Tarzan was a very pretty movie to watch and my wife assures me that female viewers will find the new Tarzan particularly yummy – but I really can’t imagine ever feeling the need to watch this movie again. It was kind of like a cheap candy bar – very sweet but ultimately unmemorable.
Let me tell you all about it – spoiler free.
All right, so yesterday I swung by our local comic book store, STRANGE ADVENTURES, and was given two free passes to a pre-screening of THE LEGEND OF TARZAN.
Okay – so I was stoked. The fact is, I am so broke this summer that this might be the ONLY movie I get to see at the theater and I was determined to make the most of it.
So my wife and I headed out to Chain Lake Drive after supper and I grabbed a big bag of salty buttered popcorn. It was hot and fresh and perfectly salted and drenched with enough butter to fry a small-sized planet.
So far, so good.
I ordered a small root beer and we found a seat.
The trailers came on and we were very interested in SUICIDE SQUAD.
Then Tarzan started up.
It was a very pretty looking movie, very picturesque – and Alexander Skarsgård (son of Stellan Skarsgård (the professor from Thor and The Avengers movies); and brother of Gustaf Caspar Orm Skarsgård who is better known as Floki from VIKINGS) – REALLY looked the part of Tarzan. He was lean – the same way that Christopher Lambert was lean in the 1984 GREYSTOKE: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, LORD OF THE APES was.
I liked the lean look. The way I figure it, Tarzan is SUPPOSED to look like he has been living with animals. He shouldn’t look like a bodybuilder. He ought to look like somebody who has been hunting wild game and swinging through the trees and living on a high-protein all-meat diet.
The story, at the heart of it, was pretty simple. Bad guy steals Jane and Tarzan sets out to rescue her.
Which brings me to one of my beefs with the movie.
No matter how many times she set out to prove that she WASN’T a damsel in distress, Tarzan had to come and rescue her. That is a strong part of the whole Tarzan trope – but I still wanted her to do at least SOMETHING remotely useful with her time. She could have at least shot somebody.
Still, this was a Tarzan movie and I felt like a got my share of Tarzan – with one single missing detail.
He wasn’t carrying a knife and he didn’t kill a single animal throughout the entire movie. In the books and the old Weissmuller movies Tarzan was always swinging out of a tree to break the neck of an unwary antelope or to stab a bull gorilla to death with a bowie knife or to full nelson a full-grown lion to death. He had a bow and arrow, with poison on the bow – that he used on a whole horde of animals.
But this Tarzan must have been a member of Greenpeace.
No animals are killed in the making of this movie. Is that a bad thing? Well, no – I don’t want to see a horde of massacred animals – but this is supposed to be Tarzan, isn’t it?
I think the biggest problem was they were trying way too hard to tell too many stories. They were fighting slavery and Leopold of Germany and Samuel Jackson was going all Hateful-Eight-Pulp-Fiction-cool and yet channeling Eddy Murphy at the same time, playing comedy relief to Tarzan’s great white wonder-warrior.
Still, don’t get me wrong. I really enjoyed the movie and I feel I got a decent Tarzan experience out of it – but I wish they had let him get a little bit more savage. I’m talking about the original Tarzan – from the novel – the dude who said “My mother was a great ape. I never knew my father.”
I’d recommend it for young and old alike but I don’t know if I would ever care to see it again. It just didn’t have the kind of impact that I like to see in a movie. I think they may lose some money on this one.
Yours in storytelling,