Legend of Tarzan: Yates’ Modernist Version of the Ape Man’s Origin–or the Beauty of Alexander Skarsgard’s Torso and Abs

the_legend_of_tarzan_posterFor months, I have been trying to ignore, or disregard the negative word of mouth generated by the trailer and marketing of Warner’s big-budget epic, The Legend of Tarzan, sort of giving the potential summer movie a chance to play on its own merits.

Warner did not show the film to critics until late last week, and the official review date is today, June 30, just hours before the picture opens later tonight. That’s also a bad sign that the studio does not have confidence in its product (probably a result of early test screenings).
David Yates is a reliable British director, who made some of the best and most commercial Harry Potter films (the last four), and so there was reason to believe that he could find a new take of the old myth and bring it to life on the big screen via state of the art digital effects for a younger generation of filmgoers.  On paper, the casting of the handsome hunk, Alexander Skarsgard in the titular role, and the sexy Margot Robbie as Jane sounded good, too.

One insurmountable problem is the audiences’ familiarity of Tarzan as a super hero, be it from the 1930s franchise, starring Johnny Weissmuller and Margaret O’Sullivan (Mia Farrow’s mother), or from a more recent version, the 1984 Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, directed by Hugh Hudson and starring Christopher Lambert and Andy McDowell.

the_legend_of_tarzan_2_skarsgard_robbieA student of mine claims to be an exert of Tarzan his literary and mythological origins and its numerous screen versions—estimated to be over 100 since the sound era. That student informs me that there have also been serious books and dissertations about Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Ape Man” and his previous filmic incarnations.

Our grade: C (* out of *****)

Regrettably, Yates movie is a mostly verbose, rarely witty, and seldom thrilling enterprise.  It aspires to its purported status as a modern epic only in goal, trying to pass as a legit origin story as well as a compelling sequel, and in liberal ideology—reflecting the mores of our times, it’s more racially aware in its revisionist historical perspective. (Which often makes the dialogue sound anachronistic….).

the_legend_of_tarzan_12_jacksonI’m concerned that this Tarzan will fall in between the cracks and will satisfy no one group in particular. On the one hand, there is not enough dramatic or thrilling action sequences, and on the other, the special effects are on par with the high standards established by Disney in such movies as The Jungle Book, which overall offered a much better entertainment.


If you look carefully, even the small-size photos in my review show how poorly looking the CGI effects are and how badly integrated they are into the composition of the frame.  Indeed, the CGI in a major action scene toward the end, which depicts the apes’ invasion, is particularly disappointing due to its fake look, considering the that film’s budget is rumored to be about $180 million.


With all due respect to reportedly detail and accurace, Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer’s script takes too long a time to get Tarzan back to Africa and its jungles, where the mythic hero belongs. The core audience–young viewer and children—have always been more interested in the gorilla family that raised Tarzan and his interaction with them than in the mature gentleman that he later became.

And admittedly, the first sight of Skarsgard, stripped to his waist and revealing admirable abs (a combined result of strict diet and extensive gym work) should offer his fans visual pleasure—up to a point.

To be fair, there are some brief action-oriented flashbacks that chronicle Tarzan’s formative years in the wilderness, wearing the iconic loincloth. But the first part of the movie is heavily reliant on dialogues and the sights of the elegantly dressed man, who has now assumed the identity of John Clayton III, fifth earl of Greystoke and member of the House of Lords.

In his version, Yates has attempted to give a more serious, mature, sensitive, liberal, and psychologically complex Tarzan—not an easy task considering the kind of Super-Hero he is even in Burroughs’ writing. Under his direction, Skarsgård plays Clayton as a privileged upper class man still haunted by his parents’ deaths, which who compels him to help and protect others.

the_legend_of_tarzan_4_waltzThere are also mistakes in the casting, I think. At this juncture of his career, the notion of Christoph Waltz as yet another smart villain is not a novelty anymore (You may recall that he has won two Supporting Oscars for playing suave sociopaths in Tarantino’s pictures). In this film, Waltz’s Captain Leon Rom provides the final reason to lure Tarzan back to the to the Congo, where Rom plans to deliver him to vengeful tribal chief Mbonga (Djimon Hounsou) in exchange for the diamonds of Opar.

the_legend_of_tarzan_12_jacksonSamuel L. Jackson elevates the saga in playing a factual historical figure, George Washington Williams, a veteran of the Civil War who suspects that Belgian king Leopold II may be enslaving the natives of his colony in the Congo. Having fought to help abolish slavery in the U.S., Williams enlists the help of Tarzan to restore order in the region. (Director Yates aid in a recent interview that Jackson’s character deserves a movie of his own to tell his side of the story).

