TO WHAT WAS pure fiction about a White man from an aristocratic family in England brought up by apes in Africa, this film has added a historical background. King Leopold of Belgium sets up ‘The Congo Free State’ in 1885. It uses slave labour to exploit the country, long after the abolition of slavery. To emphasise this violation of international law, there is a character in this film, somewhat inappropriately called George Washington Williams (Samuel L Jackson). He is an anti-slavery emissary from the US who convinces Lord Greystoke—Tarzan, in his English avatar—to return to the Congo to expose the nefarious Belgians.
The best scenes in the film have Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgård) swinging from the trees. There is great rhythm in his movement, and when Tarzan leaps onto a train moving at 40 miles an hour, it is quite aesthetic. It is also nice to see the harmonious balance between human society and nature that Tarzan, his wife Jane (Margot Robbie), and the inhabitants of the villages strive towards. Tarzan, of course, can speak to animals as well, and takes their help. The emphasis on environment-friendly interpretations of the legend gives you an interesting Tarzan, but a somewhat tame one. It also slows the narrative of the film down considerably.