The Legend of Tarzan®The Legend of Tarzan®
Year: 2016
Rating: PG-13
Length: 110 minutes / 1.83 hours

After watching The Legend of Tarzan®, the one unanswered question I had was, “Why was this film even made?” If this was to cash in on the plethora of live-action reinterpretations of Disney animated films, it might have held closer to that story. If this was to make a point about racism, it was making the wrong point. If this was because it’s a recognizable name with a hunky-looking protagonist, then I think they probably hit the mark.

While the scenery is certainly immersive in this adaptation of an Edgar Rice Burroughs character, much of this film pulled me out of the illusion of the African jungle. Right off the bat, the “registered trademark” that appears after in the title reminds you that there is already plenty of media about Tarzan, and another movie probably doesn’t add to it. Secondly, while a star-studded cast is a good way to get audiences into the theater, the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, and Margo Robbie didn’t seem to be portraying their characters as much as they were just themselves in period-accurate clothing. Finally, the CGI of the animals fell into the “uncanny valley” for me, none of them seeming realistic or even interacting with the characters at all.

Since this was not an “origin story” film, the flashbacks to fill in the backstory, being disjointed in nature, felt like they took away from the flow of the plot. That’s not to mention that the plot (and any of its sub-plots) felt contrived and cliché. Furthermore, in a day and age filled with racial tension and strife, having a white man come in and save the day while at the same time physically beating up on Africans felt a little bit too culturally insensitive to not say anything about it.

Another mindless summer movie with nothing new to offer, I give The Legend of Tarzan® 2.0 stars out of 5.

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