Warner Bros. has been trying to make a Tarzan movie for years now. Even the Coen Bros. took a shot at it at one point.
While one of the main box-office trends right now has to do with the shared universes built from various intellectual properties like Star Wars or Marvel or Transformers, there's another trend that has to do with updated or revamped versions of public domain properties. Next summer, Warner is betting big on both Tarzan and King Arthur, and in both cases, I'm curious how they plan to make these different than the dozens, if not hundreds, of film versions that have come before.
With King Arthur, they've got Guy Ritchie at the helm, and they're no doubt hoping that he can do for King Arthur what he did for Sherlock Holmes. Makes sense. After all, both of them are icons that every English kid is raised on, and Ritchie no doubt has strong personal feelings about both. He's also got Lionel Wigram on his team, and the two of them have become inseparable.
David Yates is another name that the studio no doubt trusts implicitly by now. He became the heavy lifter on the Harry Potter franchise, and they've already got him hard at work on “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them,” the Potter spin-off starring Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston. When they hired him to make “The Legend Of Tarzan,” that was the equivalent of pushing all of their chips to the center of the table. I know when I was at Comic-Con in 2014 talking to Samuel L. Jackson about “Kingsman,” he was positively giddy about “Tarzan.” He told me it was going to be something special, and when someone who makes 4773 films per year takes the time to single one of them out, that's worth paying attention to, in my book.
The first trailer for the film arrived today, and it's interesting to set this next to the Jon Favreau “Jungle Book” trailer, which doesn't look remotely real, but which looks absolutely gorgeous. They've gone for a wildly stylized jungle environment, while “The Legend Of Tarzan” appears to be aiming for something far more realistic. While I appreciate the effort that Rick Baker put into creating his ape suits for “Greystoke,” it has to be a relief to be able to create photo-realistic apes that you can have humans drive via performance capture, and it looks like “The Legend Of Tarzan” will take full advantage of that.
I'm not sure what to make of any of this, but as a first teaser, it does the job of making me curious, and it's got a good cast. Having Margot Robbie play Jane certainly doesn't hurt the odds of me seeing the film, and Warner seems to be invested in her in a major way between this and “Suicide Squad.”
“The Legend Of Tarzan” arrives in theaters July 1, 2016.