21 August 2016 | paulijcalderon
Realistic and tragic, and it doesn't shy away
Probably the most serious and realistic adaptation of Tarzan I've seen. The first act is great. The harshness and grittiness in the tone was a great way to set the mood. The second half is good and has some better moments, but it doesn't hold up as well as the first half and leaves the film a little anticlimactic.
The development and exploration of John/Tarzan's character is well thought out and the performance was really believable. Ian Holm is fantastic in the film as his friend and the journey they make together should have been explored more. Going into the film i expected to see a film where Tarzan defends his animal friends from evil humans in the jungle, but I got a very grounded and simple film about a man trying to adapt into a life he naturally wasn't raised for. The duality and having to choose between the two lives is an interesting concept, but it leaves it unresolved in my opinion.
There are some very dramatic and sad moments here too. The bond between the apes and the man is felt more than the bond between humans sometimes. The apes have their cheesy moments, but there's also really strong and emotional moments too. The detail in the costumes switches around a bit. The best compliment to the ape costumes I can give is that the eyes where done so well that I actually thought those were real ape ayes.
There are even some scenes that deal with the human beings desire to kill and rip apart other animals, like dissecting, hunting and chaining them up. Seeing those things from Tarzan's perspective was a bit haunting and heartbreaking and you feel the conflict.
Some great performances, great first half, gritty & grounded moments are all strong points, but it loses steam in the second half and drags on a bit for too long and leaves you feeling unresolved. The film also lacked more tension and intensity towards the end which would have picked the whole thing up and made up for the calmer moments. I like calmer films, but it really builds up to something exciting to happen, and it never does.
Still, it's probably the best adaptation of Tarzan I've seen and the one who truly makes you feel the tragedy of this truly sad and haunting tale. It ain't as light as you might expect.