Director: David Yates
Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie
Release Date: October 11, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
It has been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Skarsgård) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane (Robbie) at his side. Now, he has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the Belgian, Leon Rom (Waltz). But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash.
In the latest film reimagining of the beloved character, ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ accompanies John Clayton III, or Lord Greystoke who is better to known to many as the legendary ape man Tarzan (Skarsgård) currently in London and living a more socialized life with his true love Jane (Robbie) than he was familiar with for some time. After hesitantly accepting an invitation back to the Congo, Tarzan and Jane soon find themselves among old friends where they discover that a terrifying new danger looms, one Tarzan fears he might personally be largely responsible for. Suddenly the tribe he considers family is brutally attacked and his beloved wife Jane is captured by the dastardly Leon Rom (Waltz) who intends to use her as bait in order to lure Tarzan to another tribe leader who wants to kill Tarzan by his own hand in exchange for a collection of rare diamonds Rom intends to purchase an army with. Fortunately for Jane, the love she shares with Tarzan knows no limits and he quickly sets off accompanied by a few friends both new and old in order to reclaim his wife and make Rom pay dearly for ever laying a hand on her.
Directed by David Yates (director of the final four ‘Harry Potter’ films) from a screenplay written by Adam Cozad (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) and Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) and based upon the characters originally created in the beloved Tarzan stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs respectively, Yates does a more than competent job at the helm of ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ delivering an epic and gorgeous adventure worthy of the infamous name. The film also owes its share of credit to the many talented and familiar folks who comprise the cast including Alexander Skarsgård (TV’s True Blood), Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight), Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad), Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy), Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds), Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) and more, the majority of which deliver capable performances at the very least in each of their respective roles.
‘The Legend of Tarzan’ is an extremely enjoyable and visually impressive reincarnation of the beloved literary character that likely offers everything Tarzan fans might desire in this romantic and occasionally action-packed ride. I’ve always been extremely fond of the character and as a child frequently found myself watching every Tarzan film and series I could get my little hands on, although it’s admittedly been a while since I’ve revisited any of them so it was a refreshing treat to visit the character again after so long in this latest adaption. This latest Tarzan reboot certainly won’t be acquiring any best picture nods this year and it does have its flaws, primarily the choppy pacing which can occasionally be somewhat distracting, but I can’t imagine anyone approaching a Tarzan film hoping for a monumental filmmaking experience and as a Tarzan film ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ delivers beautifully in nearly every possible way. Director David Yates does a highly capable job guiding the adventure along and capturing the impressive artificially created scenery beautifully, and Alexander Skarsgård makes a fitting Tarzan who should please the majority of fans. Anyone who enjoys any or all of the various Tarzan incarnations over the years will definitely want to consider giving this latest version a whirl, it’s a surprisingly well done and exciting adventure that is certainly worthy of the name Tarzan.
Overall, ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ is an exciting, action-packed and visually stunning romantic adventure worthy of the name Tarzan. It may not be a perfect film and certainly has its faults such as the somewhat distracting pacing, yet nonetheless still manages to deliver quite an enthralling and just downright enjoyable adventure capably guided by director David Yates and featuring a solid cast including Alexander Skarsgård who does a surprisingly competent job portraying this latest version of Tarzan. I would definitely recommend ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ to both fans of the various Tarzan stories throughout the decades and those who appreciate similarly themed films; it’s well worth a watch.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding, delivering a consistently sharp, detailed and gorgeous presentation throughout. It holds up impressively even during the numerous fast paced, heavily populated and/or darkly lit sequences and never results in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation that should easily please.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a crisp, sharp and often notably aggressive audio presentation from start to finish. Utilizing all seven available channels in order to fully immerse the viewer within the film’s score, in addition to sending bullets, debris, charging animals, tree branches and a great deal more zipping throughout the various channels regularly, while still managing to make certain that any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously never becomes distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a tremendous Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that contributes another layer of excitement to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ includes a collection of Behind the Scenes Featurettes taking you further into the film and including behind the scenes footage, interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Tarzan Reborn’ (running approximately 15 minutes in length), ‘Battles and Bare-Knuckle Brawls’ which explores three different key action sequences within the film (running approximately 5 minutes each), along with ‘Tarzan and Jane’s Unfailing Love’ (approximately 6 minutes), ‘Creating the Virtual Jungle’ (15 minutes), and ‘Gabon to the Big Screen’ (2 minutes). A video for the awareness campaign ‘Stop Ivory’ (2 minutes) is also included.