Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981)

"Unbearable"

Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981) Review


Rightfully roasted as one of the worst films of all time, the 1981 reimagination of Tarzan the Ape Man proves that you can take Bo Derek to water, but you can't make her not get naked and play around in it.

I scarcely know where to start dissecting this debacle. The entire purpose of the movie is to show off Bo Derek's body. What happens en route to that is almost incidental. It certainly has nothing to do with the Tarzan story as we know it. Jane (Derek) heads to Africa to visit dad (poor, poor Richard Harris), who's on safari. Soon she encounters a beefcake guy with a waxed chest, and by the time they meet a second time she's encouraging him to grope her under her invariably wet shirt.

In slow motion.

Not long after that, Jane finds herself captured and being bathed by natives, then slathered in mud. It's Tarzan to the rescue, riding elephants!

In slow motion.

Director John Derek (Bo's husband) proved that he had no understanding whatsoever of filmmaking. Whoever gave him a camera (ahem: "Produced by Bo Derek") should have been lobotomized. (Errr...) There's not a well-crafted moment in the entire movie. Scenes are thrown together seemingly at random. The sound cuts in and out as if the microphone was in someone's pocket. He can't focus the camera or hold it still. Horizontal wipes annoy the hell out of us, and of course, the entire freakin' movie is in slow motion. Not that it matters, because Tarzan is so pathetically stupid it's impossible to care about any of its technical flaws. Jane or dad end up in danger, and Tarzan saves the day. Often, the white men don't understand it and they try to shoot poor Tarzan, who ambles away into the woods when bullets start flying.

In slow motion.

It's amazing that Tarzan didn't immediately kill the career of everyone involved with it. In fact it was only those responsible for the screenplay that saw work dry up: Writer Tom Rowe never worked in Hollywood again; co-writing partner Gary Goddard went on to "write and produce" theme park rides in Las Vegas.

Sounds about right.

This movie is so bad it's not even funny as modern irony, a la Showgirls. It's just creepy voyeurism made to the lowest quality standards.

In slow motion.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Movie Review

Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie brings a dark and gritty tone to this larger-than-life franchise. Along with...

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

Beyond the Reach Movie Review

With a spectacular setting and two solid actors on-screen, this thriller builds enough solid suspense...

Cub Movie Review

Cub Movie Review

At a time when horror movies seem to only want to make the audience jump,...

Inside Out Movie Review

Inside Out Movie Review

Those bright sparks at Pixar have done it again, taking a fiercely original approach to...

Advertisement
Southpaw Movie Review

Southpaw Movie Review

Slick direction and meaty performances may be enough for some viewers, but this boxing drama's...

Eden Movie Review

Eden Movie Review

Loose and impressionistic, this beautifully shot film traces the career of a DJ who pioneered...

The Gallows Movie Review

The Gallows Movie Review

Without a single moment of originality, this found-footage horror movie really deserves to be the...

Self/Less Movie Review

Self/Less Movie Review

An intriguing premise keeps the audience gripped for about 20 minutes before the movie runs...

Advertisement