It was easy to get psyched up for the first big-budget update of Tarzan in decades. While Hugh Hudson's "Greystoke" did an admirable job in its attempt to make the Edgar Rice Burroughs character and story seem worthy of an "UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS" type audience, its pacing was uneven and it felt like a bore for a wider audience.
Director David Yates has done some admirable work with his 4 films in the "Harry Potter" series, and it's hard to imagine any film featuring Christopher Waltz as the villain being anything less than great fun!
Alexandar Skarsgard is a fine actor but "Tarzan" doesn't need to have incredible depth to be effective, which is why Ron Ely, Christopher Lambert and Johnny Weissmuller were all more impressive in their portrayals. Margot Robbie was terrific in Wolf of Wall Street but she's horribly miscast here.
The opening sequence, involves a semi-supernatural mist within a jungle exploration setting as violent natives outnumber soldiers and picking them off suddenly. It's an appropriately eerie introduction and lays out some potentially intriguing back-story. Unfortunately, the narrative jumps(or rather plods) to Tarzan and Jane living in comfort in London as events unfold to bring them back to the jungle they both miss and love. Slavery is also brought into the story and the script attempts to offer depth but fails. "THE LEGEND OF TARZAN" really called out for a light comedic touch akin to what Lorenzo Semple Jr did with his "KING KONG" remake, but there's no sense of humor here and asking an audience to take the story at hand as seriously as it's asked to, in just ridiculous.
There are some visually stunning moments and the action sequences are impressive. Unfortunately, even while running under 2 hours, "THE LEGEND OF TARZAN" feels much, much longer. Taking the audience around the world should be fun and involving but what's offered is just a long, bumpy, plane ride.
WARNER BROS has provided a 4K UltraHD blu-ray release(including the standard blu-ray and UHD digital code for VUDU), a blu-ray 3d release(along with standard blu-ray) and an individual blu-ray release.
The correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio is retained for this release. The standard blu-ray offers vibrant colors and impressive, natural hues "for the most part." The distinction is made due to filters utilized during various jungle scenes, wherein hues can feel a bit unnatural. The 4K is immediately noticeable as a major improvement in regards to the breadth of color range in comparison to the standard blu-ray. Up-converted from a 2K DI, greens are deeper, hence the forest and its layers of leaves, trees, bark, twisting branches and other elements all come to life with a sense of richness that's just left in the shade on standard blu-ray!
As big a budget as "THE LEGEND OF TARZAN" was purported to have had, the CGI effects are inconsistent in quality. At times, they succeed in lending key elements to action sequences, aka the destruction of a port, swinging through trees towards a racing train. But, more often they look gimmicky and unnatural. These flaws are only magnified with the superior resolution offered on 4K. So, while the UltraHD version is easily recommended as the superior presentation of the various releases, it still makes the film production's limitations all the more noticeable.
The Blu-ray 3D presentation offers a generally impressive transfer. Whereas in general, 3D transfers suffer from an overall reduction in brightness, this 3D presentation isn't hindered in comparison to the standard blu-ray. Although the 3D was created post-production, the effects feel natural and compelling. The full potential of 3D is rendered during Tarzan's swinging through the forest and it's impressive! The 3D genuinely makes these moments breath-taking and it, in this critic's opinion, makes the 3D option much more compelling than the standard blu-ray option.
The same Dolby Atmos mix is offered on all 3 presentations. While the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD offer a fully immersive experience, the ATMOS just ups the ante! Whether it's passing from one vine to another in a rapidly moving chase through the jungle sequence or debris flying by and above the audience following an explosion, the increased impact of overhead speakers provides a much fuller experience and shouldn't be missed! The dynamic range offered here, along with deep bass effects, shakes the room appropriately, and rouses the audience!
A variety of featurettes is offered(1080p)