A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Legend of Tarzan follows a grown-up Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard) back to the jungle after a decade of living in society with his wife, Jane (Margot Robbie). The reluctant hero is talked into helping George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson) expose the mistreatment of the Congolese people. Expect plenty of brutal action violence: The movie starts out with an intense battle that leaves many dead, and there are scenes of shooting, people being slaughtered, very loud gorillas attacking people, and children and animals in peril. Tarzan loses his parents when he's a young boy (which could bother kids); he later fights both people and gorillas, and characters die. Older tweens and teens may appreciate this take on Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan novels, while younger viewers may find it too scary. There's also some swearing (including "s--t" and "ass"), drinking, passionate kissing, and a non-graphic sex scene.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
At the start of THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, it's been 10 years since John Clayton (Alexander Skarsgard) was known as Tarzan -- he's been living a cushy English life for the last decade as Lord Greystoke, with his loving wife, Jane (Margot Robbie). But he's lured back to the jungle as part of a plot by the evil envoy to King Leopold, Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz), and to find out whether the rumors of slavery in the Congo are true. Then, once Jane is taken hostage, Tarzan must do everything he can to save her.
Is it any good?
This loud, violent, action-packed adventure isn't for young kids, and it's not nearly as good as the recent update of The Jungle Book, either in terms of story or visual effects. That said, The Legend of Tarzan does offer a different take on Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic story -- there's greater prominence to the local people, their society, and their points of view. Tarzan isn't just saving them, he's helping them. And Jane isn't just there to be rescued: She's fighting to escape as much as Tarzan is trying to save her. It's exciting, and some of the scenes in the jungle are impressive, but it's all just a little much at times.
Skarsgard's Tarzan doesn't say much, as you might imagine, but the actor plays the strong, quiet type just fine. Samuel L. Jackson is fun as Tarzan's gun-toting sidekick George Washington Williams -- a character who's based on a real person who spent the last years of his life fighting for the rights of people of the Congo -- but he's playing Samuel L. Jackson. Like many in the film, his speech is far too contemporary to make any sense anywhere in the 1800s. Robbie, while also very likeable, similarly seems too modern for the film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Legend of Tarzan's violence. How does it compare to what you might see in a superhero or shoot-'em-up action movie? Do all kinds of media violence have the same impact?
Which characters are role models? Why? How does this version of Jane compare to others you might have seen in different movies based on the Tarzan story?
Why do you think Tarzan doesn't want to go back to the jungle after living in society for so long? How has he changed?
- In theaters: July 1, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: October 11, 2016
- Cast: Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz
- Director: David Yates
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Book Characters, Wild Animals
- Run time: 109 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sequences of action and violence, some sensuality and brief rude dialogue
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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