Warner Brothers re-imagines an ancient icon for a new generation and hopes to find an audience. Can a jungle lord raised by apes find his place among todays superheroes? He can if he's played by Alexander Skarsgard. Mr. Skarsgard has plenty of female fans from his time on cable TV and he doesn't disappoint, swinging through the jungle, half naked. Although, sorry ladies, no loincloth for this hero. For the men in the audience, the lovely Margot Robbie, plays Jane Porter, Tarzan's love interest and for this version, quite the feminist.
The film also stars Samuel L. Jackson as an American government agent helping Tarzan and serving as light comic relief. The villain of the film is played by Christoph Waltz, who can do these roles in his sleep. Dijimon Hounsou also co-stars as a tribal chief with a grudge again Tarzan that sets the plot in motion.
CGI is the other star of the film. So much so that is becomes hard to tell reality from the created reality. CGI has come such a long way that this film could have easily been shot in a back lot in California and all the animals and scenery added later. I actually started to wonder if the actors were real.
What is real, however, are some truths behind the fictional story of Tarzan. King Leopold of Belgium actually did rule the Congo and slaughtered and enslaved millions to rape the land of minerals and other natural resources. His chief agent in the Congo was a sadist named Leon Rom, who is gleefully played by Mr. Waltz. Even though Tarzan triumphs (no surprise) there is a sadness that permeates throughout the film, watching people as well as animals slaughtered by greedy, ignorant men that stains the "action adventure" and love story, the studio was hoping to achieve.