A less than inspired, or even good, take on the 'Tarzan' story
While adaptations of the stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs' hero vary in quality, most of them are very entertaining on their own terms. 'Tarzan' fares the weakest quite easily of the lot, there is very little if any Edgar Rice Burroughs in sight but worse is how poorly it fares as a standalone.
'Tarzan' is not completely irredeemable. The jungle itself is rendered very handsomely with nice vivid colours, while the music score has the right balance of spirit-rousing energy and whimsy (not so sure about the songs though which seemed like they belonged somewhere else). While the acting was not good at all, Andy Wareham does provide some effectively gruff menace to Tublat in the very little he has to do, while the film finally comes to life in a climax that does have some legitimate tension and urgency.
However, the rest of the animation is poor. The characters just look stiff and like they were lifted out of a very low-budget PlayStation 2 game while their facial expressions were either forced (Jane) or lifeless (Tarzan). Very little better can be said about the performances sadly either, there has never been a blander or charisma-free Tarzan than the one of Kellan Lutz, while Trevor St John goes through the motions as the one-dimensional and quite pantomimic Clayton.
On the other side of the acting spectrum, there is also Craig Garner's irritatingly whiny younger Tarzan, Spencer Locke's gratingly contrived Jane and Les Bubb over-compensates amateurishly and mugs as Jim Porter. The dialogue is embarrassingly clunky and nearly always sounds awkward, and there was really no need whatsoever for the over-used and over-explanatory narration, which was a classic case of more show, less tell, telling us what we can already see on screen and it got annoying fast.
Storytelling was a mess, with a particularly ponderous first hour, an underdeveloped and chemistry-less romance between Tarzan and Jane (an enormous problem when it takes up so much of the film) and the whole convoluted and out-of-place nonsense with the meteorite subplot. It honestly felt like a short film stretched and bloated to suit feature length, and even the gorillas and jungle wildlife felt thrown in and randomly inserted. The characters are little more than vapidly written, one-dimensional and annoying stereotypes.
All in all, less than inspired, or even good. Has even less swing than 2016's 'The Legend of Tarzan'. 3/10 Bethany Cox
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