Let me start by saying I will rave on the attributes of Alexander Skarsgard at the end of this post.
While he is a handsome man, there is more to this film. In fact I read a hysterical blogpost written by a woman from New Zealand who raved in comic rhapsody about the star, pretending to notice nothing else in the film. It really was a pluperfect hoot.
Actually I found this film to be gorgeous. Filmed in the Gabonese Republic in Africa and in England, the African shots are glorious. Wide ranging plains lead to lovely mountains with waterfalls, jungle, and a wide yellow river teeming with life. At one point there's a long shot of a flock of flamingoes soaring above the water. Then there is a following shot of the men on the boat firing at them with one more shot of the villain and Tarzan's Jane being served roasted flamingo...Since the animals are mostly CGI it was okay.
There are a couple of wonderful scenes of Tarzan interacting with animals, i.e. the family of apes that adopted him as a child. There is another great scene of Tarzan and his friend, played by Samuel L. Jackson, with elephants they encountered in the jungle. The elephants seem sad. Of course there was an opening shot at a train station in Africa with open boxcars of elephant tusks rolling along the tracks.
Good performances all around include Skarsgard as Tarzan (Lord Greystoke), Margot Robbie as Jane Clayton (Lady Greystoke), Samuel Jackson as George Washington Williams, and Christoph Waltz as Rom (the villain working for the Belgian King).
Margot Robbie is a lovely, lithe actress who moves with grace. She makes a great partner for Skarsgard's Tarzan.
Samuel Jackson plays a character who wants to expose the continuing slave trade in 1880s Africa.
Christoph Waltz, as always, makes a great villain, who is helping King Leopold connive the natives out of their diamonds in the Congo. But don't worry, even though he wins some of the skirmishes, Tarzan wins in the end.
Djimon Hounsou plays King Mbonga, Tarzan's mortal enemy. He is a wonderful actor worthy of more leading roles. But that being said, he does a great job as the bitter king seeking revenge.
It's an adventure, fraught with peril, flying through the trees, swinging on vines, and fighting the good fight.
What else do you expect from a Tarzan movie? Accompanied with a pounding musical score, spurring the action to the cadence of native drums, it's a fine piece of entertainment.
Ahem, now on to Alexander Skarsgard...I fell in love with him on his first shot in the late, lamented HBO series, True Blood. He played Erik Northman, the 1,000 year old Viking vampire - slick, dangerous, and charismatic. If you've never seen it, I should tell you he has some totally nude scenes and he is impressive from any angle. It's available on Blu-Ray and DVD. Check it out...
He makes an incredible Tarzan, the best I've ever seen anyway. He is absolutely gorgeous even scarred from a primitive life for the character.
On an interesting note, his Tarzan signature yell, is more like an anguished scream than the one we remember from Johnny Weissmuller or on the Carol Burnett show. That one was done by combining the voices of three people - two men and a woman opera singer. She was responsible for the undulation of the sound in his yell.
Skarsgard's yell is much more primitive.
This is an entertaining film. It tells the story of a turbulent time in Africa when the land was claimed by foreign powers who fought each other for prominence in the Dark Continent. Those diamonds were a huge incentive.
This one held my attention from beginning to end. Check it out!
Until next time...