Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond (PG13 – 120 minutes)

The Star Trek series was rebooted in 2009 with J.J.Abrams at the helm. I am a fan of the original series, but even more so of the six movies featuring the original cast.  I didn’t think it needed a reboot – especially in an established universe as vast as the Star Trek ‘verse.  Why not use an entirely new group of characters and a new ship?  In any case, Abrams went ahead and cast new actors as Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, and Chekov. The first movie had them encountering an enemy that knocked them out of the timeline, creating an alternate timeline, which Abrams said he could use to create entirely new adventures but with the same characters we knew from the old show. 

That was actually a genius idea.  The new cast could play the roles and add their own spin and touches to characters we already knew so well.  Then – Abrams went ahead and completely went against everything he had stated he was trying to accomplish with that move by re-creating the most beloved movie of the original series, The Wrath of Khan, with his Star Trek Into Darkness.  This was, in my opinion, a huge mistake. The role of Khan was horribly miscast, and the story lost the majority of the impact that it had in its original format.  You can check my review of that movie for more ranting on my part, but I was so angry with it I completely wrote off this franchise and had no interest in seeing anything else from them.

Then they announced they were doing another one, Simon Pegg was helping to write, and Justin Lin was directing. Lin is responsible for the three best Fast and Furious movies – 4, 5, and 6, and Pegg is not only playing Scotty – but is first and foremost a fan, and knows what other fans would like to see – and what they would not like to see.

This movie picks up about two years after the previous adventure – nearly halfway through their ‘five year mission’ and Captain Kirk seems to be suffering from a bout of ‘space boredom’.  He’s become a little tired of going from world to world, and is craving a bit of adventure – I found this a little strange since this movie opens with what should have been a simple diplomatic operation and turns into an action escape.  McCoy attempts to cheer him up with an early birthday drink, but doesn’t do a very good job (he does not gift him a pair of reading glasses – not yet anyway). 

The Enterprise is docking at the Starbase Yorktown outpost, the newest station in deep space (I loved the design, it was absolutely beautiful!), and the crew is ready for some shore leave.  Kirk takes the opportunity to put in for the Vice-Admiralship of the Yorktown, seeking a change.  Spock, meanwhile, has broken up with Uhura, and received word of the death of Ambassador Spock (this is a brilliant bit of art imitating life and provided a beautiful opportunity to say goodbye to Leonard Nimoy).  Shaken by this more than he has expected, he has put in for a transfer to ‘New Vulcan’ to help rebuild his race.  Neither he nor Kirk has told the other about their plans – yet.

Of course, while there, a small ship in distress comes barreling out of a nearby nebula with an alien on board who is talking (after being fitted with a universal translator) about her ship and crew being attacked and now held on a planet nearby.  Since the Enterprise is the ship most able to handle the situation (it always is), shore leave is cut short and the crew heads out to see what they can do to help. They get through the nebula without too much of a problem, but once through, before they can get down to the planet, they encounter a new race, flying what I would call a ‘swarm’ of ships, led by Krall.  Overwhelmed by sheer numbers – the Enterprise gets destroyed, and the majority of the crew escapes down to the planet in various methods. Scotty shoots off in a torpedo, Spock and McCoy end up hijacking an alien ship and crashing, Uhura gets stuck with Krall while separating the saucer section, and Chekov and Kirk crash land in their escape pods with the rescued alien. 

Split up, each mini-group of the crew has their own small adventures.  Sulu and Uhura work together to try to figure out how to free the crew from Krall’s base camp – and learn that he has some bio-technology that seems to allow him to steal the life-force, bio-energy, soul, whatever you want to call it, from his prisoners.  Kirk and Chekov realize the alien lured them into a trap, and try to continue to hide the item she is looking to give to Krall that they had onboard. Scotty encounters Jaylah – a woman who has been evading capture on this planet and planning an escape, while McCoy has to help Spock with an injury and then they basically get to bond until they run into Scotty and Jaylah.  Together, they realize she’s been living in an old crashed Federation ship – the U.S.S. Franklin - and if they can get it powered up they can get everyone off the planet. Of course, parallel to this plan, Krall gets his hands on the item, and turns it into a really impressive bio-weapon that he then wants to unleash on Yorktown.  Our intrepid crew has to get off the planet in enough time to stop him and his swarm of followers.

