Hoping to get a head start on a summer packed full of blockbusters this year, is the latest incarnation of the story of Tarzan, one of Edgar Rice Burroughs most iconic literary characters. It’s not the first time we’ve seen the loincloth clad hero on the big screen, nor will it be the last with another big budget adaptation already in the works.
This time round the story has been watered down to make it more kiddie friendly but despite the modernisation of the story, it manages to still capture the heart and soul of the character and his love affair with his jungle home.
Tarzan, who we meet initially as JJ, a young boy born into a wealthy family and whose parents are energy entrepreneurs, finds himself in the heart of the jungle and all alone after a fatal helicopter crash while on an expedition with his parents.
JJ is the sole survivor and takes refuge with a group of apes who take him in as one of their own and raise him to love and respect the wild landcape that ends up his new home. The years roll by and he grows up into the vine-swinging hero we all know and love, but his past returns when Greystoke Energies, the company his family had built, return to the jungle seeking to find a hidden new power source despite the damage it may cause to the local environment.
Though the budget on Tarzan may not be on the same scale as any Pixar movie, it does manage to make the most of it’s story and bring to life the character and the jungle setting for which he is most famous. Tarzan swings by at a brisk enough pace and with enough drama and upbeat action that it’s easy to get caught up in the adventure and with star Kellan Lutz providing performance capture as well as his vocal talents to the mix, the movie is elevated beyond the slew of animated tales that find themselves straight to the shelves of the local supermarket.
As well as Tarzan’s bid to halt the destruction of his home, there’s also a surprisingly affecting love story with Jane (Spencer Locke) and some comedy relief in the form of his excellent ape family. Those who’ve yet to see a Tarzan movie will likely get a kick out of this movie and the impressive 3D, as well as it’s fast-paced set-pieces ensure that as far as family trips to the cinema go, Tarzan is one that will have a little something for everyone.
(Images courtesy Collider, Constantin Films, Empire)