THE LEGEND OF TARZAN: Alexander Skarsgård and Margot Robbie in a solid adventure film

Yates’s film meets all the requirements of solid entertainment cinema.


15 January 2024

It was known from the moment we learned that a new Tarzan film was in the works that one shouldn’t expect anything groundbreaking. The story of a man raised in the African jungle by monkeys has been replicated so many times that the only surprising aspect was someone wanting to do it again.

I must admit that I approached Yates’s film with considerable reservation. The surprise was all the more pleasant – The Legend of Tarzan turned out to be a genuinely successful film, which, despite its predictability and lack of revolutionary ambitions, is enjoyable to watch.

Yates’s film meets all the requirements of solid entertainment cinema. The action unfolds at a pace that prevents the viewer from getting bored, the camera work is dynamic and skillfully extracts the essence from the most spectacular scenes. The dialogues are neither too complex nor frighteningly foolish, a pitfall often encountered in high-budget productions. Additionally, beautiful landscapes, meticulously crafted computer animations, a suitably spirited Margot Robbie, and a well-built Alexander Skarsgård contribute to the overall appeal.

However, what makes the new Tarzan a successful work is primarily the acting. The cast is superbly chosen. There’s no need to convince anyone that Christoph Waltz excels in the role of the antagonist. His portrayal of Leon Rom is exactly as it should be – cunning, repellent, and self-assured, much like all the other villains he has played. Samuel L. Jackson’s presence is also a perfect fit – while the script could arguably do without his character, the actor’s appearance on screen adds a solid dose of vigor to any film. Skarsgård and Robbie’s performances are adequate, though it should be noted that they didn’t have particularly challenging roles. Their characters are tailored to the story, behaving as the narrative requires, rather than being complex psychological constructions.

If anyone – be it a writer or actors playing roles – attempted to force originality, it would negatively impact the film.

The reception of The The Legend of Tarzan is undoubtedly positively influenced by the careful production. The film includes spectacular fight scenes with obligatory slow-motion shots and close-ups of characters airborne, thrilling chases, and movement using vines (Yates generously endowed this skill not only to Tarzan but also to his African friends). The film also boasts a very good sound design – unobtrusive and perfectly complementing the visuals, significantly enriching the overall experience. From a technical standpoint, it’s challenging to find fault with Yates’s film, perhaps except for the fact that computer-animated animals are visibly computer-animated at first glance.

Nevertheless, I cannot give The Legend of Tarzan more than 6/10. Yates undoubtedly deserves praise for creating a film that is very enjoyable to watch, even though the outcome is known from the beginning. On the other hand, I can’t imagine extracting more from Tarzan’s character – I’ve seen several adaptations of his story before, and I don’t recall any that were equally successful. A serious, psychological approach to the subject would be shattered by the fairy-tale nature and unreality of the main character – the story of a boy raised by monkeys could be taken seriously if not for his superhuman abilities – he is incredibly physically adept, can communicate with animals of various species, swiftly move using vines, etc. Depriving him of these skills is impossible; after all, it is these very abilities that have made him an iconic character.

What remains is to color the story with new visual fireworks – this can create an interesting spectacle, but certainly not a production that would secure a place in the history of cinema.

I don’t think this film will stay in my memory for long, and I doubt I’ll ever come back to it. However, I can recommend it with a clear conscience to anyone who wants to watch something with the whole family. I presume that the predictability and naivety of the plot won’t bother children in the slightest, and adults will appreciate the spectacle of the film and the absence of annoying sluggish moments.



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