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Review: The Legend Of Tarzan

Tarzan: The best movie you didn’t watch this weekend.

Flicker Fans…..bear with me. I know this is going to be a stretch for you. I know that you’re not really going to want to hear what I have to say, but just bear with me ok? Just sit back and have an open mind about what I’m about to lay down for you. I’m about to say something that you may not really want to hear, and that’s ok. It’s going to be ok. It’s just my opinion after all, and it’s not gospel….but THE LEGEND OF TARZAN is the best movie that you haven’t watched yet, and I’m about to tell you why. Let’s dissect this shall we and really look at what I just said to you. “It’s the best movie that you HAVEN’T watched yet.” I say that because this movie (by all accounts) has really not done well. Just looking at the numbers and thinking of it on a cash return standpoint, its bombed. $180 million to produce and it’s only made $45 million in its first weekend domestically and $19 million in the foreign market. YIKES!!! Typically movies have a huge drop off for their second weekend out, and I don’t think this movie will be the exception to the rule. HUGE bomb! Like, HUGE! And honestly, that makes me sad. It’s not that I was a huge fan as a kid. Sure, I liked Tarzan when I was growing up, and enjoyed it for the most part. I got into GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE repeats (you know, what felt like Tarzan’s long lost adopted step child brother) and even sang the song that went with it (if you don’t know what I’m talking about- Youtube it). Oh, and not the movie that poor bastard Brenden Frasier did, I’m talking about the 1967 cartoon.

David Yates (Harry Potter and the….Let’s just say he directed the last half of those movies) directs this adaptation to the Tarzan genre. Written by Adam Cozad (Jack Ryan:Shadow Recruit) and Craig Brewer (Footloose–2011,Black Snake Moan, and Hustle and Flow) based on the characters created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This story was….interesting. Look, if you’ve enjoyed any of the movies that I listed that were done by these three talents, then I strongly suggest that you see this movie. David Yates is talented in his own right. I mean sure his movies have grossed quite a bit of money, but he was tasked as taking on one of the most popular franchises any studio had owned. That being said, it was also hard for him to mess up the last part of the Harry Potter franchise. I mean seriously, the first part of the story was laid out for you and you just had to follow a simple recipe….Which I think he did….and he gave the people what they wanted and it was fun to watch….just like Tarzan was.

This movie was really stacked for success….which makes its shortcomings even sadder. Starring Alexander Skarsgard (The True Blood series), Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) Samuel L. Jackson (known now for the Marvel Universe) Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street, Focus) and Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond, Guardians of the Galaxy). Just take a moment and LOOK at that talent. This movie had all the makings of a success. I’ll admit, the first trailer that I saw, I was skeptical. I honestly wasn’t that interested. But, for whatever reason, I saw one of the last trailers they released for this movie and I thought, “Hey, that looks like fun. That looks like it might be an interesting movie.” And it was.

The movie takes place years after Tarzan has been found in the jungle, married Jane, and returned to society to reclaim his inheritance (don’t worry, none of that information gives away anything). That’s it. I know I said that information doesn’t give away anything, but that’s pretty much the story. It follows Tarzan and Jane on an adventure after he’s been found. For plot sake, I won’t give any more details about what kind of adventure, but that’s really what happens. It’s an adventure that recaps what we kind of already know. He was found in the jungle, raised by apes, and falls in love. It also does an excellent job rehashing his background and how he met Jane and what happened to his parents. I’m telling you, it was QUITE consistent in what made him, him. It addresses his conflicting ideals of where he’s supposed to belong and who he really is. Honestly, I think he struggles more with it than we’d like to really acknowledge, but it makes for an interesting story and the back and forth of him trying to “fit in”. Overall, the story stuck true to what everyone expects and gives you more than what you’d thought you’d see in a Tarzan movie.

And you didn’t watch it–don’t you feel bad?

But the movie was good! I know, it’s hard to really think that you would enjoy something like this, but trust me, it was a decent movie. As I walked out of the theater, a little old lady asked me, “So, what did you think?” I honestly had to tell her, “You know, I actually enjoyed that more than I thought I would. It was a fun, silly, adventurous movie. Not bad, not bad at all.” She agreed. Ok, full disclosure, was the story a little cheesy? Yes….HELL yes….it was a movie about a guy raised by apes. But this is summer folks, the realm in which all bets are off for artistic integrity and you get ready for just fun. The time when movies about TALKING apes have spawned a new franchise (Yes, I’m talking about “Planet of the Apes” reboot). Fun movies, fun weekends, fun Fridays. Every week there is a new movie coming out, they just planned this movie on one of the biggest days in the summer–4th of July. This was supposed to be a blockbuster movie that swings into theaters and dominate (pun intended)….not only did it fall short (again, pun still intended), but it fell flat (last one, yes, pun intended).

I honestly think this movie would have done better if they tried to release it during a slower time with less summer competition. I don’t know why they thought they would own the 4th with this movie, and it’s a shame because it’s pretty set up for further adventures. But with the way this movie performed, we’re likely to see Tarzan caged and the studio moving on to other projects (sorry, last pun).

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