There’s a lot I’m hesitant about in terms of the new live-action Legend of Tarzan, but the movie’s talent is not one of them. I loved director David Yates’ work on Harry Potter, and judging from this trailer, Margot Robbie, Alexander Skarsgård, and Cristoph Waltz are all perfectly cast (Samuel L. Jackson and Djimon Hounsou also star, but they’re featured a lot less in this preview).
But as Charline wrote when the first trailer arrived last year, Legend of Tarzan‘s source material gives the new movie some uncomfortable associations, to say the least. The Tarzan character, who first appeared in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ 1912 book Tarzan of the Apes, reflected the xenophobia, colonial values, and outdated gender norms of that era. It’s possible for a thoughtful adaptation to challenge the source material’s prejudices, rather than reinforce them; but simultaneous fetishization and condemnation of “the jungle” and the people who are indigenous to it is so intrinsic to the Tarzan mythology that I’m not super optimistic.
All that being said, I do appreciate the crack at damseling Margot Robbie makes in this trailer as Jane, so…maybe there’s hope yet? Here’s a synopsis of the film, for what it’s worth:
It has been years since the man once known as Tarzan (Skarsgård) left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane (Robbie) at his side. Now, he has been invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, unaware that he is a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by the Belgian, Captain Leon Rom (Waltz). But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash.
Will you be checking out Legend of Tarzan when it arrives July 1st (Happy Canada day!), or giving this one a pass?
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