On Tuesday night in Burbank, what could be the toughest audience of all — friends, family, and lifelong fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs including John Burroughs, the grandson of ERB — emerged from a special screening at Warner Brothers Studios and lavished heartfelt praise on the movie they had just seen.
For context, you have to imagine — these are long-suffering folks who, while they have embraced some of what Hollywood has offered in its previous fifty plus attempts (Tarzan and His Mate, the second Weissmuller film, gets some love) — they have generally suffered through a recurring experience ranging from mild to acute disappointment whenever they trek to a studio for their special screening of the next Burroughs movie just before it’s release.
So what was the reaction this time?
As the credits ended and the lights went up, John Burroughs stood up and was heard to say: “Thank God, we finally have a winner.” Then he slipped out a side door and spent ten minutes walking alone on the darkened studio lot. When he returned to the lobby, I had a chance to talk to him. He was elated — and visibly moved as he talked about the movie. “I’m speechless.. . . Finally there is one that my grandfather would have appreciated. It’s beautiful, everything about it is beautiful. I’m so grateful.”
With the help of Cathy Wilbanks of ERB Inc, I got a picture with John. His smile says more than any words can possibly say and it was very special for me to be standing in the glow of what he was clearly feeling.
In the scramble in the lobby, parking lot, and back at the hotel, I managed to grab reactions from as many as I could. It seems that John Burroughs was not alone in approving of what David Yates has done with the prized creation of Edgar Rice Burroughs. (I think that in addition to what they said in the lobby, I will also add what people are saying about the movie on their facebook pages….)
“The best Tarzan movie of them all, and I’ve seen every single one of them.” James G. “Huck” Huckenpohler.
“Absolutely fantastic. . . . This magnanimous, awe-inspiring, action-packed, passionate film took me on a roller coaster of emotions. Happiness that we finally got the Tarzan movie we’ve always waited for. Sadness when the credits rolled and we had to leave our hero and heroine again. Retribution when our hero does… What he does. Overwhelming passion for the relationships in the film, both woman and beast alike. This is 99% the perfect Tarzan film, and the color of his hair really isn’t that big a deal, is it?”
“I’ve seen it three times — it gets better and better. I love it.”
“It’s better than any of the other Tarzan movies, but I don’t have a high opinion of many of them, so that’s not saying too much, but it’s a pretty darn good movie.
Without doubt, the greatest TARZAN film ever made! See it twice! See it thrice! An amazingly exciting and emotional adventure!
(I did find one, but only one, naysayer — so here he is, God Bless ya, Tim……)
I had the same problem as Greystoke. Liked the first half, not the second.
I saw “The Legend of Tarzan” at a special Warner Bros. screening last night with some 200 other diehard fans. It is joyous. . . Since childhood, this is the Tarzan I’ve wanted to see on screen, faithful in spirit to the Burroughs novels. The jungle is raw. The dangers are “real.” The villains are badder than bad. The historical period may not fully satisfy the Tarzan chronologists, but it’s close enough and serves the exciting story it wants to tell. The gorillas are gorillas-plus (mangani). We even get a glimpse of the gates of Opar. . . . But most important, the portrayals of Tarzan and Jane are spot-on. You believe this couple from start to finish. (And yes, the loincloth DOES make an appearance. Be patient, my friends.) . . . Is the movie perfect? Probably not, but it comes so damn close that I don’t care. . . . See the movie now, in a theater, rather than wait. It needs to prove itself in the marketplace NOW so the studio will make more of them.
I loved it. I liked that there were lots of special effects, but that they did not overdo the violence. They packed so much into it, I will need to see it again and again and will enjoy it every time. Rush to your theater!
There were at least a half dozen others that I talked to, all glowingly favorable, but I wasn’t taking notes and so if you read this and were there — leave a comment below so I can incorporate it into the “archival version” for posterity! Meanwhile I will gather some more comments from here on the interwebs.