Tarzan has been through as many big-screen reinventions as almost any other character. Does the new incarnation in “The Legend of Tarzan” live up to some of the previous ones?
Maybe. Maybe not.
What is certain is that for what it’s worth, this version is a solid popcorn flick, and that’s all it intends on being.
Alexander Skarsgard stars as the titular character, who has abandoned his jungle lifestyle in favor of one with British culture. He’s called upon by the prime minister to go on a special mission to the Congo to check on its latest developments. He refuses the offer until he’s persuaded by an American diplomat (Samuel L. Jackson).
Going on this adventure means leaving behind his life of wealth, and it also means saying goodbye for a while to Jane, now his wife (Margot Robbie).
Tarzan and Jackson encounter a ruthless captain (Christoph Waltz) assigned to find diamonds and take control of the Congo. Of course, Waltz is once again in his element as the bad guy, but how many times can we see him doing that? This is probably his least effective turn yet.
We do get some sensational set pieces once Tarzan swings into action, especially his interaction with some of the apes. The action sequences are exciting, if occasionally we can spot some obvious CGI along the way.
Director David Yates of the last four Harry Potter movies has created a movie with the style, spirit and tone of the adventure serials from the 1930s and ’40s. There are also nice performances from a uniformly superb cast that would’ve had other actors giggling at the material.
“The Legend of Tarzan” doesn’t really achieve greatness, which I didn’t expect. It just amounts to a glorified B picture that would work regardless of its release. It does exactly what it’s made to do. It’s a crowd pleaser that actually pleases.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, some sensuality and brief rude dialogue.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.