Virgin Review – Legend of Tarzan

Hey, Mo Fo, no WAY was I going to lick that gorilla’s butt. I don’t care what you say.

I thoroughly enjoyed this somewhat lightweight movie. It was a different take on the Tarzan story; a more adult version. Clearly, it was filmed on location, and the African settings were breathtaking. I’m going to have to make a trip to the Congo…and I’d be honored to assume a submissive pose to a gorilla troop (heads out of the gutter, folks). The UK settings were lush too. Everything looked just great.

Some good stuff: The night scene with the elephants really stands out — simply beautiful. It made for a horrible juxtaposition with the train barrels full of ivory tusks. We’re barbarians. Also, making slaves out of everyone in Africa? More barbarism. The more so in these cases because taking slaves and driving animals to extinction is historical fact. It underscores our dual nature: we are capable both of horrendous acts and feats of selfless compassion.

I loved how “John” (Tarzan’s Christian name) interacted with, well, everything in Africa. He’s a friend to the native tribes, lions, wildebeests, ostriches, alligators, and of course, gorillas. Although he’s no friend to army ants — those he uses as first aid and snacks. (Hey, don’t knock it. I’ve eaten ants, and contrary to Tarzan’s comment about bacon, they actually taste like Sweet Tarts. Long story. Give them a try, if you dare, but pop off the ant heads first so they don’t bite your tongue.)

I’m not sure if he’s a friend to hippos. I think there was a lost opportunity there.  You’ll see what I mean if you pay attention. They set up the hippos for a payoff that, weirdly, alligators fulfilled. This is a minor quibble.

Jane gets her own little “Gandalf” scene with a blue butterfly (recall Gandalf with the moth on top of Orthanc).  And she can happily handle herself perfectly well in the jungle, thank you. She’s no damsel in distress, as she pointedly tells the bad guy.

The lead characters did a fine job, although Jane stole every scene with her affable, brave, and amusing portrayal. She even outdid Samuel L Jackson — no mean feat. Tarzan was stuck playing the straight man, but he pulled off what could have been a very dorky role, with likable aplomb. Jackson, as George (of the jungle?) provided the most laughs, and was also a receptacle for exposition. Any film with a lot of backstory needs a character who things must be explained to. It worked.

Much of the narrative is told in flashback style. I think they handled it deftly, for the most part — a straight origin story would have been boring, and the flashbacks were restrained and appropriate. My main problem is that it’s hard to tell the flashback scenes from the current timeline in many places. Using a trick, like adding sepia tone, or a blue tinge, would have helped greatly. Or a different length of hair for Tarzan and Jane. Both my mother and I were confused a few times.

The climax was thoroughly enjoyable, albeit predicable. I’m not going to hold predictability against the film. It’s what we’d expect in a story about Tarzan. He’s not “King of the Jungle” for nothing.

This 2016 movie qualifies as a Bladder Buster, at 2 &1/2 hours.  Just saying. Since you’ll be watching this at home, you probably won’t need Peetimes (although we have three).

Overall Recommendation: This is a nice home movie to watch. The violence isn’t that graphic, the good guys win, and the setting is so damned pretty. Harry Potter Director David Yates pulled off a new take on the Tarzan story, and you’ll feel good when it’s through. Don’t expect an epic tale and you’ll have a good time.

Movie Grade: B-

Read RunPee’s Original Review of The Legend of Tarzan.

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Rewatch – The First Incredibles

This movie is really good! I hate using such an imprecise term, but I’m sitting here shocked at how good this animated superhero film is.

I’d seen Incredibles when it came out in 2004, and certainly liked it, but now, in 2018, I have a different mindset. Back then I had no idea how…well, GOOD superhero movies were going to get. Remember, 2004 was still a few years away from Iron Man and the start of the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe, which really defined and perfected the superhero experience. I think back then, all we had were some Spiderman movies of various quality, some Batman movies that really didn’t age well, and early X-Men. And Fantastic Four. Which is a perfect segue to my next point.

It’s clear that the Incredibles are a remake/rebooted version of the Fantastic Four, which is interesting: Fantastic Four tried twice to make their series work, and both bombed terribly. I mean, they were simply awful. So who would think that tweaking it into an animated film would be  a good bet?

Well, the answer is Pixar, now owned by Disney. Using the magic Pixar formula —  irreverent humor,  outstanding animation work, attention to character traits, well-known and respected actors for voices, and a real plot with actual jeopardy — Incredibles really showed it could be done. 

Incredibles is good enough to be a Marvel movie, quite frankly. It may as well be one, maybe in an alternate universe. You forget you’re watching cartoons about ten minutes into the film, which starts quite charmingly with an “old news reel” and a flashback to Mr. Incredible and ElastiGirl in their heyday.

