Yesterday we saw the first images from the Alexander Skarsgard Tarzan movie, officially titled The Legend of Tarzan, and today we have a trailer. It’s not disastrously bad, but man, I don’t understand anything about this movie. This trailer makes it look weirdly dark and grim—the Batmanning of Tarzan—until the end when there is a decent sight gag with a teacup. And the final shot is of Tarzan about to face punch a gorilla, which is ridiculous but more in line with what this movie probably should be: A ridiculous action monster mash. So I can’t get a handle on what Tarzan is supposed to be—dark gritty reboot of the story, or over the top spectacle?
The plot is even more obtuse. If you just go by the trailer, it looks like 2 Fast 2 Gorilla, with a bunch of aerial chases as Tarzan swings through the jungle, and a Generically European Bad Guy (Christoph Waltz, who is ALWAYS watchable). But the synopsis sheds a little more light on it—by the start of the movie, Tarzan has already returned to civilization and married Jane, then they return to Africa on some kind of trade expedition. It looks like Christoph Waltz kidnaps Jane, and Tarzan has to fight everyone up to an including gorillas to get her back. Maybe? Samuel L. Jackson is also in this, god knows why.
You know what this reminds me of? The Lone Ranger. There are elements here and there that work, but overall, I don’t understand how these parts come together in the same movie. There’s the same kind of “who is this for?” vibe, and it looks like a weird mix of serious and farcical. It’s not clear what’s happening, I don’t understand what it’s supposed to be, and I don’t know who it’s for. And I am scared for anyone trying to portray colonial Africa in a way that won’t be culturally horrifying.