Here and there, the film makes a nod to more modernist ideology about how the corrupt and greedy White Civilization has abused and exploited the natives of the Dark Continent, and it must be said that in this respect Yates’ picture is not as pompous and pretentious as Hugh Hudson’s Greystoke; The Legend of Tarzan.

What’s most disappointing about this Tarzan is that the director who understood so well the basic appeal (and core audience of the Harry Potter franchise, of which he made the second half of four films, doesn’t seem to understand the seductive lure of Tarzan as a hero, and why he has endured as a mythic figure for almost as long the history of the cinema medium itself. Tarzan is not about ideology or politics, of Congo and other African regions; he’s about the joy and the fantasy of living outdoors, in harmony with Nature.

the_legend_of_tarzan_10_robbieMargot Robbie is an actress of great charm and sex-appeal, but with the exception of a few humorous lines (some unintentionally so), she is not given much to say or to do, even if she easily steals away some scenes from her partner.  It also doesn’t help that the chemistry between Skarsgard and Robbie is decent but not great (and lacking fireworks, this Tarzan cannot serve as a date movie either.
In previous versions, Tarzan was embodied by some non-professional actors, such as bodybuilder Miles O’Keeffe and Calvin Klein model Travis Fimmel.  It was always a role that relied on the performer’s physique and physical setting rather than the cerebral play of ideas.  Johnny Weissmuller in the 1930s film series was an actor of limited ability and range (to say the least), and Christopher Lambert in the 1984 was only passably better. (I read somewhere that, at one point, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was in talks to play Tarzan, before Skarsgard was cast).

the_legend_of_tarzan_1_skarsgardAs he proved in True Blood and other projects (Lars von Trier’s Melancholia), Skarsgard is not only a likable performer but one who can act. But here the director and his writers fail to come with an interesting arch for their central character, resulting in a vapid and vacuous performance.  They filmmakers seem to be content in exploiting Skarsgard’s newly refurbished extraordinary physique, letting their cameras glide adoringly over its gym-conditioned torso and abs, which look with a certain light as if they were sculpted of white marble, instead of concentrating on how Tarzan evolves as a personality, torn between two vastly different cultures, or how he actually interacts with his allied animals and the other human characters.


