Posted by: greercn | August 9, 2016

The Legend Of Tarzan

Jungles are unsafe, for babies and adults. Animals may also face threats to their lives.

Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote a lot and was misogynistic, xenophobic and racist. Despite his flaws, he produced big stories that captured my imagination, when I was a teenager. His tales set on Mars contain a lot of magic.

Discovering that this new film was set in the 1890s and mostly in the Belgian Congo (now Zaire), I was only convinced to see this by a discerning friend who thought it was pretty good.

And it is pretty good. Despite being set earlier than the Tarzan stories, the luscious 3D, CGI and cinematography bring a new take to the old tale.

Partway through watching, it struck me that sections and characters are based on Adam Hochschild’s excellent book “King Leopold’s Ghost” which tells the real-life history of the characters Williams and Rom, played here by Samuel L Jackson and Christoph Waltz. Add Tarzan and there’s your story.

Alexander Skarsgard is Tarzan and Margot Robbie is Jane. Both look gorgeous. My friend Ken Monteith writes a wonderful blog titled “Talk To The Hump” and has coined the term “skinematography”, in response to Skarsgard spending vast amounts of the film wearing very few clothes.

Despite this hint at sexiness, there is very little actual sex in the movie, which is disappointing.

The plot, such as it is, features Tarzan and bits of Hochschild’s book. Tarzan swings from vines a lot, talks to the animals and tries to bring justice to the colonial jungle.

It does all go on a bit and feels long at 110 minutes. But lots looks lovely and it’s all shiny and shimmery.

Older people at the Stratford East Picturehouse got more out of it than the kids did. You need a decent attention span to get the most from this.

Do watch it when it comes on TV, although you probably won’t get the benefit of the 3D. And be comforted by the fact that no animals or people were harmed, in real life. All that was destroyed was Tarzan’s clothing.


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