So I just saw The Legend of Tarzan, and it was good. Out of all of the movies I’ve seen this year with the major summer blockbuster formula, this one is probably the best. However, there really was never a point in the movie where I was completely on board for the ride.
The story itself was alright. It’s basically a coming home story for Tarzan because of the events that are taking place.
My favorite part of the entire movie was unquestionably Samuel L. Jackson’s performance. Out of all of the characters that are in this movie, he was certainly the most entertaining to watch. Everything that was exceptional about this movie was because of him. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time I have ever seen Jackson play a fish-out-of-water character. Much of the humor in this movie is Jackson’s reactions to Tarzan doing things.
Everyone else, Tarzan, Jane, and Christoph Waltz are all pretty much alright. There were very few moments in the movie where I felt like I could relate to any of these characters. They all have just enough attributes to not be cardboard cutouts, but none of them have enough attributes to where I felt compelled to care about their characters.
Tarzan’s basic attribute, the primary one that dictates how he reacts to things, is stoic. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is not interesting, unique, or worthwhile.
Jane was a little better. She’s a girl who loves the jungle, is unconditionally cheery, and won’t be left out of the adventure. She’s like the strong, independent woman type, which is about as overused as the stoic male character. She, like Tarzan, was also okay in the movie… aside from whole line, “I need you to scream.” “LIKE A DAMSEL???” Ugghhhhh….
As for Christoph Waltz, I feel like people just shoehorn him into movies as a less interesting version of his character from Inglorious Basterds. There were a couple of moments where the movie seemed like they were going to do interesting things with his character, but he never quite really takes off.
Honestly guys, I am seriously struggling to figure out anything that I liked about this movie. On one hand, the movie really does not do anything wrong, but they never do anything that’s unique or worthwhile save for a few parts.
The parts that annoyed me about the movie are pretty miniscule…. well… at least they aren’t things that will affect the grade of the movie in a drastic way. If you would like me to go into these critiques, they will spoil the movie, so do not read them if you do not wish to be spoiled.
<Spoiler> So one of the driving factors that took any suspense from the movie is that Tarzan is essentially a walking deus-ex-machina. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, deus-ex-machina is a popular term that basically means “a quick and convenient solution to the problem at hand”. Basically, the way Tarzan solves quite a few of his problems is by getting animals to help him out in ways that are obviously impossible to do. Most of these instances are alright, but I was a bit perplexed when he got a gorilla and a bunch of lions to help him herd a bunch of wildebeests into a human establishment. At this point, I wondered “Is there anything that he isn’t going to solve with animals?” And sure enough, when he finally finds a way to kill Diet Hans Landa, he does it with crocodiles, by calling out to them through “mating calls”… mating calls he made while he was being strangled. When movies do these kind of ridiculously impossible things, there is no suspense to be had because it feels like the hero is destined to solve the issue instead of actually earning his solutions. This obviously is not a detriment to the movie’s grade, it is just something that gets on my nerves, and it’s something that prevents a good movie from being great.
Also, at the very end, when the boat exploded with Tarzan in it, I just kept thinking, “If Tarzan dies, I’ll consider giving this movie a 7 out of 10… If Tarzan dies, I’ll consider giving this movie a 7 out of 10″…. </Spoiler>
So basically, Tarzan is a standard, by-the-books blockbuster. If it wasn’t for Samuel L. Jackson, this movie would have towed the line between bad and good the entire time. However, as I thoroughly enjoyed Jackson’s performance, I think it is at least worthwhile to give him some credit for this film, and I’m giving this movie a 6 out of 10.