Based solely on the three F&F movies he’s done, I knew Justin Lin could direct action – but I have to say, I was still impressed by the action in this movie.  It moves fast, and aside from a few slow points at the beginning, it really was well-paced the whole way through.  The action and hand-to-hand sequences were great, and there were far less lens flares – in fact, I’m not sure I saw any!  The sequences on the planet were fun, and I actually enjoyed splitting the cast into mini-groups.  I worried that the motorcycle sequence shown in the trailer would be annoying, but it actually was really fun.  I really loved that this was a new story, and that this round of actors could now work on putting their own touches on the characters, instead of being unfairly compared to those that came before because the story is the same.

  • Chris Pine plays Captain James T. Kirk. He’s beginning to feel more like the leader of this group. Pine is capable, and is certainly the action-packed captain. His portrayal of Kirk as bored by the ‘exploring and peacekeeping’ part of the missing is really interesting (and strange, because it seems really off-character from the Kirk I know).  His realization at the end of the potential of where they can go keeps him in the chair.

  • Zachary Quinto plays Commander Spock, and really the inclusion of the moments honoring Leonard Nimoy felt so real and so honest, it made me tear up a little.  Especially at the end when he goes through the personal effects of Ambassador Spock, he gets to see a picture of the original cast during Star Trek V.  Quinto is still not quite perfect as Spock, but to be honest, it’s a lot to live up to.  He’s getting closer, and does a good job of continuing to bond with McCoy in this movie.

  • Karl Urban plays Dr. ‘Bones’ McCoy and still seems to be the closest to the original portrayal of the character. His grumpy exterior covers his amazing heart, and how much he truly cares about all of his crewmates – again – really on display in the scenes with Spock in this movie.

  • Zoe Saldana plays Lieutenant Uhura, and while I’m still not sure about the choice to hook up Uhura and Spock, she and Quinto do an adequate job of making the relationship believable.  I do enjoy the emphasis on Uhura’s particular skill of sorting out communication and languages.

  • Simon Pegg plays Montgomery Scott and again – thank goodness for him taking over some of the writing duties. He gives Scotty charm and wit and skill.  I love his interactions with Jaylah – and his ability to help her trust them, despite being alone for so many years.

  • John Cho plays Hikaru Sulu with the best sense of duty and confidence.  He’s such a ready action hero, that you have no doubt he can fly the Franklin, despite it having been stuck in the mud for what seems to be a lot of time. 

  • Anton Yelchin plays Pavel Chekov, and this will be one of the last things we see him in since he tragically died in a car accident this summer. He’s fun, he’s light, and his version of Chekov really helped to lighten the cast.  I hope they don’t recast, but I don’t know how they would write him out. We’ll have to see what they do next.

  • Idris Elba plays Krall and I’m still a little perplexed how you have one of the most beautiful men on the planet covered in full facial prosthetics – especially since he complained about having to wear Heimdall’s helmet.  Also – the last trailer did ruin a bit of a twist with his character, I’m not going to mention it – I’m hoping it hasn’t been ruined for you. He’s great – super vengeful and angry.

  • Sofia Boutella – who owned every scene of Kingsman: Secret Service she was in as Gazelle (you remember, with the razor feet?) also manages to steal many scenes of this movie as Jaylah.  She’s aggressive and self-sufficient, but also afraid to go up against an enemy that has already caused her to lose so much. I really hope she sticks around and gets added to the cast going forward.

  • Joe Taslim plays Krall’s right hand man, Manas.  He gets a really badass fight sequence with Jaylah on top of a building in Krall’s camp.

  • Kydia Wilson plays Kalara; the alien refugee who cons our crew into getting involved in this mess in the first place. Her look was lovely, and I really enjoyed the flip of her character.   It’s tough to act when covered fully in facial prosthetics and not speaking English – but she did a really good job of making want her to be helped, which of course, only then made the betrayal that much more painful. 

The entire final fight sequence takes place between Krall and Kirk floating in the center of the Yorktown where gravity goes a bit crazy. Again, I loved the design of the Yorktown base, it’s really lovely and visually interesting.  I loved that we finally get to see some beginnings of true friendships between the crew.  I also really loved the way they worked in the goodbye to Leonard Nimoy – it was very touching, and really beautifully done.  Because the movie was basically finished when Anton Yelchin passed away, there’s nothing in the movie directly related to his passing, but the movie is dedicated to him.  It does bring up an interesting quandary.  Do you recast the role of Chekov? Do you write Chekov out?  I hope they do it right, I don’t think he should be recast, but I’m not sure what the right way to handle that would be.

