Moviebuzz site WhatCulture has anointed Legend of Tarzan as #15 on a list of “15 Terrible Looking 2016 Movies That Will Shockingly Make A Profit“. The very strange part is that the attempt to trash Legend of Tarzan is equal parts hilarity, obtuseness, and a few actually good insights that all add up to …. well, it’s hard to explain. But I’ll try.
So it starts with:
The Premise: A re-imagining of the classic Tarzan story, where the title character (Alexander Skarsgård) has left the jungle and reinvented himself as a man of repute in London, only to be called back to the jungle when Captain Léon Rom (Christoph Waltz) hatches a diabolical plan.
Why It Looks Awful: This is one of those movies that nobody ever really asked for, so you have to wonder why they even bothered.
Okay, so this is the weakest, drivelly (is that a word–filled with drivel) part of it because it’s just lazy and frankly, stupid, to say that a movie has no reason to exist unless everyone was asking for it. Remember what Steve Jobs always said — people don’t know what they want. That is Apple’s genius. They lead, they don’t follow. But that’s okay — this just says Jack Pooley who made the list has a limited imagination and can’t see where there could be value in the project. Okay, you’re not alone, Jack. We hear this all the time.
Though it’s ridiculously star-studded (also counting Samuel L. Jackson, Djimon Hounsou, John Hurt and Jim Broadbent among its supporting cast), what we’ve seen so far looks visually atrocious (especially the CGI) and incredibly messy.
It doesn’t help that reports have emerged that it’s a problem movie for Warner Bros., as director David Yates is stretched thin between editing it and directing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at the same time.
Yes, it really does have a deep cast. Don’t know what to say about the “visually atrocious” and “messy” … honestly, no one with any serious knowledge of design, cinematography, or anything like that is calling it “messy”. There have, of course, been whines about the CGI, as there always are because that’s easy to do, especially in trailers which come out before the CGI is final.
Then the obligatory reference to Kim Masters Hollywood Reporter article that is the one article that all lazy writer refer to. Yawn.
And there at the end you have what is actually a more or less on target comment. In fact — “super attractive rising stars” really does get at what LOT has with Skarsgard and Robbie — not only good names, but on a fast-rising trajectory. That is the most promising part of it, as far as any prospects for box office success are concerned.
It’s interesting that it says “The Tarzan name speaks volumes” …. oh, how I wish that were so. The truth is that the Tarzan name that helps is, sadly, Disney Tarzan. There is not doubt that there are a lot of millenials who grew up with Disney Tarzan and for them, the brand has appeal as a known brand. And of course the non-Disney Tarzan ( has appeal to the niche who have remained faithful to Burroughs’ books, and to a lesser extent (for me, anyway) the comics and the movies over the years But “Tarzan” is not a big draw any more than “Sherlock Holmes” was a big draw a few years ago.
Oh well, like I said — as much as this is an annoying piece of drivel in some senses, I do like the fact that it correctly assesses the appeal of the cast and David Yates as a package. And I like even more the fact that instead of projecting box office doom — it says ka-ching, it will be profitable.
So, er, thanks, I guess, sort of.