Book to movie adaptations : The Legend of Tarzan

the-legend-of-tarzan-movieI first fell in love with Tarzan when I read the novel ‘Tarzan of the Apes’ by Edgar Rice Burroughs(ERB) as a 14-year old. To say I was bowled over was an understatement.  I had never read anything like this.  Here was Tarzan going through life on a day-to-day basis,  falling in love with Jane and finally realising that he is John Clayton a.k.a Lord Greystoke.  It was an amazing story of adversities with vivid descriptions.

In the book,  Lord and Lady Greystoke are offloaded on the African wild coast as the ship is taken over by mutineers who kill everyone else on the ship.  And the ship never reaches its destination as it is wrecked soon after.  And so,  everyone presumes John and Alice,  Tarzan’s parents to have died in the ship-wreck.  There is no one searching for them.

As for the couple who have lived in genteel England,  they find it difficult to adapt to the wilderness.  They build a log cabin and Tarzan’s father writes his daily activities in a journal.  Alice gives birth to Tarzan in the jungle.  But she soon dies in a year’s time.  The husband is overpowered and killed by the apes.

It is here that Kala, the ape, finds Tarzan in the crib and carries off the baby.  Then the author has described about Tarzan’s life with the apes.  They have their own social hierarchy and rules.  At no time, does ERB take the jungle or its dangers for granted.  Tarzan is brought up lovingly by his ape mother without whose presence,  Tarzan would have died long ago.

Now,  let’s come to the movie ‘The Legend of Tarzan’.  The trailer excited me as it looked very close to the storyline.  I even listened to the audiobook of Tarzan of the Apes to get back to the story again.

Still, I am always sceptical about the way books are adapted into movies as much of the essence of the book is lost.

But, here they have retained much of the original storyline in Tarzan’s flashbacks.  Everything is as per the book upto Tarzan including his enemity with Mbonga.  I liked it that they didn’t end up showing it like a ‘Transformers’ with mindless pops and thrills.   The frames are beautiful and vast.

The actor Alexander Skarsgård, has done really good.  He looks equally convincing as Lord Greystoke living in Greystoke Manor and as Tarzan.  He just comes to life when he has to do all the Tarzan things.   The story of Jane is not the same as in the book.  But the character of Jane is the same.  She is no sexy siren waiting to be rescued by Tarzan,  thankfully.  She loves Tarzan the way he is and calls Africa home.  The actress, Margot Robbie, looks convincing as Jane.

Most of the scenes are brilliant like Tarzan running through the trees, or swinging from the trees, jumping off the cliffs and the best was Tarzan face-to-face fighting with the big ape.

I just felt the movie was too short.  I would have loved to have seen some more jungle scenes and of course, more of Tarzan of the Apes.  Can we have a sequel please?  Soon?



14 thoughts on “Book to movie adaptations : The Legend of Tarzan

  1. I loved the trailer of the movie. Looks very promising. I haven’t read the book yet I will go by your word and hope that movie is true to it’s original story. 🙂

  2. It’s a relief to hear that Jane isn’t a helpless girl in need of rescue in this movie. That’s always the risk with Tarzan adaptations, I think! When you were a kid, did you read others of Burroughs’ work? My friend swears blind that the movie John Carter (which is an adaptation of one of his lesser-known books) is underrated, but I think she’s just saying that cause the actor from Friday Night Lights is in it. :p

    1. Hi Jenny, other than Tarzan, I have also read another book of ERB called ‘The Lad And the Lion’. The story is similar to Tarzan’s but here, the guy is lost in the desert with a lion for company. It was also beautiful. I still remember the guy’s original name was ‘Aziz’ in it and for a long time I was just in love with the name. And in both Tarzan and Lad and the Lion, the heroine is intelligent.

  3. I am also skeptical to watch a movie made from book. I didnt like sherlock holmes as much i loved the book. But, seeing your post, i feel like the tarzan movie is also good.

    1. I liked the movie. In foreign media, people are loving it, but in India, critics are giving negative feedback. Its a good watch with good attention to details.

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