This week’s rental was the 2016 Blockbuster ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ from director David Yates, best known for his work as director on the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films.
The Edgar Rice Burroughs character has been portrayed many times from small to the big screen, with everything from TV shows to a Disney film.
Whilst most portray the Tarzan in the jungle, fighting poachers etc, his story is probably best known on screen from Hugh Hudson’s 1984 classic, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, this film starts with Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard), now back in London, married to Jane (Margot Robbie) and established as Lord and Lady Greystoke.
The Congo, which he has left behind him and has since been claimed by King Leopold II of Belgium, who has borrowed vast amounts of money to build transport and other infrastructure and is now facing bankruptcy.
His response is to send Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz) to secure diamonds known to be held on the fictional island of Opar. Leon’s expedition party is surrounded and massacred by a tribe led by Chief Mbonga (Djimon Hounsou) who spares him and offers him all the diamonds he wants in return for Tarzan. His reason being Tarzan killed his son, out of revenge, for killing his adoptive ape mother.
The Prime Minister (Jim Broadbent) invites Tarzan to return to the Congo, not knowing it would put his life in danger, to report on the current situation there, but he feels that he has put that life behind him.
It isn’t until an American envoy, George Washington Williams (Samuel L Jackson) then reveals the Belgians are holding many of the Congolese people as slaves, that he agrees to return, with Jane, against his wishes wanting to return with him, to where they met.
We are told of how Tarzan was left behind in the Congo, and how he was raised by Apes and how his relationship with Jane and the animals was formed through flashbacks.
Upon their return, they are ambushed but manage to escape with the exception of Jane, who is taken prisoner by Leon, knowing Tarzan will stop at nothing to get her back.
We then follow as Tarzan and George and the Congolese who using the trees and newly built rail lines, on foot try to catch up with Leon, who have taken boats up the river.
On the way, we meet many animals from the Apes to Elephants, we will see Tarzan have to deal with Mbonga over his past actions and eventually a huge climax where Tarzan will stop at nothing to save Jane and get the diamonds back from Leon, to help the Congolese end slavery once and for all.
The film runs at just under 2 hours, and is all the better for it, as the plot roars along, the flashbacks give us enough back story to not slow the film down.
Skarsgard is a great Tarzan, you can see the effort he put into this from his 4 months of training for the role, in fact, all the cast do well, we found Robbie far better in this than Suicide Squad, Waltz as always is a great villain, but the real stand out was Jackson, who added humour to this film.
We actually were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed this old school adventure film, it is let down on some of the animal animation, but this is only because of what we have come to expect from the likes of King Kong and the Planet of the Apes movies, It is not too distracting. In fact, the animation on the likes of Hippos; Crocodiles; Elephants and in particular a baby elephant are good.
We were lucky to see this in 3D which also added depth to the film when plenty of vine swinging was going on. If you are a fan of Tarzan or any of the stars involved, we think this film is well worth a watch
You can watch the trailer and explore Tarzan’s Jungle in 360o, help in the fight to stop Ivory poaching and take the Tarzan Challenge at the movie website here:
You can find the film to purchase on Amazon here:
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