The movie picks up at a place that would not seem too far from the X-Men Universe: all the supers have been relocated and retired by public demand, due to traumatic collateral damage done in the name of “helping mankind.” The Incredibles family has to hide their powers and try to live normal lives in suburbia. Mr. Incredible works in a dead end insurance job, and ElastiGirl is a stay at home mom. Their kids have to hide their superhero status as well, which chafes them to no end. How can you try to “be your best” when your best can never be tested? How can Mr. Incredible be “normal” when he breaks everything he touches, and has to be constantly vigilant against his own strength? We see him mourning for the good old days, and listens to police scanners at night with best friend FloZone (voiced by Samuel Jackson, clearly enjoying himself), sneaking out to do clandestine hero work.

These are mature themes, and shows why adults flocked to see Incredibles, and will flock again, in 2018, to see Incredibles 2.

I didn’t notice at the time, but in this rewatch, knowing there’s going to be a sequel out soon, I saw how clearly the film demanded a follow-up. When you watch it again, take note of how nothing has actually changed for this family. Well, except for Jack Jack, but we wont go into that here. Basically: at the end of their adventure, the family goes home and back to their “Witness Protection” style life. The supers are still not welcomed by the public, the government, or the world. It’s back to suburban hell. We don’t see that in the movie, because they ended the film on the high note of putting their masks on (which is more symbolic than useful, but just go with it). Their family unit maybe stronger than ever, but now the fun’s over and it’s time to put the leash back on.

So it does demand another film. How has the Incredible family unit been managing, back at mind numbing jobs and public school?  From the trailers it looks like (SPOILER ALERT)….scroll down or not…

 

 

 

Okay, from the trailers it looks like ElastiGirl is back on the job and in the public eye. Mr. Incredible has to be Mr. Mom. So maybe the supers are accepted again? Or is using ElastiGirl a way to slowly ease the public about reintroducing supers? I’ll go with the latter.

Anyway, the sequel looks pretty good, and I know it will pack the theaters, as we’re just not saturated with superhero movies. It’s pretty much a Golden Age for hero movies and we keep lapping them up and asking for more. I’m fine with that.

Incredibles is a fine film, with a lot of heart and humor, charming characterizations, surprisingly good chemistry in a voice-over medium — it’s just enjoyable on every level. The Big Bad is a bit annoying, but creating a great villain is a sticky point for almost every superhero film. You can just ignore whathisname, and get back to marveling at the amazing visuals and snappy banter/bickering.

I recommend seeing Incredibles again, before catching Incredibles 2, just to get back up to speed with these great characters and their family dynamics.

Movie Grade: A

Here’s a link to the blu-ray of the original Incredibles movie, and the logo tee shirt. I’ve seen entire families wearing this shirt, and not just for a family Halloween theme…places like Disneyland, so it’s easy to find each other, or on any family outing to show they are a family unit. It’s fun. 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Review of Kong: Skull Island

Grade: B-

There have been many King Kong movies over the decades, yet people are still fascinated by the idea of a gargantuan gorilla. This movie at least has some original themes, focusing entirely on Skull Island, and forgoing the New York plot entirely. Neither is there much ado between Ape and Girl – which, honestly, was fine by me. It’s been done. This outing is pretty non-offensive fare.

It also rips off Apocalypse Now to the point past being an homage, but honestly, whatever.

While things move along at a good clip, and most scenes are creatively staged, *Kong: Skull Island* falls short of being more than a mildly enjoyable episode in the King Kong oeuvre. John C. Reilly is the stand-out here, playing the only genuinely amusing character (as you could probably tell from the previews anyway). John Goodman is totally wasted, and Samuel L. Jackson’s hollow role is beneath his skills (although he seems to relish a reprisal of his Jurassic Park line, “Hold on to your butts!”). Tom Hiddleston is lovely to watch, as always, but has almost nothing to do in this story. I liked this film during my viewing, but am already relegating it to the “Only Okay” bin. There are big monsters; there are fights; lots of people die.

What is exciting to us here at RunPee HQ is that the 2005 King Kong film started it all. Watching Peter Jackson’s 3 hour/7 minute devotion to the giant ape gave Dan and Jill the idea to start an app where we would tell people exactly when to pee during a long movie. Jill wanted to shout to everyone in line at the theater to “go” during the unnecessary Valley of the Bugs scene…while Dan bravely squirmed his way through to the end, thinking, “Die, ape, die!” (So, yes, we included a giant bug Peetime in this film for honor’s sake.)

Dan took our rather genius but casual idea, and turned it into an actual phenomenon – resulting in worldwide acclaim and millions of downloads. We wanted to thank you all for being a part of the ride, and supporting this small family business. And thank you, Big Monkey, for being the reason RunPee happened at all. 🙂

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)