Here at Cinema Soapbox, we strive to make our movie reviews consistent, consistently good, and for them to be applicable to our readers. Every movie review will have the same five questions answered.
This week in movie review theater, we will be answering questions about The Legend of Tarzan.
Did you make it to the end of the movie? Yes, but it was a struggle. The story is lacking and very predictable, as they essentially turned Tarzan into a 2 hour chase scene with some baby Tarzan origin story flashbacks thrown in. They still would have pulled it off had the movie been 90 minutes instead of the 109 minutes that it is. That doesn't seem like a big difference, but those extra 19 minutes were the worst of the movie and the filmmakers struggled to get to the finish line. Everyone in the theater knew how this movie was ending, so wasting more time than needed to get there made me check out.
Visually is how the movie kept me engaged from beginning to end. The picturesque African countryside, which provided the backdrop, was equal parts beautiful and scary. In addition, the special effects and CGI wild life were better than expected, including a hippo scene that stole the show from the apes who were still great and crucial to the movie. The alligators were noticeably fake, though. Step up your alligator game Village Roadshow Pictures, it was weak.
Would you be embarrassed to see this movie with your mom? Overall I wouldn't mind watching this with my mom, but it isn't the easy decision you would think. They lean a little too hard on the running joke that Tarzan knows the mating calls of several different animals, which could lead to some uncomfortable moments. It made me more uncomfortable that one of these mating calls saved his life and I was just expected to be OK with that.
On top of both of those things, there is a "Tarzan meets Jane for the first time vag sniffing scene" that seemed unnecessary. It even got a few laughs from the theater audience too and I don't see how. Just know that during the making of this movie there was a conversation between studio execs and director David Yates about how a scene involving a dude sniffing a woman's undercarriage played for a test audience. I get that he was raised by apes, but I've never seen an ape do this one time and you haven't either.
What drink would pair the best with this movie? A protein shake with an extra shot of HGH because everyone, especially Tarzan, is straight up jacked! Apparently living in Africa is the equivalent of living in a Crossfit gym 24 hours a day, while also never sleeping because the cocaine and working out has you too jazzed up.
If you replaced the main actor with one of his/her contemporaries, would it be better or worse? Who is Alexander Skarsgard's contemporary is the harder question to answer. He has 51 IMDB credits, but outside of True Blood nothing he has done is very memorable. The supporting cast, however, is shockingly A list and they do all of the heavy lifting in the acting department. Ultimately Skarsgard is fine, but anyone else could have been Tarzan and I wouldn't have lost sleep over it.
If you see this on cable 3 months from now, do you stop to watch it? I wasn't upset that I saw The Legend of Tarzan in the theater, but I wasn't skipping home from excitement either. My girlfriend Becky, however, was not disappointed in the movie at all. #abs If you see this on cable for the first time, then you won't be missing anything, but after seeing it once, I have met my Tarzan requirements for the next few years. Obviously, you have to take the Tarzan believability with a grain of salt, but it's very over the top for the majority of this movie.
Not once when he was fighting an ape did I think anyone, even Tarzan himself, would ever stand a chance for more than 2 seconds. I don't care how strong your abs are when a 900 pound ape is smashing you until your internal organs are jelly. After two hours of watching this movie, that is what I remember the most, which is probably not what they were going for. This is a flawed and unsurprising movie with a good cast and bad writing, which makes it average in every way.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 10 stars
Stephen Balding is the founder of Cinema Soapbox. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org