I was so upset with Into Darkness, but this one really did win me back over, I’m so excited about where they could go from here.  My favorite part of original Trek was the heart of it – the hopefulness of it, and the focus on the relationship and friendship between the characters. This cast isn’t quite there yet, but they are getting closer. You can start to see their friendships in this one.  In a way, it did feel like a long episode, but I think that’s what this franchise needed. I really enjoyed it.

8 out of 10 – surprisingly fun! 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Movie Review: Ghostbustsers (2016) (PG13 – 116 minutes)

The first Ghostbusters was released in 1984, written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis and was directed by Ivan Reitman.  The film is a comedy classic, bizarrely hilarious and entertaining, and also endlessly quotable, “Listen! Do you smell that?” and, “Back off, man. I’m a scientist.”  The story was that of three scientists and one civilian fighting a rising tide of ghosts in New York City as an ancient evil was preparing to reenter our realm. They thwart the evil and save the city.  The story itself is not all that impressive, but it is one of the very best examples of the execution elevating the material.  The cast was spectacular, and allowed friends Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis to play off one another through the whole thing. Throw in the deadpan normal-guy-ness of Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver, the off-the-wall zaniness of Annie Potts and Rick Moranis, and you’ve got a hit. It’s a movie that if I catch it while flipping channels, I will almost always stop and watch it.

It had a sequel in 1989, which was not quite as good, and then stories of the writers kicking around an idea for the third movie were floating around since.  With the passing of Ramis in 2014, it seemed to hit an impasse.  Then, the idea of a reboot started coming up – and Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Spy, announced he was doing the reboot with four female leads, and the collective internet lost its damn mind. People claimed it was a horrible idea to remake a classic and it would ‘ruin their childhoods’, people claimed women weren’t funny, people claimed it was sexist to be in favor of it, people claimed it was sexist to not be in favor of it, people claimed all sorts of nonsense.  As with all internet nonsense, the very best response to all this crap is to simply ignore it – see the movie – and form your own opinion.  Did I think Ghostbusters needed a reboot?  No – I did not, I loved the original. However, Paul Feig is fantastic, and once he announced his cast, I was on board – because they are four of the best comedians working today.  Please note – I did not say that they were four of the best female comedians working today.  In that same way I will tell you that Shonda Rhimes is not one of the best female showrunners working today.  She is one of the best showrunners working today. Period.  There’s no need for qualifiers. 

The movie itself begins with a tour at a ‘haunted’ mansion in New York. The tour guide mentions the lady of the house killed her servants and then was imprisoned in the basement until she died down there. A small device goes off, and she comes back and starts spooking everyone.  Meanwhile Erin Gilbert is working on pursuing tenure as a professor at Columbia, hoping no one finds out about a pro-ghost book she wrote some years back with co-ghost-scientist Abby Yates.  Abby has put the book up on Amazon, and desperate to get it removed, Erin goes to visit Abby, and meets her new ghost-scientist co-worker at the suspicious Higgins Institute, Jillian Holtzmann.

While there, they get word about the haunting at the mansion, so the three of them head out to the mansion and witness the ghost resulting in Erin getting slimed – because someone has to.  They upload the video to the internet – resulting in all of them getting fired, and taking up residence in a ‘lab’ above a Chinese food restaurant.

A second ghost is spotted in the subway, leading the three to meet MTA officer Patty Tolan.  They spot the same strange device from the first haunting. After encountering this ghost, Patty joins them, Holtzmann creates a bunch of devices for them to use in the busting of ghosts. Every time there’s a moment of downtime, she’s suddenly got more tech for them, but you never really see her assembling them, they just keep showing up – I really enjoyed that running gag. 

The ladies gain some notoriety, resulting in the need to hire the world’s worst receptionist, Kevin. The mayor’s office wants them to keep it quiet, but they keep helping citizens, and eventually track down the why behind the hauntings. They work together to save the city while hijinks ensue.

The movie is funny, it’s not nearly as hilarious as I wanted, but it is funny.  There are many, many callbacks to the original, and yes, every surviving member of the original core cast (with the exception of Rick Moranis – who retired years ago) does have a cameo, and they were all enjoyable. Honestly, I could have done with a few less callbacks.  The four ladies are hilarious, and honestly were the best in the scenes where they were just sitting around talking with one another.