xosotin chelseathông tin chuyển nhượngcâu lạc bộ bóng đá arsenalbóng đá atalantabundesligacầu thủ haalandUEFAevertonxosokeonhacaiketquabongdalichthidau7m.newskqbdtysokeobongdabongdalufutebol ao vivofutemaxmulticanaisonbetbsport.fitonbet88.oooi9bet.bizhi88.ooookvip.atf8bet.atfb88.cashvn88.cashshbet.atbóng đá world cupbóng đá inter milantin juventusbenzemala ligaclb leicester cityMUman citymessi lionelsalahnapolineymarpsgronaldoserie atottenhamvalenciaAS ROMALeverkusenac milanmbappenapolinewcastleaston villaliverpoolfa cupreal madridpremier leagueAjaxbao bong da247EPLbarcelonabournemouthaff cupasean footballbên lề sân cỏbáo bóng đá mớibóng đá cúp thế giớitin bóng đá ViệtUEFAbáo bóng đá việt namHuyền thoại bóng đágiải ngoại hạng anhSeagametap chi bong da the gioitin bong da lutrận đấu hôm nayviệt nam bóng đátin nong bong daBóng đá nữthể thao 7m24h bóng đábóng đá hôm naythe thao ngoai hang anhtin nhanh bóng đáphòng thay đồ bóng đábóng đá phủikèo nhà cái onbetbóng đá lu 2thông tin phòng thay đồthe thao vuaapp đánh lô đềdudoanxosoxổ số giải đặc biệthôm nay xổ sốkèo đẹp hôm nayketquaxosokq xskqxsmnsoi cầu ba miềnsoi cau thong kesxkt hôm naythế giới xổ sốxổ số 24hxo.soxoso3mienxo so ba mienxoso dac bietxosodientoanxổ số dự đoánvé số chiều xổxoso ket quaxosokienthietxoso kq hôm nayxoso ktxổ số megaxổ số mới nhất hôm nayxoso truc tiepxoso ViệtSX3MIENxs dự đoánxs mien bac hom nayxs miên namxsmientrungxsmn thu 7con số may mắn hôm nayKQXS 3 miền Bắc Trung Nam Nhanhdự đoán xổ số 3 miềndò vé sốdu doan xo so hom nayket qua xo xoket qua xo so.vntrúng thưởng xo sokq xoso trực tiếpket qua xskqxs 247số miền nams0x0 mienbacxosobamien hôm naysố đẹp hôm naysố đẹp trực tuyếnnuôi số đẹpxo so hom quaxoso ketquaxstruc tiep hom nayxổ số kiến thiết trực tiếpxổ số kq hôm nayso xo kq trực tuyenkết quả xổ số miền bắc trực tiếpxo so miền namxổ số miền nam trực tiếptrực tiếp xổ số hôm nayket wa xsKQ XOSOxoso onlinexo so truc tiep hom nayxsttso mien bac trong ngàyKQXS3Msố so mien bacdu doan xo so onlinedu doan cau loxổ số kenokqxs vnKQXOSOKQXS hôm naytrực tiếp kết quả xổ số ba miềncap lo dep nhat hom naysoi cầu chuẩn hôm nayso ket qua xo soXem kết quả xổ số nhanh nhấtSX3MIENXSMB chủ nhậtKQXSMNkết quả mở giải trực tuyếnGiờ vàng chốt số OnlineĐánh Đề Con Gìdò số miền namdò vé số hôm nayso mo so debach thủ lô đẹp nhất hôm naycầu đề hôm naykết quả xổ số kiến thiết toàn quốccau dep 88xsmb rong bach kimket qua xs 2023dự đoán xổ số hàng ngàyBạch thủ đề miền BắcSoi Cầu MB thần tàisoi cau vip 247soi cầu tốtsoi cầu miễn phísoi cau mb vipxsmb hom nayxs vietlottxsmn hôm naycầu lô đẹpthống kê lô kép xổ số miền Bắcquay thử xsmnxổ số thần tàiQuay thử XSMTxổ số chiều nayxo so mien nam hom nayweb đánh lô đề trực tuyến uy tínKQXS hôm nayxsmb ngày hôm nayXSMT chủ nhậtxổ số Power 6/55KQXS A trúng roycao thủ chốt sốbảng xổ số đặc biệtsoi cầu 247 vipsoi cầu wap 666Soi cầu miễn phí 888 VIPSoi Cau Chuan MBđộc thủ desố miền bắcthần tài cho sốKết quả xổ số thần tàiXem