Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes
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38 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

not the Tarzan you think of......

8/10
Author: dbdumonteil
8 March 2003

SPOILERS Edgar Rice Burroughs's famous character was adapted thousand of times for the screen til one's thirst is quenched, notably during the thirties and the forties by Hollywood. Its productors made Tarzan one of the most successful cinema characters. Several years later, Hugh Hudson decided to make a more ambitious version of the monkey-man and it's a more natural, more wild and more down-to-earth Tarzan that he gives away here. Hudson skilfully avoids the clichés that you usually grant to Tarzan such as his famous scream or his friendly pet, Cheetah. Not only, are we far from the designed and invented character made by Hollwood but we are also far from the film set used to make his stories. The movie was partly made in Africa (more precisely in Cameroon). The movie introduces two obvious parts: the first one which takes place in the jungle where Tarzan lives among his adoptive friends, the apes and considers himself as their lord. But he ignores his real origins. The second one in England where Tarzan discovers the English society. Ian Holm epitomizes the link between the two parts and Hudson avoids all that could make the movie falls into the ridiculous thanks to a clever screenplay. Indeed, Holm teaches Lambert basic rules of manners so as to behave correctly in the English society and the result works. Moreover, in the second part, no-one ever laughs at Tarzan and he's even really appreciated. As far as the end is concerned well it's a both bitter and happy end. Happy because Tarzan comes back to the jungle and meets again his adoptive close relatives. But bitter too, because this homecoming means that the Greystoke line won't be ensured and is condemned to disappear... Christophe Lambert finds here, his first (and last?) great role. Sadly, he'll never equal the achievement of his performance in this movie and he'll play in poor and insipide action movies. Nevertheless, as I said previously, a clever screenplay, a performance of a rare quality, some impressive natural sceneries (both the jungle and the English country and we get a gorgeous movie. It's also an excellent rereading from a popular novel. So why is it only rated barely (6/10)?

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34 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

DVD Did Not Do Justice To These Stunning Visuals

8/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
26 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After I first saw this, I thought, "Wow, this is the most spectacular movie, visually-speaking, I've ever seen." Since that time, I've seen some that topped it but it still ranks as one of the best in that department. I'm just disgusted the long-awaited DVD was so poorly done, the quality of this transfer hardly better than the VHS tape.

The jungle scenes are filmed in Cameroon, and "lush" is the best adjective to describe what you see. Except for jungle sounds, "seeing" is certainly almost everything in the beginning as there is almost no "hearing," no dialog until Tarzan (Christopher Lambert) befriends Ian Holm and vice-versa....so be ready for that, if you haven't watched this film.

Story-wise, all I'll say is this is not the Tarzan many of us came to know in Johnny Weismuller films.....but that's not a complaint. For those craving action, and don't care about cinematography as I do, you just have to get past that silent introduction period

In this Tarzan version, our hero goes back to Scotland (his roots), adapts to that environment (for the most part....and a little too quickly for credibility, frankly) and then returns to the jungle without Jane. This is supposedly more true to the Tarzan books, written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

The special effects in here were done by Rick Baker, one of the best in the business. Sharp DVD or not, this is still a stunning film to view and very interesting throughout its 2 hours and 15 minutes.

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37 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

I HAVE SEEN ALL THE VERSIONS. THIS ONE WOULD DO BURROUGHS PROUD!

Author: Babe Hardy from BALTIMORE, MD
3 November 2001

I have lived long enough to have seen all the Tarzan movies from Elmo Lincoln to Chris Lambert, and believe me, this one was like watching the pages of ERB's novel come to life on the screen. Rarely does Hollywood stick to a novel when they adapt it for film, but this one did. And all the former comments failed to applaud the primate sequences for their realistic performances. The sequences where Graystoke takes his ape mother, later Lord Greystoke and ape father's hand on his head to try and see if their is still life in them, was a primitive act of real Gorillas that was in the original novel - but never used in the other Tarzan films. A wonderful film and a very good performance by Sir Ralph Richardson, which was his final one.

Babe Hardy

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28 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Tarzan as Burroughs intended!

8/10
Author: krdement from United States
18 July 2007

If you are looking for a modern film version of Buster Crabbe or Johnny Weismuller's overcoming the machinations of unscrupulous, white safari guides or cunning, black tribesmen, while saving the animal kingdom, this is NOT the movie for you. This is a recounting of the Tarzan "legend" from its beginning in intelligent, adult terms. It is beautifully filmed and faithful to the Edgar Rice Burroughs stories.

Tarzan is no action hero, but a man torn between two worlds - the natural and the civilized. In a stunning performance, Christopher Lambert portrays this angst with absolute realism. If he slips up just once the cat will be out of the bag: the audience (especially the adult audience targeted by the film) will laugh, and the film will completely lose its grip. It will plummet into the cheesy depths. But Lambert never lets that happen. (Forget what you may think of him in other movies; when I saw this film at the theater on its original release, I thought he deserved an academy award.)

The supporting cast is uniformly excellent, as other commentators have noted. I disagree with most of them in that I didn't find anything wrong with Andie McDowell's performance. I wouldn't have nominated her for an academy award - the role is undemanding - but she is completely up to it, such as it is. I don't know why her voice was overdubbed, either.

The cinematography of the African segment of the tale is absolutely beautiful. It captures both the beauty of the African wilderness and the exotic expectation it holds in the collective imagination of those who have never been there. The scenery is lush and exotic, and the colors are vivid.

But this is also a "period" film, and the cinematography also magnificently depicts Victorian England - the countryside, the city and the interiors. The costumes are outstanding. The soundtrack is beautiful without being overwhelming or obtrusive.