  • Kristen Wiig plays Erin Gilbert, and I actually enjoy her more when she’s cut loose – here, she’s playing the “straight-man”, but it does work. She goes from frustrated to determined to prove that they are telling the truth, and are legitimate scientists. She is also really borderline creepy around Kevin, which goes from funny to awkward, but then cycles back around to funny again.

  • Melissa McCarthy plays Abby Yates, and she doesn’t get to be as crazy as I would like, but she is super fun. She’s confident, and knows they are doing the right thing by pursuing the busting of ghosts. Her ongoing debate with Bennie the delivery guy about how many wontons are in her soup is a tiny bit of brilliance.

  • Kate McKinnon plays Jillian Holtzmann, and honestly, she’s hilarious. Holtzmann is completely nuts, and is all about putting together the gear, making crazier and crazier items for them to use. 

  • The amazing Leslie Jones plays basically Leslie Jones as Patty Tolan, an MTA worker who knows almost everything about the layout of the city and becomes invaluable to the team, and also provides the hearse that will become Ecto 1. 

  • Zach Woods plays the tour guide and Ed Begley Jr. plays Ed Mulgrave, the caretaker of the mansion who is desperate for help in getting the ghost out of the mansion.
  • Steve Higgins cameos as the dean of the suspicious institute where Abby and Holtzmann are working, he finds several creative ways to flip Abby off as he is firing her, and honestly, I laughed really hard at that.
  • Neil Casey plays hotel lobby boy or bellhop Rowan North.  He’s creepy, weird, and a scary genius with evil plans….

  • Chris Hemsworth plays up his Thor-like good looks as the bumbling Kevin. He’s so dumb that he covers his eyes when things are too loud.  That sounds really stupid, but Hemsworth somehow manages to pull it off. 

  • Michael McDonald plays the theater manager where the Ghostbusters have to come catch a large demony ghost.  Why was that one shaped like a traditional demon? They were all shapes and sizes in the original too, so I guess it makes sense.  It did perch on Tolan’s shoulders, which was really funny.

  • Michael K. Williams and Matt Walsh play Agent Hawkins and Rorke, two officers working for the mayor’s office who are trying to keep the whole ‘ghost’ situation under control.  They are surprisingly entertaining for the little amount of screen time they have.
  • Andy Garcia (that’s right, Andy Garcia) plays Mayor Bradley, who is slightly similar to the mayor from the original movie, but a little more informed.
  • Cecily Strong plays Jennifer Lynch, who I would describe as the mayor’s handler. She’s the one who lets the Ghostbusters know that the mayor is aware of the situation, but trying to keep it quiet so as not to panic the public.

Overall, I really enjoyed it.  I did want it to be a little funnier, and actually a little more frightening.  I will say that I saw it in 3D, and some of the effects pop through the top and bottom of the letterbox black bars, causing a really interesting effect – and yes, I did jump at the first ‘sliming’, because with the 3D, that stuff was coming right at me.

I also felt that the villain has a plan, but that plan wasn’t executed as well as it could have been. It was really interesting, but then gets a little dropped off in favor of silliness.  The original played as a horror-comedy, there were scenes that were legitimately scary.  This one, and maybe because everything is CGI (there are really no practical effects), feels more cartoony than scary, and in that way – this one felt more like a kids or tween movie whereas the original feels like an adult comedy. I would have liked this one to be a little more adult. Somewhere I’m sure there’s an R cut of this, with all the ladies’ improv left in, and I would really love to see that version.  But, yes, it is funny and no – it won’t ruin your childhood.

8 out of 10 – Gained points for the four funny leads. Gained points for Thor being surprisingly funny.  Lost points for too much cartoony CGI. Don’t go in with any expectations if you can help it!
Bonus - Leslie was on with Seth Myers to do some cooking...

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Movie Review: The Legend of Tarzan (PG13 – 110 minutes)

Heads up – here’s a small history lesson you weren’t expecting - Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875 – 1950) was an American novelist who created Tarzan and John Carter.  He published Tarzan of the Apes in 1912.  

The story tells the tale of John Clayton, son of John and Alice Clayton, lord and lady of Greystoke back in England. They get marooned in Africa, and both perish, accidentally leaving their son to be raised by apes.  There have been many movies and TV shows based on the books, my favorite of course being the Travis Fimmel CW Tarzan show.

