Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L Jackson, Djimon Hounsou
Directed By: David Yates
Plot: Tarzan has left the jungle, and is now Lord Greystoke (Skarsgard). However, when a Belgian developer (Waltz) starts enslaving the people of his homeland, Tarzan must return and save his people from an awful fate, with the help of his wife Jane (Robbie), and an American historian (Jackson).
What Works: The visual effects look great. The animals look incredibly realistic, and the scenery is gorgeous. I honestly can’t tell what’s CG and what’s not. The 180M spent on this film really did make a good looking picture. Christoph Waltz always makes for an interesting villain (except in Spectre), and he does a good job here, even if his villain feels like we’ve seen him before. Jackson is entertaining as a real life person (yes, George Washington Williams really did exist) even if he’s older than the guy was before he died (the real Williams died at 41). And even though she has zero chemistry with Skarsgard, I did enjoy Robbie as Jane in her own scenes.
What Doesn’t Work: I loved Skarsgard in True Blood, but he just doesn’t do it for me here. He doesn’t have enough charisma, or chemistry with his leading lady. Also, the film has pacing issues, spending far too long getting to the action in the story. I would have traded all that Tarzan in England stuff for more Tarzan with his ape family. We got to see that in flashbacks, but somehow it still felt lacking to me. Hounsou plays yet another tribal african character, despite having TWO Oscar nominations under his belt. Hounsou needs better job offers.
Final Word: This is a borderline film, for me. It’s not bad, and I wouldn’t say to stay away from it, but it’s also not good enough for me to recommend you go watch it. It’s in that grey area, where if you’re bored, or if a friend wanted to watch it, I’d say you’re probably safe for a few hours. It’s not a memorable effort, and in a few years we likely will have forgotten it ever existed. That being said, there are some truly terrible Tarzan efforts out there (the CGI one comes to mind, as does Tarzan and the Lost City), so while this isn’t the worst attempt at a Tarzan film, it’s also not the best.
Final Grade: B-