There are some disturbing scenes - especially for animal lovers - but no more disturbing than a few scenes in Dances with Wolves. This is an excellent film about the conflict between civilization and nature, personified in the young Lord Greystoke, convincingly portrayed by Christopher Lambert.

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23 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Excellent novel, good film.

Author: srb67 from Washington DC, USA
15 April 2002

Greystoke stays close to the first Tarzan novel which makes for a striking contrast between this film and earlier Tarzan flicks.

'Christophe' sticks to his French accent for most of this film, which is a relief as he concentrates on his acting and, for the most part, gets it spot on. His reversion to ape behaviour in moments of emotional stress is funny and touching. Ralph Richardson's potrayal of the Sixth Earl is full of humour and subtlety, only to be expected from a master of the art. Ian Holm, again, a masterful performance. They put Andie MacDowell to shame.

The first half is mainly in the jungle and is fascinating to watch. A huge amount of research about ape behaviour is put to entertaining use. It comes to a close when some amusingly nasty English explorers and a disdainful Belgian appear in the jungle. The second half, when Johnny (Lambert) is introduced to Victorian society touches on what it means to be 'civilized'. He meets his grandfather and is expected to take his place in society but then discovers what society is like.

A great adaptation and an entertaining film.

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20 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

One of the better Tarzan films

Author: Jonathon Dabell (barnaby.rudge@hotmail.co.uk) from Todmorden, England
8 January 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I haven't seen all the Tarzan films, so I can't say if this is the best, but I've seen enough to know that it is one of the better ones. For a start it does away with all these ludicrously elaborate adventure plots that curse the Jock Mahoney and Gordon Scott Tarzan entries, and returns to the basis of the original E.R.Burroughs book, focusing on the life of a shipwrecked child who grows up among apes and begins to act and eat like them.

In the second half of the picture, Tarzan is all grown up (as personified by Christopher Lambert, who is just right for this role) and he is found living with the apes by some European explorers. They bring him back to Victorian England, where he meets his real family and is educated to join the "civilised" society where he should have grown up if he hadn't been shipwrecked all those years ago. In an ironic touch, he realises that "civilised" people are actually more barbaric than his ape family, and in the end he returns to where he truly belongs.

The audiences seem divided over this one. Some love it, others hate it. My view is that it is mainly a very good film, nicely performed and photographed, with an interesting and mostly convincing script. I agree with other reviewers who have pointed out that certain scenes are a touch unintentionally funny, but aside from that I rank this film quite highly.

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19 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Pretty faithful adaptation of the classic lore

Author: george.schmidt (gpschmidt67@gmail.com) from fairview, nj
31 March 2003

GREYSTOKE: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, LORD OF THE APES (1984) ***1/2 Christopher Lambert, Ian Holm, Ralph Richardson, James Fox, Andie McDowall. Incredibly realized adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic tale of an orphaned infant raised by apes in the deepest darkest jungles of Northern Africa that eschews the old Johnny Weissmuller route ("Me Tarzan, You Jane") and instead captures the essence of the story of the man who would be the next Earl of Greystoke Estate of Scotland who cannot escape the upbringing by primates no matter how hard established (and snobbish) society dictates what is proper. Exquisitely breathtaking cinematography by John Alcott and make up artist/genius Rick Baker's ape creations are indeed a wonder to behold (the apes are the most empathetic I believe since his "King Kong" sympathetic figure). Richardson (in his last screen role) received a Best Supporting Actor nomination as the grandfather of John Clayton (Tarzan), gives a memorable performance. McDowall in her screen debut has her voice dubbed by Glenn Close thanks to director Hugh Hudson's supposed distaste for her unmistakably anachoristic Southern accent (as well as his rewrite of screenwriter Robert Towne's script that promptly led to Towne removing his moniker for the pseudonym of P.H. Vazak, which incidently is the name of his pet sheepdog(!) )

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Finally, a believable Tarzan movie.

10/10
Author: T-Mac (maxta80@hotmail.com) from Sydney, Australia
11 June 2000

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Greystoke is without doubt the best tarzan movie I have ever seen. Christopher Lambert portrays a very believable man trying to return to the world of mankind alongside the fantastic Ian Holm. The struggle of John to leave the jungle and the apes who raised him is quite stirring. Some very memorable scenes including where Lambert makes the jungle noises to the romantic interest, and the scene where he witnesses his ape father's death. Tarzans feelings for both worlds is well developed and really makes you feel for him.

An excellent and underrated movie.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Best yet!!

Author: Pat from Canada
16 July 2001

Having seen numerous Tarzan movies over the years, I consider Greystoke, one of the best, if not the best. It played with all emotions. Christopher Lambert's portrayal of Tarzan was excellent. I have never read Borough's book, but this adaptation must, in the least, put any Tarzan movie that Johnny Weismueller or Lex Barker played in to shame. I have seen this movie at least 5 times and would watch it again and again.

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

a great film!

Author: Sean Magan (kepsam@earthlink.net) from Worcester, MA
8 April 2000

I, unlike a lot of you unkind movie reviewers, actually liked the movie. The movie was slow? That it wasn't. If it was, I would have sent it back to Amazon.Com. All of Tarzan's actions in the movie HAD to take place. Like the love scene. You'd be stupid to think that Tarzan would turn into a Romeo and just make love to Jane..duh..he's half ape peoples! If you're in the mood for a beautiful movie, don't listen to the no-brainers, see it, you'll love Greystoke! I first saw it in Theaters when I was 11, and I loved it then & I still love it now. All the actors in the movie did a great job..the jungle scenes are beautiful, and the original score is a masterpiece. 9 out of 10

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