The story of the Greystoke child abandoned in the jungle and raised by apes to become Tarzan is just over 100 years old and has graced our screens probably more than most fictional characters. This ‘new take’ on an old story finds the Greystoke family in the jungle searching for a power source linked to a meteorite that landed on earth millions of years ago. When the mysticism surrounding the meteorite causes an accident the Greystoke child is left in the jungle to be raised by the apes. As he grows he becomes more ape than man, but when a young woman called Jane appears in the jungle he falls in love with one of his own kind only for her to leave soon after. When she returns years later they must fight to defend the jungle against an evil corporation.
It’s hard to know where to start here and that is primarily because the movie itself fails to find it’s own launch point. The opening explanation of goings on and build up takes approximately 45 minutes, that’s around half the running time. It is totally unnecessary and is littered with a very poorly scripted narration that grates so much it’s ridiculous. The narration probably would have worked if it had been used for a short intro but it is ever present and when it has to start filling in the blanks in the latter half, because half of the movie has been spent setting it up, it gets worse.
Added to a poorly told story is the very poor CG that makes everyone look like dead behind the eyes Barbie dolls and they miss a number of chances to improve the visuals by not using various jump sequences and waterfalls appropriately. Budget must have been an issue at some point as well, as there is a fight scene at the beginning between two apes that is subsequently used again – replacing one ape with Tarzan- laziness or budget? It is hard to know. It is also very dark; it will be hard to keep children engaged with the dull colours of the shadowy rainforest. There is one sequence outside of this environment and it is the best thing in the movie until a Coldplay track appears and you really start to wonder what they were spending their money on.
Taking too long to tell the most unimportant element of the story and never really managing to make the audience care what’s going to happen, Tarzan is one to avoid.