This may have been 2016’s least important contribution to the history of cinema. It is not marvelous by any standards, but I somewhat enjoyed it.
The cast was not terrible.
Samuel L. Jackson: A little out of place here, but made me realize how much I’d like to see him in a western. This is not something I say about many modern screen stars.
Margot Robbie: Cool and beautiful and spirited. She had some moments of terrible dialogue, but still managed to make Jane a reasonably fleshed out character.
Alexander Skarsgård: Looked worried all the time, except when he seemed terrified. Seriously. So many close ups of wide-eyed fear, especially when he was first meeting other humans. (Now that I think of it, this could be great meme material for how introverts like myself feel about human contact.)
Christoph Waltz: slightly less than stellar villain character. He had moments that were menacing enough, but it was also possible to severely perturb him with a small slight to his mustache.
Overall, the plot and story were pretty meh. Christoph Waltz conspired in the beginning to manipulate Tarzan back to Africa (because this is not an origin “me Tarzan, you Jane” tale) and then somehow hand him over to a tribal chief who REALLY wanted him dead. (In spite of the fact that Tarzan hadn’t been heard of in years since he was enjoying all the money and living in England as John Clayton, Lord of Greystoke.) M. Waltz’s motivation in this scheme is the promise of diamonds to finance war/slavery/oppression for King Leopold of Belgium.
Though he planned on just kidnapping Tarzan, somehow he ends up with Jane instead. Which means that the rest of the film is about Tarzan trying to rescue his wife. Each of them have a few flashbacks to how they met when he was beat up by gorillas trying to protect her. (Ironically in this world, Tarzan is best friends with EVERY species of animal other than gorillas…who raised him. Don’t worry, I don’t understand either.)
Samuel L. Jackson decides to tag along with Tarzan on his rescue-the-wife quest. (I think his character has a name like George or something equally irrelevant.) Actually he is there to be impressed when Tarzan fights or talks with very unimpressive CG animals. However, I do know that after watching Samuel L. Jackson pet a (fake) baby elephant, I have decided that I need one.
If you’re the least bit predisposed to like a Tarzan movie, you will probably enjoy this film. Yes, it has flaws and some scenes are a little clunky and I am not just complaining about the animals. Still, it’s not a terrible way to spend a couple of hours, and I personally will probably watch it again.