On July the 8th 2016, The Legend of Tarzan arrived in the UK box office theatres. The film featured an incredible cast including; Alexander Skarsgård as the main protagonist, Tarzan, Margot Robbie as Jane Porter, Samuel L. Jackson as George Washington Williams and the delightful Christoph Waltz as the villainous character, Léon Rom.
To add to the calibre of this film it was directed by David Yates, a British filmmaker known for directing a wide range of popular films, including; “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”, “Harry and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1” and “Harry and Deathly Hallows – Part 2”. Along with the upcoming film, “Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them”.
Before, we jump into the review of the film I wanted to share a little bit of info about the production costs. This movie had a substantial estimated budget of $180,000,000 and even though it did not perform in the American Box Office has well as anticipated it received great success in foreign box offices, such as China.
So let’s learn a little more about this Summer Blockbuster. It starts with John Clayton (soon to be known as Tarzan) who becomes an orphan after his parents’ death and he’s subsequently raised by apes. During this time, he meets and falls in love with Jane, to which they returns to his home country of England. It is here that Clayton is invited by King Leopold to go on a mission back to Congo. At first, Clayton is sceptical about the idea and disagrees but an American, George Washington Williams wants John to attend the trip so that Williams can join him. John soon agrees because he is concerned about how King Leopold is treating the people of Congo. Clayton, Williams and John’s wife, Jane, all travel to Africa but once they arrive, they are introduced to a man called Rom, who works for Leopold and it is here that all hell breaks loose. Without giving too much away, trouble arrives and it is up to Tarzan to save the day.
The narrative of this story is old (and a little silly) and everyone knows the love between Tarzan and Jane, so I think it is fair to say I was not expecting much from this film. But, for me, I felt this picture was action packed, fun, romantic, and this helped it to become a genuinely engaging film which I feel can be enjoyed for all filmgoers, because of the variety it provides.
It is important to focus alittle more on the romantic aspects between Jane and Tarzan which are clearly well portrayed in some solid performance by the lead actors in this film. One of the stand out scenes was the pure emotion Tarzan displayed when Jane is captured by Léon Rom. This becomes the motivating factor that Tarzan will do everything possible to rescue her and make her his main priority. What I enjoyed is that these emotions were conveyed through some engaging story telling, great acting and a slick piece of directing.
I also wanted to raise the CGI for the gorillas which I thought was fantastic, and Yates makes them seem so believable by keeping the audience on their toes. This causes us to forget at times CGI is used as we are transfixed in the film and wrapped up in the moment. It’s like we are there, in the jungle and experiencing everything that the characters are. This film represents that Hollywood doesn’t need to use real animals for productions because the technology of CGI is powerful enough to feature realistic animals.
Overall, “The Legend of Tarzan” featured several incredible landscapes, outstanding effects and difficult cultures that fascinated the audience, accompanying both the imaginary and factual aspects of the narrative to life. For instance, the cinematography was completed by Director Of Photographer Henry Braham, well-known for doing the cinematography on the “The Golden Compass”. Braham included some breath-taking scenic shots in “The Legend of Tarzan”. He also featured an incredible slow motion fight scene, when Tarzan returns to the jungle, between him and Akut, a gorilla, who is hurt that Tarzan left the jungle, to move to England. To conclude, Braham’s amazing camera-work added emphasis to the film’s narrative.
Personally, I was surprised by the negative film reviews and lack of success at the UK box office that “The Legend of Tarzan” experienced, and it was astonishing because the cast were all magnificent. I could have happily watched this several times over and would recommend it to my friends and family.
Review by Harriet Rackham