This movie, The Legend of Tarzan, was a surprise to me. I liked it much more than I was expecting to.  I’ve never really been a huge fan of Tarzan stories – based mainly on the time Burroughs wrote the original – it seemed that in order to make Africa understandable, he thought the continent needed a white hero.  Before I talk about the movie – let me bore you with some actual history, which the movie does a really good job of incorporating. 

The Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) is located in Central sub-Saharan Africa, and was known as Zaire until 1997.  Because it is on the equator – it has heavy rainfall and the highest frequency of thunderstorms in the world. The annual rainfall can be 80 inches in some places and that sustains the Congo Rainforest – the second largest rain forest in the world leading to incredible bio-diversity, including many rare species found nowhere else: chimpanzees, bonobos, the African Forest Elephant, the mountain gorilla, white rhinos, and the amazing okapi. 

Back in 1885, which was the height of the African Colonialism movement (essentially, that’s when Europeans started to realize how rich in natural resources Africa was, and decided that they needed to break it up and rule it, because surely the ‘savages’ that had been living there forever had no idea how to use them – yikes), King Leopold II of Belgium conned the Berlin Conference to authorize his claim to the Congo Free State, to “improve the lives of the native inhabitants.” However, he ignored that statement and ran the Congo using the mercenary Force Publique (who were known for cutting off limbs of people they were ‘overseeing’ and enslaving natives).  He extracted a fortune from the Congo – through collection of ivory and rubber.  However, the world eventually learned of the human rights abuses committed and the fact that he was committing genocide, nearly ten million people died. The Belgian government finally took control of the Congo from him.  How did the world become aware of what Leopold was actually up to?

George Washington Williams, an African American historian, journalist, and lawyer played a major part in telling the world what Leopold was doing. He was born October 16th, 1849 in Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania, which had abolished slavery after the American Revolution. He enlisted in the Union Army at 14 and fought during the final battles of the Civil War. He went to Mexico and joined the Republican army of General Espinosa fighting to overthrow Emperor Maximillian, where he became a lieutenant, learned some Spanish, and got a reputation as a good gunner.  He continued a 5 year service in the army fighting in the ‘Indian Territory’, and was wounded in 1868.  Afterwards, he went to Howard University in Washington D.C. for a short time, then began studies at the Newton Theological Institution near Boston, becoming the first African American to graduate from Newton in 1874.  He later moved to Cincinnati and studied law under Alphonso Taft, who was the father of William Howard Taft, and became the first African American elected to the Ohio State Legislature in 1880, and wrote many books on the history of African Americans. 

In 1880, he was granted an informal audience with King Leopold II of Belgium, who was still saying he was running the Congo ‘for the good of its people’.  In spite of the monarch’s objections, Williams went to Central Africa to see the conditions for himself. He then wrote an Open Letter to King Leopold on July 18th, 1890.  In the letter, he condemned the brutal and inhuman treatment of the Congolese at the hands of Europeans and Africans supervising them, Leopold and his associates in particular. Williams wrote letters appealing to the international community of the day to “call and create an International Commission to investigate the charges herein preferred in the name of Humanity.”  While traveling back from Africa, Williams fell prey to tuberculosis and died August 1st, 1891 in Blackpool, England.  However, he helped open the eyes of the world, and in 1908, the Belgian parliament bowed to international pressure (especially from the UK) and removed King Leopold from power of the Congo.

Now, that’s a lot of information – why share it here?  Because knowing that backstory made this movie more interesting for me.

This movie starts with the marooning of Lord and Lady Greystoke – John and Alice Clayton – in the Congo with their infant son. They do what they can to survive, but both soon die. The child is taken in by a family of Apes – and is raised by Kala, who he comes to think of as his mother and Akut, his brother. Given the name Tarzan, he is raised by them, becoming a part of the jungle.  Time jumping, we see the Leon Rom, emissary from the swiftly bankrupting King Leopold, searching for the diamonds of Opar. He encounters the chief of the local tribe, Mbonga, who promises him diamonds in return for Tarzan (this is because Tarzan killed his son years ago, but only because the son killed Kala).

The movie then shifts back to England – Tarzan has married Jane Porter after meeting her in Africa, and taken over the running of the Greystoke estate. We see him having a meeting with the British Prime Minister, who lets John know he’s just been personally invited by King Leopold to come visit the Congo. John at first refuses, but American envoy George Washington Williams urges John to go, because he suspects wrongdoing by the Belgians, and needs guidance in the Congo to get proof.  John agrees – and since Jane refuses to be left at home, so goes with them.

