The story of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, has been told countless times but at its heart, it’s a love story. A baby is orphaned on an island but is saved by the love of a mother ape. His love for a woman (Jane Porter) brings him back to civilization, but Tarzan’s love of the jungle ultimately sends him home. Bad-guys and storylines are interchangeable, but the basic message of love always stays the same.
The Legend of Tarzan changes the standard this time, by giving Tarzan a partner AND inserting a history lesson. Samuel L. Jackson plays George Washington Williams, who joins Alexander Skarsgard’s Tarzan in the search for bad-guy Captain Rom (played by Christoph Waltz). Williams was a real-life Civil War hero who later became a journalist and activist. He also toured the Congo and was greatly disturbed by what he saw there. Williams even published an open letter to King Leopold, admonishing him for enslaving his people.
George Washington Williams is an important but largely unknown American, so it’s cool to see him written into the story and played by Samuel L. Jackson. If you don’t know this though, it’s weird watching Jackson follow Tarzan through the jungle because that’s all he really does, and not always gracefully. Continue reading →