trực tiếp xổ sốXIN SỐ THẦN TÀI THỔ ĐỊACầu lô số đẹplô đẹp vip 24hsoi cầu miễn phí 888xổ số kiến thiết chiều nayXSMN thứ 7 hàng tuầnKết quả Xổ số Hồ Chí Minhnhà cái xổ số Việt NamXổ Số Đại PhátXổ số mới nhất Hôm Nayso xo mb hom nayxxmb88quay thu mbXo so Minh ChinhXS Minh Ngọc trực tiếp hôm nayXSMN 88XSTDxs than taixổ số UY TIN NHẤTxs vietlott 88SOI CẦU SIÊU CHUẨNSoiCauVietlô đẹp hôm nay vipket qua so xo hom naykqxsmb 30 ngàydự đoán xổ số 3 miềnSoi cầu 3 càng chuẩn xácbạch thủ lônuoi lo chuanbắt lô chuẩn theo ngàykq xo-solô 3 càngnuôi lô đề siêu vipcầu Lô Xiên XSMBđề về bao nhiêuSoi cầu x3xổ số kiến thiết ngày hôm nayquay thử xsmttruc tiep kết quả sxmntrực tiếp miền bắckết quả xổ số chấm vnbảng xs đặc biệt năm 2023soi cau xsmbxổ số hà nội hôm naysxmtxsmt hôm nayxs truc tiep mbketqua xo so onlinekqxs onlinexo số hôm nayXS3MTin xs hôm nayxsmn thu2XSMN hom nayxổ số miền bắc trực tiếp hôm naySO XOxsmbsxmn hôm nay188betlink188 xo sosoi cầu vip 88lô tô việtsoi lô việtXS247xs ba miềnchốt lô đẹp nhất hôm naychốt số xsmbCHƠI LÔ TÔsoi cau mn hom naychốt lô chuẩndu doan sxmtdự đoán xổ số onlinerồng bạch kim chốt 3 càng miễn phí hôm naythống kê lô gan miền bắcdàn đề lôCầu Kèo Đặc Biệtchốt cầu may mắnkết quả xổ số miền bắc hômSoi cầu vàng 777thẻ bài onlinedu doan mn 888soi cầu miền nam vipsoi cầu mt vipdàn de hôm nay7 cao thủ chốt sốsoi cau mien phi 7777 cao thủ chốt số nức tiếng3 càng miền bắcrồng bạch kim 777dàn de bất bạion newsddxsmn188betw88w88789bettf88sin88suvipsunwintf88five8812betsv88vn88Top 10 nhà cái uy tínsky88iwinlucky88nhacaisin88oxbetm88vn88w88789betiwinf8betrio66rio66lucky88oxbetvn88188bet789betMay-88five88one88sin88bk88xbetoxbetMU88188BETSV88RIO66ONBET88188betM88M88SV88Jun-68Jun-88one88iwinv9betw388OXBETw388w388onbetonbetonbetonbet88onbet88onbet88onbet88onbetonbetonbetonbetqh88mu88Nhà cái uy tínpog79vp777vp777vipbetvipbetuk88uk88typhu88typhu88tk88tk88sm66sm66me88me888live8live8livesm66me88win798livesm66me88win79pog79pog79vp777vp777uk88uk88tk88tk88luck8luck8kingbet86kingbet86k188k188hr99hr99123b8xbetvnvipbetsv66zbettaisunwin-vntyphu88vn138vwinvwinvi68ee881xbetrio66zbetvn138i9betvipfi88clubcf68onbet88ee88typhu88onbetonbetkhuyenmai12bet-moblie12betmoblietaimienphi247vi68clupcf68clupvipbeti9betqh88onb123onbefsoi cầunổ hũbắn cáđá gàđá gàgame bàicasinosoi cầuxóc đĩagame bàigiải mã giấc mơbầu cuaslot gamecasinonổ hủdàn đềBắn cácasinodàn đềnổ hũtài xỉuslot gamecasinobắn cáđá gàgame bàithể thaogame bàisoi cầukqsssoi cầucờ tướngbắn cágame bàixóc đĩa开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育亚新体育亚新体育亚新体育爱游戏爱游戏爱游戏华体会华体会华体会IM体育IM体育沙巴体育沙巴体育PM体育PM体育AG尊龙AG尊龙AG尊龙AG百家乐AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人<AG真人<皇冠体育皇冠体育PG电子PG电子万博体育万博体育KOK体育KOK体育欧宝体育江南体育江南体育江南体育半岛体育半岛体育半岛体育凯发娱乐凯发娱乐杏彩体育杏彩体育杏彩体育FB体育PM真人PM真人<米乐娱乐米乐娱乐天博体育天博体育开元棋牌开元棋牌j9九游会j9九游会开云体育AG百家乐AG百家乐AG真人AG真人爱游戏华体会华体会im体育kok体育开云体育开云体育开云体育乐鱼体育乐鱼体育欧宝体育ob体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育亚博体育开云体育开云体育棋牌棋牌沙巴体育买球平台新葡京娱乐开云体育mu88qh88