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Why hasn't Tarzan been given any justice?

The Phantom

Feb 5, 2005
Reaction score
I know I'm probably in the minority here, but I truely feel that Tarzan deserves a new live action movie done totally in the vain of the ERB books.

For awhile now, Tarzan has been seen as this innocent, but loveable type of hero, all the way back to the Buster Crabbe days. That's all great and dandy if your a kid, but for someone who's actually read the book, I wish they'd make a seriously mature, gritty Tarzan flick.

The animated Disney version was dabbed a tiny bit into this which is why I liked it, but it still saw Tarzan as this innocent character. I want them to make a live action Tarzan movie that shows what the character was all about and what made him so cool.

I want them to show the true brutality of being raised in the jungle. I want them to show what man truely is like when all he knows is animal instinct.

I want them to show the cruelty of the natives and how they tortured their prisoners.

Two thirds of the movie would have very little dialogue, and start with Lord Greystoke and his wife getting abandoned on the jungle and their brutal death and basically just show Tarzan's bloody rise to the top of the food chain with Jane coming in at the end of the movie.

It'd be a lot like PJ's King Kong but on a smaller scale.
So you want The Passion of the Christ, with Tarzan? ;)
I guess you could call it that. The Passion of Greystoke.
Is it safe to assume you havent seen "Greystoke, the legend of Tarzan, Lord of th Apes"?
Its not perfect, sets itsself some lofty ideals, but its not bad. I dont think Christopher Lambert has ever been better, TBH
here is a review from DVD review:

If you've never seen the 1984 production "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes," you may be in a for surprise. It doesn't follow the usual pattern of a Tarzan story. Instead, it follows the book.

The character of Tarzan was created by author Edgar Rice Burroughs for a short story in 1912, followed up by the first of a series of novels, "Tarzan of the Apes," in 1914. "Greystoke" attempts to adhere to the story line of the original Tarzan book, resulting in a movie that isn't so much an action-adventure saga as other Tarzan films have been as it is a straightforward drama. It was, after all, Burroughs' intent in the early days of his Tarzan creation to make more of a sociological statement than a histrionic one, the idea of the Primal Man, the Noble Savage, and all that. He wanted to show how much more civilized so-called primitive nature could be than conventional civilization itself. Later, the Tarzan series developed into the pure adventure stories we know today, a series to which Burroughs contributed some twenty-five novels, selling over 25,000,000 co
It's a different approach and will not satisfy viewers intent on seeing thrilling fights and derring-do.

But whereas most other Tarzan movies concentrate on the later stories of the Ape Man's escapades with sundry evildoers, "Greystoke" concentrates on the origins and evolution of the character himself. It's a different approach and will not satisfy viewers intent on seeing thrilling fights and derring-do. "Greystoke" is a character study, pure and simple; a rather far-fetched character study, I must admit, but about as close to Burroughs' basic intentions as we're likely to see on the big screen.

"Greystoke" is broken up into two parallel stories: Tarzan's upbringing in the jungles of Africa and his return to the more polite society of Great Britain. Part of the fun of the movie is noting that the happiness, hardships, conflicts, enemies, and loved ones he encounters in both realms are largely the same.

The story begins in 1885 when the son and daughter-in-law of the fabulously wealthy Sixth Earl of Greystoke (Sir Ralph Richardson) decide to head out to new climes, where they are soon shipwrecked on the inhospitable West Coast of Africa. They appear to be the only survivors (the captain apparently goes mad and quickly disappears from the scene) and make do as best they can, building a lodging in the trees and living off the land. Within a year or so, the wife has a child (well, at least they weren't completely bored), whom they name John Clayton. But then more disaster befalls them; the wife dies of malaria and the father is attacked and killed by an ape intent on kidnapping the baby. Smart ape; he knew a good series of stories when he saw one.

Young Tarzan, who, incidentally, is never actually called "Tarzan" by anyone in the picture, is raised by the apes, where he discovers that while he might not be as strong as they are, he is smarter. He learns to use tools, like a knife he finds, and by the time he's in his teens, he lords it over his companions.

Anyway, this beginning section of the story lasts about an hour and is quite rousing in its adventure. Then Tarzan (or John or whomever) is "found" by a Belgian explorer, Phillippe D'Arnot (Ian Holm). I'm not sure Tarzan needed to be found, as I'm sure he knew he wasn't lost in the first place, but you know those Europeans. If you're not in Europe, you're obviously lost. So D'Arnot figures out that Tarzan is really the heir to the Greystoke family and fortune because of a locket he's wearing, and he persuades the young man to return home with him.

