Posted Jul 08 2016
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The Legend Of Tarzan - This Movie Doesn't Quite Ape-Man Rock

 Dir: David Yates

Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Sam Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Jim Broadbent, Djimon Hounsou

The latest incarnation of Tarzan may well swing through the trees with a good deal of momentum, but, unfortunately, his latest adventure generally lacks just that. David Yates has impressively brought Africa to Watford in his heavily CG’d but brilliantly designed movie, but the film moves at an underwhelming clip, juggling a bare bones plot – man steals Jane, Tarzan runs across Africa to get her back – with some cod social conscience (slavery history lesson, with Sam Jackson) and a propensity for scene-setting flashbacks that ultimately overwhelm much of film’s attempted dynamism.

There are a few set pieces that work, but they do so largely in isolation – the final wilder beast town-stomping is great fun, but you really do feel the journey getting there. Skarsgard is beau-hunky, but a touch too dispassionate, Waltz is now just “doing a Waltz,” whilst Jackson just feels like he doesn’t belong here. The film’s saving grace is Robbie, who owns the screen every time she graces it. This and next month’s Suicide Squad should firmly put this woman at the top of the A-list (if she isn’t there already.)

 As impressive as the film is visually, it’s animals sometimes have a curious non-reality to them, despite the photo-realism of the fx work. Heft seems disproportionate with certain beasts at certain times, all of which contributes to the hollowness that is at the centre of this Lord Of The Apes. Yates is too smart a director to not produce moments that work. But, more often than not, those moments suggest the better film this could have been.

 

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