Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Legend of Tarzan: First Thoughts

   Howdy. Sorry the blog’s been a little quiet lately, but I’ve had a lot of writing going on. More on that later. Any of you who have spent much time here at Singular Points know what a big fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs I am. Yesterday the first trailer for the new Tarzan film, THE LEGEND OF TARZAN dropped, and while other people are dissecting THE FORCE AWAKENS trailers, I’m much more interested in the return of one of my favorite fictional characters.
   So here are some thoughts, more or less in order as they come, on the Tarzan trailer. The villains: Based at least to some degree on historical incidents. Belgium's King Leopold II, originally thought of as a philanthropist, took the Congo as his own colony in the 1880s and was responsible for a mass genocide that killed millions. Apparently Tarzan comes up against that particular horror. It also looks like there are Leopard Men, who figure as the villains in one of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan novels. Dunno if they’re with or against Tarzan here. There’s a fight but that could be a male bonding thing. You know, they fight, they become friends.
   The Origin: There’s no tree house in Burroughs, but the idea of Tarzan’s father building a tree house shows up in the Disney film and to some degree in the earlier movie Greystoke. In the novel, Tarzan of the Apes it’s just a cabin. From what I understand the origin is handled in flashback sequences in the new movie, which is good, because we really don’t need another origin film.
   The Great Apes: Can’t tell if they’re a mix of men in suits and Computer Generated Images or full out CGI. They look good though, and it’s nice to see Tarzan interacting with them, which brings us to…
   The CGI. There’s some obvious CGI shots of Tarzan swinging through the trees. I’m okay with that because it has the feel of Burroughs descriptions of Tarzan hurtling through the trees, rather than the often static vine swinging of earlier films. I just hope they don’t overdo it.
   Tarzan: Alexander Skarsgard is a leaner Tarzan than some of the portrayals and that too is closer to Burroughs. ERB described Tarzan as an Apollo, not a Hercules. Makes more sense when you’re swinging around in the upper terraces of the rain forest. There are several quick cuts of Tarzan in combat with the apes, just as he was in the books. This could be fun.
   Jane: Hellooooooooooooo Nurse! Margot Robbie is the proper blonde American Jane from the novels. She’s a lovely woman. This may be the best looking Tarzan and Jane yet onscreen.
   Samuel L. Jackson. Tar-Zan. Tar-Zan.
  So yeah, I am cautiously optimistic. Let’s just hope there isn’t another marketing fiasco like John Carter, and this Burroughs film is properly marketed. I could use a good Tarzan movie.
If you haven’t seen it, the Trailer is here.



Tim Knight said...

Yeah, I was impressed as well. Ticking all the right boxes so far.

Keith West said...

That was awesome. Hopefully the movie will live up to the trailer. Looking forward to this one.

Paul R. McNamee said...

Thanks to you, Charles, my interest in Tarzan has expanded in recent years. I am excited for this one, too.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

It does look like a lot of fun. Here's hoping.

Paul, I'm glad I could spread the erb.