of Tarzan is one of those worse products. What a borer. 😦

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Man with death claw sings “Everybody was kung-fu fightin'”.

CONCLUSION: A pretty film, well made with partially stunning cinematography. Apart from that a messy borer. As most other Tarzan movies before this one doesn’t fail to disappoint.

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Many CGI, much wow.

WATCH IT? Only on a rainy afternoon when you’re bored outta your skull and really really have nothing better to do. Oh, and don’t forget to  stock up on the good Earl Grey tea and butter scones. You’ll need them to survive this snorefest

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WHAT SAY THE CRITICS?

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