David Yates, known for his directorial work on the Harry Potter franchise, takes the Tarzan story and brings it up to date. With a new generation of viewers it makes senses they would intertwine an origin and a main story. Unfortunately it added length and brought down the overall pacing. At best it’s half of an action movie, meaning that only half of the film is engaging. If there is a sequel they can save time by jumping right into a new story. Aside from that, the performances were great and the actual production quality is outstanding.
There could be some concerns surrounding the colonialism and white savior themes in the original material but the writers (Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer) do a good job of bringing the themes to a more modern audience. When the original story was published in 1914, it was a different world. The sensibilities of that time would never fly with today’s audience. The updated story shows the evil of colonialism and Tarzan indirectly rescues the salves in his pursuit to save his wife, Jane.
One cool element to the story was the addition of George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson) who was a Civil War vet who opposed King Leopold II and his hold on the Congo. Blending real people to the fictional story adds a new depth to the story and highlights the works of a historical figure. Everyone should know about Mr. William’s and his contributions.
Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood, Battleship) did a great job as Tarzan. He embodies both sides of the character: the noble in London and the king of the jungle. The bad guy is played by Christoph Waltz (Django, Spectre.) He does “bad guy” well, though it would be great to see him explore more of a good guy role. Margot Robbie (Focus, Suicide Squad) brings strength to a Jane who is less damsel in distress and more damsel's going to cause distress. It’s just too bad they were hampered by trying to tell two stories. It would be nice to show a hero movie without going through the origin.
Making an engaging film that leaves the audience wanting more information is a good thing. This film will leave you wanting more… action; at its best this is a well-made film that is mildly entertaining.
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