The Legend of Tarzan

No sooner have Tarzan and Jane become accustomed to civilization, when Lord Greystoke is suddenly called from his English estate to go back to his jungle home. He quickly learns it's actually to stop the King of Belgium from secretly enslaving his friends.

Director David Yates ("Harry Potter") using extravagant "re-imagining" of this oft-told tale, once again taps into the money tree that Edgar Rice Burroughs planted in 1912 with "Tarzan of the Apes." My father read the Tarzan series when he was a child and they left an indelible mark (yeah, I read them too). Generations of readers have followed and numerous movie versions have graced the silver screen. This time, we get Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård as our eponymous hero and we meet a smashing new Jane.

Our cast:
  • Alexander Skarsgård ("What Maisie Knew" which BTW, is great!) Lord Greystoke must divest himself of those tiresome London suits and revert to his own skin (YEAH!) in order to fit in with his old friends. What Tarzan discovers back in the Congo is tragic.
  • Margot Robbie ("Whiskey Tango Foxtrot") American Jane Porter is exactly what we want in our hero's mate: she is strong, brave, and pretty, plus she loves her man and her home (Africa). She doesn't much like England and insists he take her along when he is summoned.
  • Samuel L. Jackson ("The Hateful Eight") Civil War veteran George Washington Williams does exactly what he set out to do: convince Tarzan to help him stop human trafficking. Now he has to try to keep up! Both Williams and Porter are VERY American in a refreshing and likable way.
  • Christoph Waltz ("Django") Captain Rom sees things his own way ...period! He advises the King of Belgium on how to maximize those profitable exports from the Belgian Congo.
  • Kjimon Hounsou ("Furious 7") Chief Mbonga insists Tarzan must die to atone for a long-ago tragedy. He is a sworn enemy.
I looked up exports from the Belgian Congo and could find no historical reference to slavery or diamonds, so either this was artistic license or the official cover-up was spectacularly effective.

With a PG-13 script, you can expect lots of violence, a few swear words, some romance, gunshots and implied torture. My biggest issue was with the CGI-loaded battling between the apes and Tarzan. It seemed to be an Alpha male thing, but maybe not... Needless to say, I was in CGI overload long before the rest of the rapt audience. We saw it in 3D which was effective in a couple of scenes. As I always say, I'm there for the story, so 3D is wa$ted on me. For those of you who like it, you should be happy. For me, I liked the story because I had people to root for.
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Here is a trailer:
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