In a rare twist of fate and failure courtesy of Mother Nature, our 4th of July was turned into a rainy, chilly mess of a day.
Dude 3, who loves celebrating America’s birthday nearly as much as his own, was highly depressed and spent a portion of the day bad mouthing Mother Nature for her poor timing and choices.
To appease him, and fulfill our never ending desire for buttery popcorn, we decided to hit up the movies.
We’ve been on a Disney kick lately (Finding Dory, The BFG) so we thought we’d break it up a bit with The Legend of Tarzan.
The Legend of Tarzan
This version takes up where some of the previous ones left off –Tarzan and Jane are back to England living as a Lord and his Lady with all of the civilities such a life is known to entail. Tarzan is invited back to the Congo by some Belgian dude who turns out to be a lunatic, an American envoy, George Washington Williams, with no idea of the Belgian’s maniacal plot, convinces him to make the trip to assist him with his own, more noble mission, and, as expected, Jane insists on accompanying them. Naturally, they arrive and all you-know-what hits the fan.
Should Your Kids See It
It’s an odd thing when a movie like this is rated PG-13.
Your kids probably know Tarzan (from Disney’s previous animated version, no doubt) and are eager to enjoy this new iteration.
But, PG-13?! Like, WHY?!?!
If you have an adventure loving dude kid in your movie viewing party, know right now that they will consider it a must see.
The 8 year old I own fitting that description left the theater beating on his chest and declaring Tarzan the best hero of all time in every way outside of the super suit, an honor retained by Superman, but mostly only because Tarzan did not have one. He fought pretty much every battle topless (thank you, God) with a set of ripped abs and a pair of pants to match.
I’ve spent the last two days reminding my son that, while walking on all fours at home is fine or whatever, doing so at the grocery store is not only weird but gross and annoying. Just like the Tarzan yell he is intent on perfecting.
Needless to say they hit this one out of the park in the young males age 8-13 category and you can watch his video as further proof.
So why the PG-13 rating?
As he mentions, there will be a bit of making out, but no nudity (sensuality), a large amount of fighting and capturing (violence), and they refer to the monkey’s junk as nuts more than one time (rude dialogue). If you and your people are all good with that, then by all means, cart the kids along.
Mine enjoyed it immensely, clearly.
Grown Up Review
But, what about for us grown ups?
I can say that I, for one, found Tarzan’s willingness to come to battle prepared to fight in nothing more than a few rags to cover his manliest bits both functional and enjoyable. Tights are a bad choice for the African climate and I don’t know if what’s left on display is a product of camera tricks, expert contouring, hours in the gym or a combination of the three, but believe me when I say I can’t care. I am so here for Alexander Skarsgard mostly naked and sweaty and dirty that the plot issues that arose throughout the film were largely forgivable.
All movie things can be healed with hot abs.
And yes, I am fully comfortable with the overt shallowness of that statement because, truth.
That said, I will note that the movie critics are pretty spot on with their evaluation of the flick: it’s tough to bring a story like Tarzan, created in 1912, set in the late 1800s into modernity, particularly when the plot topics include everything from Africa’s savage colonization and enslavement of its people to brutality against animals we all know now to be endangered largely because of these historical practices.
And, sadly, I think they took out some of the most loveable parts of the original film (Tarzan as a jungle boy learning to be a gorilla, and there were only brief mentions in flashback form of the relationship he had with his gorilla mama). These were replaced with a focus on the more legendary, powerful-jungle-man elements of the character in order to make it a more action packed, entertaining film audiences of today would enjoy.
Sort of win on that one.
There are a ton of exhilarating flying-through-the-trees-with-the-greatest-of-ease scenes and a number of fight scenes –human v. human and animal v. human, that had my 8 year old raising both fists cheering for our scantily clad hero.
But, if you have the sensibilities to go beyond that of an easily amused 8 year old and question anything about the film (from how the heck you get a jungle branch to go 40mph through the jungle anyway or why all of the natives came to the fight, but didn’t do anything but cheer for Tarzan) you will probably be slightly unhappy with the answers.
So let’s bring it back to the abs.
Focus on the abs.
Lastly, let’s discuss some of the other supporting characters…
Samuel L. Jackson has never played a character I didn’t like (this one is no exception even if I can’t believe a 60 year old city man would be able to shed his suit jacket and then keep up with a wild man and a band of African natives as they flat out run across the hot and dangerous terrain of Africa without breaking more than a sweat. I, for one, know with relative certainty that if thrust into those elements I would die, expeditiously, good cause to fight for or no.).
The villain, truly it was the Dutch, but expertly embodied by Christoph Waltz, was as villainous as always. That dude is the perfect bad guy. In fact, look up “bad guy” in the dictionary and I am certain you will se a picture of Waltz right there, smiling that creepy smile, with those beady eyes, and that untrustworthy moustache. He did the character, Leon Rom, justice and made his ultimate demise one we all rooted for.
And Jane. I liked that Margot Robbie’s version was more of a lady fighter and less of a damsel in distress in this one. The writers had that update right as I’m certain girls of today would not want to watch the female lead hang around and cry helplessly until her wild savior showed up and freed her with a kiss. Although, again, abs…
On a whole, I found the film to be a fun experience for a rainy 4th of July. If you’re in the mood for adventure, like abs, loved the original Tarzan, appreciate movie makers’ ability to make CGI look like real life, and are willing to just enjoy the ride and leave the analysis to the critics, you may have as much fun with this one as my Tarzan loving 8 year old.