Jane (Andie MacDowell) doesn't figure into the picture until later; meanwhile, it's D'Arnot who teaches Tarzan to speak, the young primitive having an uncanny knack for mimicking anyone or anything he hears. Once back in England at the enormous Greystoke estate, Tarzan must learn civilized customs and manners, but he finds just as many challenges as he did in the jungle. At least the apes were more polite than a few of the Englishmen he encounters, like Jane's suitor, Lord Charles Esker (James Fox).

Richardson steals the show as the eccentric old grandfather. It was to be one of his last movies, and he went out in grand style. The rest of the acting is mediocre at best but serves the story. Lambert is lithe and athletic rather than brawny or brutish, and he mostly needs only to grunt once in a while. He looks good in the part. MacDowell is radiant, but she hasn't much to do in the film. Fox, as is his wont lately, plays a scoundrel. And I kept imagining Ian Holm with his Belgian accent as Hercule Poirot. (By coincidence, David Suchet is also in the film, who later did play Poirot.) Despite the Holm-Poirot resemblance, Holm presents a good, patient, understanding father figure to the lost boy of the wilderness.

The director is Hugh Hudson, who has a penchant for epic-sized films. A couple of years earlier he did "Chariots of Fire," giving track runners a glamour he here imparts to apes. The cinematography by John Alcott is spectacular and may be the best part of the show. Filmed in Cameroon, Scotland, and England, the landscapes are gorgeous to behold. The screenplay was cowritten by Michael Austin and, surprisingly, by Robert Towne (credited as P.H. Vazak). Towne is the fellow who also gave us "Chinatown," "Shampoo," and "Mission Impossible 1 & 2." The music was composed and conducted by John Scott, owing a good deal to Edward Elgar and Gustav Holst. There's even a musical overture before the film begins. And the primate makeup and costumes were done by Rick Baker, famous for his work on "Star Wars," "An American Werewolf in London," "Men in Black," the most-recent "Planet of the Apes," and practically every other special-effects movie in the past thirty years.

Points of interest (well, to me, anyway): One of Tarzan's first words is "razor," a straight razor, an instrument he has apparently never seen before but quickly learns to use. Yet, it doesn't appear he needs the razor because even though Lambert is clearly a grown man by the time D'Arnot shows up, he is clean shaven. Has he been shaving all this time with the knife he found? If so, why the great surprise at a straight razor? Interestingly, too, while in his youth and early teens Tarzan goes about naked; but by the time he's being played by Lambert, he's wearing a loincloth. Presumably, he's learned modesty from the neighboring tribesmen (or from the movie ratings board).

The second half of the film is all about Tarzan's reactions to the civilized world. It's amusing for a while but doesn't maintain the dramatic tension of the first half. The movie's single greatest weakness, in fact, is its lack of a central conflict beyond Tarzan's amazement at his new surroundings. The whole story is mainly a series of reactions on Tarzan's part to the differing worlds he's engaged in. But, as I said in the beginning, I did enjoy the way the two parts of the movie mirrored one another, both in their agonies and their joys.

The movie ends with a rather goofy, if touching and highly unlikely, incident. It reminds us that this story was written a long time ago and wears its heart on its sleeve. It's a refreshing change of pace.

inceidentally, if you do ever see it, andi MacDowells voice was dubbed cos she could get an english accent
Screw mundane old Tarzan.


Th^t's what I want to see.
Much like Aquaman, Tarzan can't get any love.
Remember Tarzan and the Lost City, that low budget one with Casper Van Dien? :p

Though a new PG-13 one needs to be made.
I'd like to see a true to the book Tarzan movie.

Although, it might have to be a porno once Jane gets into the picture...you know them monkeys and their humping..:o
logansoldcigar said:
Is it safe to assume you havent seen "Greystoke, the legend of Tarzan, Lord of th Apes"?
Its not perfect, sets itsself some lofty ideals, but its not bad. I dont think Christopher Lambert has ever been better, TBH
here is a review from DVD review:

inceidentally, if you do ever see it, andi MacDowells voice was dubbed cos she could get an english accent

I don't know what your smoking but I just watched Greystoke, the legend of Tarzan... It is NOT Tarzan, I mean it isn't bad but it certainly isn't Tarzan. Gone are the awesome fight scenes, gone is the cool ape society, the cannible tribe has becoem nothing but fodder, and there are some other things. Tarzan was essentially turned into a stupid ******ed ***** who mumbles the entire time, the movie was okay but some people were saying it's faithful to the book and what not, and it really isn't. It completely changed the character.
That one Tarzan with Casper Van Damme or whatever was horrid. :down
Stormyprecious said:
Van Dien. Most movies he's in are, except Sleepy Hollow.
Ah, I was close, thanks. And I agree.
christopher lamberts first english speaking role..and he fantastic in it.

ROBOCOP CPU001 said:
christopher lamberts first english speaking role..and he fantastic in it.


What is so great about it? All he does is brood and mumble the entire time...
Nobody can take a jungle man seriously if he doesnt have a beard.

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