David Yates’ post-Harry Potter film’s plodding pace and tone cuts any chance Tarzan has to be amusing
The Legend of Tarzan is a continuation of the Tarzan novel. Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) returns to Africa with his wife (Margot Robbie) to try and save them from a slave trade. This is David Yates’ first movie after his mega blockbuster film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows – Part 2.
Yates’ cinematic direction is magnificent and beautiful. Some of the shots in this movie are incredibly well made and impeccable. There are times where the camera dives into the seemingly beautiful scenery of Africa and the camera makes it look alluring. The rivers, the rocks and the sky all look beautiful. Sometimes, the shots are so good that you have a hard time knowing if your looking at CGI or at the real thing.
Alexander Skarsgard as Tarzan was a nice choice. Not only does he look like Tarzan, he can sell the characteristics of Tarzan as well. Some scenes where he is interacting with the animals, he makes it look convincing even when the CGI is lacking. His charisma and ability to sell the not-so-good scenes make him the perfect candidate for the lead.
Although the CGI was excellent at times, some of the CGI animals did seem fake. In particular, the ostriches and the gorillas were really unbelievable. However, other animals such as the elephants and hippopotamuses were surprisingly very well made. The problem arose when animals were to move. The ostriches and the gorillas were mostly moving objects while the elephants and hippopotamuses were mostly static. The movement seemed choppy and unrealistic. No animals would’ve moved like that in real life.
Samuel L. Jackson’s character is a diamond in the rough as his character is the comic relief in a joke-less film. As much as he’s a really great character, his character doesn’t feel from that world. The movie commits to a rather serious tone and Jackson’s character is never serious making the tone feel jumble.
The biggest flaw of The Legend of Tarzan is the terrible pacing. Some scenes feels like the movie is trying to fit the minimum length of a movie, while other times the movie rushes to conclusions. The film does start out with a scene that catches your attention only to spend the next half an hour filming characters walk and talk without any development. Yates’ direction maybe the ultimate culprit here, but either way the movie can never escape this problem.
Along with Yates’ direction, the decision to make Tarzan so serious added to its pacing problem. The movie seemed like it needed to stop because it needed to remind its viewers that they’re watching a serious and emotion-filled version of Tarzan. It did feel forced and without reason. Taking out the overly seriousness of an otherwise fun story, the film could’ve at least been a fun summer movie.
The Legend of Tarzan swings and falls as its plodding pace and exceedingly solemn nature takes over a rather fun story. It does have Skarsgard and some alluring shots to help its cause but ultimately the movie falls short of glory. There’s no doubt that David Yates is a great director, however Tarzan totally forgets what made the Harry Potter films great.