Tarzan: The battle between the book and the movie

December 05, 2016

Anne Stewart

astewart@uccs.edu

“The Legend of Tarzan” (2016)

Rate: 3/5 stars

     Released in June of 2016, “The Legend of Tarzan” follows the iconic jungle man Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) as he adjusts to life in London with wife Jane Porter (Margot Robbie).

     Released in June of 2016, “The Legend of Tarzan” follows the iconic jungle man Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) as Tarzan, also known as John Clayton III or Lord Greystroke in the film, has left his African home to take his ancestors’ family name.

     Tarzan is called back to Africa to find the truth about the questionable condition of the people of the Congo. But his return may present dangers to himself and Jane, as he is a wanted man by Mbongo (Djimon Hounsou), a tribal chief and the father of a man Tarzan killed.

     The framing of this version of the story interested me. I was familiar with Disney’s 1999 cartoon version of the film, so the introduction to new characters and their motivations added to the already familiar story.

     George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson), an American diplomatic messenger, goes to Africa with Tarzan and Jane. Jackson’s acting was enjoyable, but I was thrown off when he threw in modern lingo with the line, “we’re screwed.”

     Modern slang in a movie set during the 1900’s felt inauthentic, but it was easy to move past. Even though the movie was cheesy, playing on themes from the recognizable Disney counterpart, it was entertaining.

     With action and a good plot, this movie is a fine choice for a Friday night after all your homework has been done, or maybe even before.

“Tarzan of the Apes” (1912)

Rate: 5/5 stars

     I was interested to pick up the book after watching the movie; this is not the usual order I am accustomed to. I could not wait to see what the story looked like in print.

     Edgar Rice Burroughs’s “Tarzan of the Apes” is told from a secondhand perspective of someone who has heard the story through word-of- mouth. The book spans the course of Tarzan’s life, illustrating the ways he came to be a legend.

     Burroughs draws the audience in, beginning the story in a way that makes the reader believe they don’t want to miss anything. But the author’s explanations of Tarzan’s life, like the political order of the ape tribes, were confusing.

     Burroughs also incorporates humor in such a way that pleasantly surprises his audience and creates an interesting female character.

     Jane is strong and smart, yet readers should remember that the author comes from a different era when taking in her thoughts, decisions and actions. His old-fashioned themes entertain the reader, and make the book a quick but interesting read.

     The book was different from the movie. The novel explained the life of not only Tarzan, but also his parents and how they came to live in the jungle, something that the 2016 film does not do.

     Should readers wish to find out what happens, the answers are beyond the last page of this book, as it is only the first of 23 in the author’s series about Tarzan.