A Legend Best Left Behind: A review of The Legend of Tarzan


Bland and flavourless, like a glass of warm cloudy water made from bad CGI. Beginning like a King Kong rip-off and ending as a shoddy version of The Long Ranger, The Legend of Tarzan is one of the most inconsequential and purely empty blockbusters of the year.

Not even the wonderful Margot Robbie can save this dour flick, through no fault of her own, she’s just simply not given anything to do. She’s captured by Christoph Waltz’s baddie one minute and kept there until the ridiculous finale stumbles along. For an incredible actress about to do for Harley Quinn what Robert Downey Jr did for Iron Man, her role here is painfully regressive.

A line even points out her situation “I’m no damsel” but that doesn’t excuse it. In a scene copy and pasted from Raiders of the Lost Ark, she has dinner with the villain but the fear or urgency is washed away by the ineffective story, which only serves to get Tarzan to a tribal leader who wants him dead.

This leader (Djimon Hounsou) wants him dead because Tarzan murdered his son for murdering Tarzan’s mother which is a stupid reason for revenge and results in the deaths of hundreds of animals and people. The contrived nature of Waltz’s moustachioed villain, whose motivation is completely invisible, if there at all, makes for one of his seen it all before bad guys.

He’s playing the same slow speaking, quietly staring villain he’s played in at least three other movies, but here it’s without any interest at all. The role is so cliche and without character that the poorly realised CGI animals feel a lot more real than him.

Then you have Samuel L Jackson, playing the role of comedy sidekick he would’ve done decades ago, yet there’s no reason for it to be him. It’s such a nothing role, a stereotype with a gun, that it gives nothing to the Film and wastes his considerable talents. It only creates a bizarre buddy road trip Movie half way through when he and Tarzan must trek through the jungle to rescue Jane, which is clearly the last thing a Tarzan Film should be.

As for the lead himself, Alexander Skarsgard, when he actually talks, which is rarely, his performance is greatly overshadowed by that of his muscles which make more compelling characters. He scowls and that’s about it.

The Film is also constantly unbelievable. Can Tarzan win against a charging Gorilla? Of course not. Can he talk to animals and get them to herd some Buffalo into a port? Apparently so.

The Legend of Tarzan is turgid, dull and has more unnecessary slow-mo than a Transformers Movie, with no redemption in music or action. There are some nice shots of the African Wilderness but even they are muddied by a string of unimpressive CGI animals.

Overall, it’s rubbish. Slow, uninteresting with cliched, hackneyed characters and a frankly backwards view of Women characters, of which there are two.

Oh, and Jim Broadbent pops up for two lines as some Professor back in England, dressed exactly as he was in Around the World in 80 Days. It’s a stupid role for a stupid Film.

Rating: C-


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