'The Legend of Tarzan'
A; Drama/Thriller
Director: David Yates
Cast: Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Djimon Hounsou, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent
Rating: 2.5/5

'The Legend of Tarzan'
'The Legend of Tarzan' poster. Pic/Santa Banta

Edgar Rice Burroughs' comic book character gets a svelte avatar in this reworked version of Legend of Tarzan. There have been many more movies about Tarzan than there have been about any other comic book character in the history of cinema but the past few decades have been quite barren in retrospect. So this one, coming after more than a decade long hiatus should be more than welcome. But will it be as satisfying and involving as the memorable Hugh Hudson directed 1984 edition, ‘Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes,’ is a question you may well ask.

‘The Legend of Tarzan’ while being grounded in the so called civilized world, London, to be precise, springs a return to the jungle act, soon after the Lord Greystoke (Alexander Skarsgård) and his beautiful wife Jane (Margot Robbie) settle down into uneasy sartorial elegance. And the move to the jungle, lured by a trap set by the villainous Belgian Captain Leopold (Christoph Waltz) and his co-conspirator, tribal chief (Djimon Hounsou) with a lifelong grudge against Tarzan, comes just in time for them to shed their awkwardness and inhibitions and get into primeval behavior which they are far better accustomed to. Of course, the muscular wild child is now better positioned to deal with the corruption both in the city and the jungle. But first, he must get back into Tarzan zone, rescue his wife and save the African world from yet another unscrupulous assault on its precious native resource.

David Yates’ film rewinds back to the past, reminiscing about the wild child and his origins while also serenading Jane’s connections with Africa. So flashbacks are par for the course alongside computer-effected wild life and superbly photographed, snazzily packaged jungle thrills. The live-action is seamlessly merged, the action is quite ennobling keeping us in touch with Tarzan’s vaunted character traits and the production design by Stuart Craig (who worked on Greystoke in the same capacity, some 30 years ago) is quite prize worthy.

Yates along with screenwriters Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer steer clear from the skimpy diversions that most fans of the John Derek version ‘Tarzan The Ape Man’ may have come to expect. Yates concentration here is on giving Tarzan full rein of his abilities in order to fight a historical evil, personified in Leopold’s enslavement of locals and exploitation of the new central African colony he lords over. While the action is racy, it also seems a little too easily done to be entirely believable. The actors also don’t come across as entirely comfortable in their respective filmy skins. Waltz riffs on his ‘Inglourious Basterds’ sociopath, to make it seem caricaturist, Skarsgård has the look right but not the easy demeanor while Robbie showcases a fair bit of spunk. In terms of visual effects this film is quite impressive but as a crusty, involving adventure, it falls short!