Inglorious Jungle Bore
I imagine many classic authors would feel both humbled and disappointed by various screen adaptations of their work. From H.G. Wells and Charles Dickens to Leo Tolstoy and George Bernard Shaw, translations differ in quality due to one overriding factor: the new writer's competence in bringing this source material to cinematic fruition.
Tarzan used to be one of my father's regular Saturday morning excursions. He would watch Johnny Weissmuller save Maureen O'Sullivan from all manner of dangers. For the 2013 motion-capture version directed by Reinhard Klooss, important elements are reduced to the most basic, animated formula.
Anyone expecting an Avatar reference will soon discover an avalanche of atrocities. Senior Greystoke Energies executive William Clayton (voiced by Trevor St. John) heads to Central Africa in search of a large meteor fragment. Within the crater, a glowing substance contains enough energy to power the world's cities for generations. Caught between a rock and a hard case, Tarzan (Kellan Lutz) intervenes when the life of his beloved Jane Porter (Spencer Locke) becomes threatened by Clayton's diabolical scheme.
Composer David Newman doesn't aspire to singular greatness with his gentle melodic themes. However, the orchestra does find the right tone for this classic domain of popular culture.
When a Tarzan picture fails to click, I immediately fall back on earlier experiences. Even the 1999 Oscar-winning effort continues to hold strong. Although Klooss has the technology to bring this concept to life, the result exposes a level of storytelling short on ideas and inspiration.
(Released by Lionsgate Films and rated "PG" by MPAA.)