 While staying with the tribe Jane was raised with, Rom’s forces come into the village, taking many of the villagers along with John and Jane, but Williams manages to save John.  John, Williams, and several of the villagers track the group and intercept a Belgian military train carrying captured slaves – while freeing them, they learn that Rom intends to use the diamonds he gets from trading Tarzan to pay for a massive army to enter the Congo – decimate the native people, and take all the wealth.  The movie then shifts to a race to stop Rom from getting the diamonds to pay the military, and involves a daring escape by Jane and her friend Wasimbu, John and Williams running into John’s former gorilla family, and John finally having his confrontation with Mbonga. Oh – and John talking to crocodiles…

Spoiler Alert - it all ends pretty well - Williams heads back to England to present his evidence against Leopold, and Jane and John stay in Africa with their friends.

Directed by David Yates, who did the last 4 Harry Potter movies as well as the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie, Legend of Tarzan looks amazing. The B-Roll and wide scenery shots were all done in Gabon National Parks, but all the main character pieces were shot in England on soundstages. It’s impressive, because for the most part, it looks like Africa. All the animals are CGI, which is good, because there’s a lot of interaction with some big time endangered animals, so we’re better off using CGI animals. Especially because that allows you to really give them some serious non-verbal acting in the eyes, and I’m not going to lie, Kala’s death moved me to tears. The actors all seem pretty committed, and seem to be perfectly cast.

  • Alexander Skarsgard plays Tarzan/John Clayton and initially took the role because his father Stellan Skarsgard is a huge Tarzan fan.  You can read all about the insane diet to get that Tarzan physique, and yes, he does look great. I was never a huge fan of his on True Blood – but he does make a great Tarzan. I did want him to spend more time running on all fours, since they mention that in the beginning, and I wanted him to be in the loincloth, but hey – he’s been in England for a while, and the short pants make sense. He’s fantastic in the non-verbal acting as well, really moving, and yes – he does seem to be able to talk to all the animals.

  • Christoph Waltz plays Leon Rom, continuing his run of horrible characters that pretend to be nice guys. He’s basically cornered the market on that.  This character is based on the real man Leon Auguste Theophile Rom, a Belgian soldier in the Congo during the late 19th century, who apparently used severed heads of Congolese people to decorate his flower beds.

  • Samuel L. Jackson plays George Washington Williams, and is awesome.  Whether or not he’s exactly like the real Williams doesn’t matter, he’s basically Sam Jackson being awesome while helping Tarzan and busting a corrupt Belgian.

  • Margot Robbie plays Jane Porter-Clayton, and was surprisingly not annoying. She did a good job of portraying Jane’s desire to go back to Africa, and support her husband no matter what he was getting into. I also enjoyed that she wanted to be more than a ‘damsel in distress’.

  • Sidney Ralitsoele plays Wasimbu, Jane’s friend who escapes with her and helps to rally the troops. He seems to be an up and coming British actor, but this is his first big project. I hope we get more of him, because his calm and slightly arrogant presence is stunning and will take him to some really interesting projects.

  • Djaimon Honsou plays Mbonga – the vengeful chief who wants Tarzan dead.  He’s got some awesome cheetah-style headwear and claws, but is a little blinded by anger until he and Tarzan talk it out. I would have liked to see his character show up at the end to help eliminate Rom’s forces.

  • Jim Broadbent plays the British prime minister – and it’s almost a cameo for him as he shows up at the beginning to be confused and British to send Tarzan back to the jungle, and again at the end to be upset and British while reviewing Williams’s evidence.

  • Casper Crump, who is Danish and currently Vandal Savage on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, plays Major Kerckhover, who basically seems to be playing Vandal Savage here – just Rom’s number one henchman – super evil.

Overall, the movie was a surprise for me – I was really expecting to not like it, but I really did enjoy it. The story wasn’t all that original, but I really enjoyed how some real historical events were included.  I wasn’t sure we needed another Tarzan movie (still not sure), but this one was pretty good.

8 out of 10 – surprisingly high because I was expecting nothing. Gained points for Sam Jackson playing George Washington Williams. Lost points for Waltz being so evil again.

Cast Interviews: 
Bonus- That one time Raiden was Tarzan - a bit from the Christopher Lambert version: Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes – from 1984.