26 December 2016

The Legend of #Tarzan Blu-ray #MovieReview #CGI #MatingCall @wbpictures

On Christmas Day, I watched The Legend of Tarzan at the behest of one of my sisters who'd brought along her personal copy. (At family holiday get-togethers, we generally watch movies for at least a part of the day traditionally.) She went to see it in the theater, had previously said it was one of the better movies she'd seen this year, and bought a copy of it during Black Friday sales. Having seen several versions of Tarzan (including a Saturday morning cartoon that I watched as a child on our little B&W television), I was skeptical that this particular film could hold any charm, but I underestimated David Yates (the director).

It was a surprisingly decent movie. Not perfect (the overdone CGI featured in the end "grand fight" sequence seemed especially ham-fisted, for instance) but entertaining overall, mainly due to its sweeping lush scenery, CGI animals, a few inspired performances and some wry humored dialogue. It was a story told with a bit of umpf and I enjoyed it enough that I would purchase my own copy for a fair price.

I had never considered Alexander Skarsgård as a potential Lord of the Jungle. I've seen a few of his Swedish flicks (he wasn't nearly as buff in those days) and one or two things he's done since arriving in Hollywood, but he had not the gravitas of his father, Stellan. But he embodied Tarzan all out in this. His height and size were exactly what was called for, and his grace, in spite of the aforementioned traits, made the perfect counterpoint for a long lost English lord.

Skarsgård and Margot Robbie had a warm chemistry, and Robbie, in her turn, brought enough of an edge to Jane that the character was rescued from the ashpile of annoying females and reinvigorated as a sensible woman with spunk. (A welcome respite from Jane as pitiful damsel in distress.) Samuel Jackson brought his own brand of craziness as usual and Christoph Waltz proved that he is once again an enjoyable despot. To a man, the casting was spot on.

The humor was both unexpected and well-placed. The action punchy, sharp and at times laughable (purposely). The animals majestic, if unreal. And the use of the natural order, from fights for dominance to mating calls, to create tension and resolve plot was a deft touch. You could have pinched me. (My sister and I often disagree on films.) A good Sunday afternoon flick arrived unexpectedly and I'm glad I answered the door to admit it.

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