The Source for Youth Ministry

Movie Reviews
by Todd Pearage

Legend of Tarzan, The (10/7/2016)

Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, some sensuality and brief rude dialogue.

Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson

Directed by David Yates (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 & 2)

Todd's Rating: Rental

Dynamic ImageThis is not Disney’s Tarzan.

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.

When my 18-year old daughter was 3, we used to watch the animated Disney Tarzan movie almost every day. That film had a great story, great cast and an amazing soundtrack…I still know the words to most of the songs. Fast forward 15 years and my daughter and I sat in the theater watching the latest version and we were both pretty disappointed when the credits rolled.

The movie is not horrible. In fact the cast is pretty good, the cinematography is impressive, the CGI is fantastic but the story gets stuck in the mud.

We see the backstory (baby is raised in the jungle by gorillas, learns to communicate with animals, meets Jane and has to re-assimilate into British society) all in flashbacks, which I will admit I’m not the biggest fan of. We also get a heavy dose of an uncomfortable storyline focused on the slave trade in the 1880s; making it difficult to see whom this film was actually made for.

Alexander Skarsgard stars as John Clayton, aka Tarzan, who at the start of the film is a fully integrated, distinguished gentleman living in London and married to Jane (Margot Robbie). Side note, we actually never get to hear the "me Tarzan, you Jane" line...oh well. Alexander is less than stellar. He has very few spoken lines and most of the time he just stares blankly into the air…oh and he’s shirtless most of the film. Margot is stronger than the Jane we would expect for that time period, making us wonder, who is the hero of the film?

Christoph Waltz is great playing the evil colonialist slave trader…as if there was any doubt. Then there's an additional subplot with Djimon Hounsou as the chief of a tribe who is trying to destroy Tarzan. Honestly this whole storyline felt forced and completely unnecessary.

I will say that my favorite parts were of Tarzan swinging though the jungle with the gorillas. Those scenes were intense and crazy loud.

The Legend of Tarzan is too violent for young kids and too silly for adults. The heart of the story has been removed making it just a “Rental.”

There is no nudity, but there is one scene where Jane and Tarzan kiss and sex is suggested.

There is one S-word and a handful of other profanities.

  1. What are some things you remember about Tarzan?

  2. What do you remember about his sense of justice? What are some examples?

  3. Read Micah 6:8

      He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

  4. What are some injustices you see around you?

  5. What if anything can you do to right those wrongs?

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

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