Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Legend of Tarzan film review

I went to see this film at the Leeds/Bradford Odeon yesterday with my friends Bev and Aj.

 Christoph Waltz in The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

IMDB says: Tarzan, having acclimated to life in London, is called back to his former home in the jungle to investigate the activities at a mining encampment.


In this David Yates (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) directed film, screenplay written by Adam Cozad (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit), Craig Brewer (Footloose, Hustle and Flow), of the story written by Edgar Rice Burrows, Alexander Skarsgård (True Blood, Battleship) stars as John Clayton III/Tarzan and Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad, The Wolf of Wall Street) his wife Jane.  When King Leopold of Belgium invites him to return to The Congo, he at first declines, but when George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson: Pulp Fiction, Django) informs him of his suspicions that slavery is part of the King's plan, he agrees.  Despite his misgivings, he also bows to his wife's wishes and she accompanies him because she misses Africa.

They return to their former home, rekindling friendships, such as Kwete (Osy Ikhile: Childhood's End, In the Heart of the Sea), Kolo (Mens-Sana Tamakloe: The Dark Knight Rises, Guardian's of the Galaxy) and Kasi Ashley Byam: Legend), but the invitation is a trap and John soon puts his new friends at risk.


Working for King Leopold, and killing and enslaving without conscience, is Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz: Spectre, Inglourious Basterds) who has promised to hand over Tarzan in exchange for diamonds to Chief Mbonga (Djimon Hounsou: Gladiator, Blood Diamond) because the Chief has long wanted to kill Tarzan.

When Rom infiltrates their camp and captures not only John and Jane, but various men of the tribe as slaves, they fight back and in the scuffle, George manages to free John.  But to get his wife back, John must trust both his families (human and ape). 

Djimon Hounsou in The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

This is a visually stunning movie, the backdrop of Africa and convincing use of CGI, with excellent acting - Waltz is always at his best as a bad guy and Jackson somewhat steals the film.  Skarsgård has a believable English accent and convinces as the complicated John Clayton.  He has powerful physicality and some perfect body language to convey his backstory of growing up with his gorilla family (and I don't just mean the ripped body ladies), and some great chemistry with co-star Robbie.  There are some beautiful African songs and to me, who admittedly was terrified when the gorillas were on screen, convincing animals that I assume were CGI generated. 

It had a flimsy plot though and this explains my score, and the myriad of harsh reviews on IMDB.  But the real heart of the movie is the beautiful African scenery.  If I could just win the lottery, I would be dusting off my passport.

Tagline: Human.  Nature.                                                                                  5/10

Margot Robbie in The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

Trivia: Alexander Skarsgård said one of the main reasons he took this role was to impress his father. He said, "My dad is a massive Tarzan fan. Growing up, we had these VHS cassettes of the Johnny Weissmuller films and that was my introduction to the character. But those films are seventy years old and so much time has passed that I think mine is a fresh take. I'll never compete with Johnny Weissmuller, but I just wanted to impress my father. He was thrilled; he was more excited than I was." Alexander Skarsgård's first cheat meal occurred more than five months into his training. Skarsgård had been on a very strict diet for five straight months, avoiding any fat completely, as he was in the process of developing an eight-pack. He said, "It was a Sunday and we were training hard in the gym and my trainer saw that my will to live was fading. He told me to put down the weights and he took me to lunch. That day he let me order whatever I wanted. I got to eat pizza, pasta, tiramisu. I get emotional just talking about that day." On the last day of filming, the crew congratulated him on the end of his diet by gifting him with a huge "Banoffee Pie," a British dessert. Skarsgård said that to celebrate, he ate the entire pie by himself in a single sitting. Alexander Skarsgård joked that he would like Tarzan to be drastically different in the sequel because of the heavy workout and diet demands on him. He said, "We have an outline already in which Tarzan gains weight. Tarzan remains hairy and does not have eight pack abs. It has not action and Tarzan eats cake, lots of cake. I wrote it."

#TheLegendOfTarzan  #Odeon  #AlexanderSkarsgard  #MargotRobbie  #SamuelLJackson  #ChristophWaltz  #Djimon Hounsou

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