Why Tarzan needs a reboot

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Tarzan of the Apes is a book written by Edgar Rice Burroughs which contained a total of 28 books. We have 90 movies retelling the story of the ape man, which it has never been done properly. The books really made me fall in love with reading. As a child I read the books I was supposed to read in school and really only focused on comic books, but when my English teacher told me that it was one of his favorite books and was upset he couldn’t force us to read it, I thought maybe it’s worth taking a look at. After reading the first book in 2 sittings, I went out to Barnes & Noble and bought every Tarzan book they had available and set orders for what they didn’t have based on chronological order. I was smitten.

Tarzan in the books is VERY different than how he has been portrayed in the films that we all know. Tarzan killed Kerchak while protecting his mother, Kala. He killed the African tribesman who killed his mother, which then led to an association of black skin as evil. He killed his ape step dad, was nearly killed in his early youth, and watched many of his fellow child apes be killed by enemies. He was cocky and arrogant at first, realizing his mind was much more agile than his fellow apes and loved to play tricks and taunt those in his tribe he didn’t like.

He learned humility later on after many harsh battles. He was friends with Tantor the elephant, who was a ruthless killer. He befriended another African tribesman, Busuli of the Waziri tribe. Lastly, he gave up Jane so that she could marry others before him, denying his own namesake for her sake. He didn’t marry her until the third book.

Pretty fucking different and more interesting than the Disney version of Tarzan, which came out in 1999. In the books the animals acted like animals due to the extensive research the author did. Edgar made Tarzan a very feral character, struggling with his own discovery of self-identity as he learned more about man. Disney really brought the character back from the dead and cleaned up his image, making Tarzan’s own cousin Clayton the antagonist when in fact he was pretty noble character for the most part in the books. But of course Disney only presents black and white and no grey areas.

Another film titled Tarzan 3D is set to release this year starring Kellan Lutz and will be a motion capture film. It is being directed by Reinhard Kloss, produced by Constantin Film Produktion, a seemingly German company who is using Bavaria Film studio in Munich for the motion capture. The film also does not have a US release date but is being released in multiple countries throughout the world.

The problem is that the CG looks pretty terrible; the face shows no emotion and it actually looks like it could be a good video game, but not a movie. It looks as if they spent more time on the jungle (which does look good) and on the apes, but less time on Tarzan himself. This is rather disappointing to me because I thought Kellan Lutz was the perfect person to bring one of my favorite fictional characters to life.

Another film WAS set to come out this year, a live action version with actors like Alexander Skarsgard, Jessica Chastain, and Jamie Foxx. Due to budget restrictions, it has been put on hold and they will try again in 2014. Alexander Skarsgard would have been a great person to play Tarzan, but I would imagine him having to put on at least a bit more of muscle with Jamie Foxx potentially playing Busuli (speculation).

This could have finally been the film that Tarzan fans deserve, being that so many of us have wanted the Tarzan version from the books who was a ruthless killer and adventure seeker who lived in a much more animalistic way than the films have portrayed him. As a fan I am highly disappointed by this, but then again, who really gives a [frak] what I think, right?

Hopefully the studios bring this film back to life and do it the right way, because with so many books, there is definite potential for a HUGE franchise being that everyone is familiar with Tarzan. Hopefully we’ll get to see a darker and grittier version that will become a box office summer hit that no one expected.

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Robert Galvan
Robert Galvan 392 posts

For as long as he can remember, Robert asked the questions that others wouldn't about love, life, and death which brought about his interest in the human psyche and moral compass, resulting in an infatuation with comics, zombies, and movies leading to a long standing relationship with his imagination.