Tbere’s a wonderful, lengthy post by Greg Hatcher and Comic Book Resources that any Edgar Rice Burroughs fan is going to love. It takes the reader through Hatcher’s first introduction to Tarzan via TV and comics, then his discovery of the books, his anticipation for Legend of Tarzan, and then his spoiler-free experience of seeing the film. Highly recommended. Prior to going in — he had written down the key things he was looking for — and after viewing it, he answered the question — how did the movie do on those key points. Here are some of them:
…Tarzan is a polished Englishman who turns feral at need, torn between civilization and savagery, fully at home in neither. He is NOT a grunting caveman like Johnny Weissmuller. He is the Hugh Jackman Wolverine, basically, but in a loincloth.
Dear God yes. Skarsgard NAILS it. He is terrific.
Much has been made of how ‘cut’ and ‘ripped’ Alexander Skarsgard got for this role, but the important part is the guy can ACT, he can use his eyes to convey emotion. Tarzan is a role that demands this talent; a lot of your story is going to be a guy interacting with animals and growling. You need an actor who can sell it. Moreover, the story itself plays up this conflict between the civilized Lord Greystoke and the savage Tarzan. The key thing about Tarzan is that he is always superior but never entirely comfortable. Among the apes his human intellect makes him better but apart– among humans, his animal traits make him at best a bit odd, and at worst they are scary. The only person that really understands him is Jane, and she is the only one who truly puts him at ease. That’s what makes her important. Which brings us to…
…the ‘great apes,’ that is to say, the mangani that Burroughs described, with their own language and savage rituals.
Yes. Not just the apes, but they’re actually CALLED ‘mangani’– I almost levitated with glee a little when Tarzan is explaining that the shorter route is more dangerous because ‘it runs through the mangani lands–‘ and then, and probably no one in the theater but me got this, but I actually did let out a tiny YEAH! of delight when one of those apes was named Akut, whom we met in the original novel The Beasts of Tarzan and again in The Son of Tarzan.
There’s lot’s more. Go. Read.