Story: In 1884, King Leopold II takes control of Congo. When his kingdom nears bankruptcy, the ruler’s best soldier Rom is sent on a mission to capture the natives. He and a local chief strike a deal – diamonds in exchange of Tarzan (the boy of their forest) who has moved in with his wife after marriage. Rom kidnaps Jane and Tarzan will go to any extent to bring her back.
Review: For a story that is being told since early 1900s, a fresh rendition is pointless unless the makers have anything new to say. It probably is a risk taking up material that is so widely loved. Director David Yates, best known for the mystery and magic of the final four editions of the Harry Potter series, remoulds the titular character. His Tarzan journeys from messy wilderness to the prim insides of a gorgeous English manor. But, he must return to where he belongs and fix everything that has gone wrong in his side of the world. The unnecessary character of George Washington Williams, who researched vastly on Belgian Congo in late 1880s tells Tarzan about the brutal practice of slavery that is prevalent in his native place. To suit the screenplay, Tarzan’s fiery wife slips into a damsel in distress role.
It isn’t an origin story but the effective flashbacks do take us back to the ape man’s past life. It tries to be a sequel but doesn’t have enough inventiveness to qualify as one. In its tryst to be racially sensitive, the narrative gets too silly for liking. The story shifts between too many sub plots that ends up making the narrative a convoluted mess.
Unlike this year’s The Jungle Book which was visually fascinating, this one lacks the visual finesse and palpability. The action is underwhelming and though the earnestness of Alexander Skarsgard works, the overt grim tone of the film is a downer.
Yates fails to give his leading man any depth. Though Tarzan wears his brawny side in style but a lack of insight into his psyche, makes the film a weak brew. This Tarzan is sincere but roars tad too late.