I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really know how to write a review. I think the last review that I wrote was probably from some time before 2010. But, since I am endeavouring to better express my sentiments, I’m going to try anyway.
Watching this movie was quite a spontaneous decision. A friend felt guilty for watching Me Before You without me – a movie we had originally planned to watch together – and was adamant about making it up to me. The only other movie I had a vague sort of interest in watching, that I hadn’t already watched, was The Legend of Tarzan, having been intrigued by the trailer.
And what a movie it was. I’m so glad I watched it.
I’d never really given much thought to how the famous character of Tarzan was conceptualised. I suppose that I had subconsciously grouped it together with the likes of Pocahontas, an old legend transformed into a family-friendly Disney film. And so, I walked in to the movie theatre expecting to see a real-life rendition of Tarzan’s discovery and the subsequent assimilation and acculturation into British (or American?) society. How so very delightfully wrong I was.
The movie is not about Tarzan’s discovery, but is instead centred around Tarzan and Jane’s return to Africa after 10 years of living as British nobility. It does tell the story of Tarzan and Jane’s first meeting, though, along with Tarzan’s background, through a series of simple but emotional flashbacks. These flashbacks are interspersed throughout the main storyline, adding depth to both main characters and heightening the sense of their deep connection. Tarzan and Jane are the perfect couple, made for each other. Alexander Skarsgård and Margot Robbie have an electric chemistry. I fell in love with the couple as I simultaneously loved Skarsgård’s frequent state of shirtlessness (those abs) and aspired to become more like Robbie.
Skarsgård’s Tarzan is a man of few words, yet he is stoic without being unemotional. Maybe it’s a Swedish thing. His quietness lends his character an impressive inscrutable, brooding quality that sends teenage girls worldwide swooning in their chairs (and yes, I include myself in that generalisation). Yet, perhaps somewhat contradictingly, he somehow manages to convey a plethora of emotions with a single look. Skarsgård contrasts Robbie’s Jane, who is a witty, feisty heroine who doesn’t sit around and wait for her lover’s rescue. She takes her fate into her own hands, and is thus the epitome of the 21st-century feminist female character. She achieve this without overshadowing the titular character, instead complimenting and completing him. All heroines hereafter should strive for Robbie’s awesomeness. Aussie Aussie Aussie! She has set a new standard for the postmodern heroine in a historical setting without seeming forced. Also, Margot is ridiculously gorgeous (I’m not jealous. This is me being not jealous). Hm.
Anyway, both performances are spectacular and utterly convincing. I wouldn’t hesitate to watch it again. It may just become one of my favourite movies – wondrous cinematography, bewitching acting, perfect pacing, a beautiful romance. What’s not to love?
Despite being utterly bamboozled at the start of the film (for a few minutes, my friend and I were convinced we were in the wrong cinema), this one is a movie to remember, with lots of layers that only become clearer upon reflection. This film is about the fierce, passionate, devoted love of a couple who could not be more perfect for each other. It is also about the cruelty of (white) humanity. It is a critique of capitalism. It is about human nature. It is about loyalty, community, family, the relationship between man and nature. It is a love story.
I could go on.
(Side note: I am increasingly convinced that the best books/movies/whatever are love stories. Because love makes the world go round.)
Being an avid book-reader, of course I hastened to read Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs as soon as I realised that the movie – and the whole Tarzan universe – is based on a series 25 (!!!) books long. I’ve read the first 2 books now, and while I am of the belief that the movie (well, this one anyway) is much better than the books, the original works aren’t too shabby either. Well done, Burroughs. I don’t know if I’ll end up reading the other 23 books yet. I guess we’ll see.
Incidentally, I’ve also gained a new appreciation for African (Congolese?) culture and Africa in general. The movie has really opened up my eyes to different experiences, and now I kind of want to volunteer in an African country after I graduate.
To my own Tarzan (I have one out there right?) – I’m ready for you to show up anytime now.