Just back from The Legend of Tarzan. A bomb. More disappointing than I expected. The script is a hodgepodge, a jigsaw puzzle where none of the pieces fit. The characters have been overhauled and not in a good way. I got news for the writers and David Yates. Tarzan did not become Lord of the Apes by losing fights, on purpose or otherwise. He was Lord of the Jungle because he was the strongest, the smartest, the fastest cat in the jungle. As Gore Vidal wrote he was a great character because he fulfilled every man’s dream of dominating his environment. But that idea is probably too un-PC for today. In fact, the politically correct sentiments expressed in the themes and dialog of the film may be what derailed it. Such ideas did not exist in that time period, whether you like that fact or not. The result is a disjointed movie as unreal as the computer generated jungle animals. 

As much as I like Sam Jackson his streetwise dialog didn’t belong in this film. Margot Robbie should sue the writers for making her say the dumbest lines in the movie. When Tarzan snuggles up to some lions, she tells Sam, “He knew them when they were just little cubs.” I couldn’t help laughing out loud at that.

They set the movie 20 years earlier in history than the books. Guess they had to, to get King Leopold’s no good shenanigans into the story. Yet the sentiments and dialog were mostly 21 Century anachronisms.

The CGI left a lot to be desired. The vine swinging wasn’t photographed or created well enough to make it look real. I still think the gorilla look for the apes was wrong. They should have looked more like the apes in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

There was one scene where Tarzan and his friends run into a small herd of elephants. Tarzan pets them and lets them lumber on down the jungle trail. I couldn’t help thinking, “Well, there goes his ride.”

The worst thing about it was the constant use of flashbacks to Tarzan’s origin story while the main story is in progress. I mean Tarzan had more flashbacks than Quai Chang Cain! Near the end of the film the back and forth in time bit made the climax of the movie pretty incoherent.

I’d rate this two stars, maybe two and half out of four. Too many missteps.