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A domesticated man living in London, Tarzan is called to the African jungle to serve as an emissary but things are not as they seem when greed and corruption center on a mining operation that sends Tarzan back into his old ways. Alexander Skarsgård, as the titular hero is in fine form and we seen a lot more of him (both on screen and without clothes) in this two and half minute clip than before. Deciding to keep him silent again, we see him only interact with the people and animals that accompany him, though we are left with a faint echo of his famous call. That leaves Margot Robbie as Jane and Christoph Waltz as Captain Rom, the film’s antagonist, to do the talking, and they sure spar a lot. Clearly, Rom has kidnapped Tarzan’s wife and from what is shown, is a very bad idea.
While the first clip featured some sketchy CGI, things look to have been cleaned up far better, and though it’s still hard to take Skarsgård swinging about (it seems like the same footage of him on a vine is used over and over on different backdrops) seriously, the trailer has a lot more depth and investment. Waltz, playing the Waltz character is always good as the bad guy, and he sneers and verbally jabs appropriately, but it’s what Robbie is doing with Jane that holds the most interest. Giving the character a more modern feel, she is, as shown, under Rom’s thumb for most of the clip, but she’s not going quietly. She’s fierce, and even though she says that her husband will come for her, you can’t help but feel like she is going to have a lot to say about how it all ends.
There are some brief moments of the couple in London as well, and in fact, the trailer suggests there is a lot of ground to cover in the story as we are getting a bit of Tarzan’s origin, his parent’s fate, his move to England, his relationship with Jane and his coming back to Africa. That’s not even mentioning who Captain Rom is and what his schemes are. An unseen John Hurt, playing Professor Archimedes Q. Porter, adds a lot of depth in the exposition voice over, and it’s a nice touch though hopefully limited only to the tailer as narration.
Directed by Peter Yates, of Harry Potter fame, we can be assured the action and pacing are in good hands. But it’s a crowded year for boys in the jungle with Disney’s The Jungle Book and Pete’s Dragon reboots coming soon, so we’ll have to wait to see if Tarzan and his 100-year-old story can pull people into the theater.
The Legend of Tarzan opens July 1, 2016.
Adam Cozad (screenplay), Craig Brewer (screenplay)
Margot Robbie, Alexander Skarsgård, Christoph Waltz, John Hurt