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The Legend Of Tarzan by Rupert Gregson-Williams (Review)

posted Jul 6, 2016, 8:28 AM by Kaya Savas

The Legend Of Tarzan is another bloated CGI-fueled attempt of using familiarity to suck in your money as a moviegoer. Tarzan is one of the most iconic characters of human storytelling, and here he sees himself lured into a devious plot where he’s lead back to the jungle and tangled in a scheme with an old enemy, diamonds and lots of apes. David Yates helmed the picture and originally Mario Grigorov was set to compose. Most likely due to WB studio heads wanting a more “epic” sound, they came knocking on Hans Zimmer’s door. Hans then recommended the fantastic Rupert Gregson-Williams, who actually delivers quite an unexpected but welcome somber and engrossing score here.

Thankfully Tarzan is not all bombast and action music, in fact Rupert was able to pull off a pretty nuanced approach. Rupert never goes the expected route to compose “jungle” music, which is great. This is in fact a grand sweeping melancholic score with a pretty thrilling third act. Clearly Rupert was tasked at giving the film a boost to cover up bad writing and acting. The first act is actually pretty dark and brooding, and it does a good job of establishing the danger of the antagonist and the romance between Tarzan and Jane. We get a little bit of Tarzan’s backstory before the score blends that danger and romance for the rest of the score. The music tries its best, but it falls into certain tropes here and there before finally finding its footing in the final act. Romantic danger is a great way of describing the score because it definitely feels steeped in romanticism at times. But then it plunges into these bombastic sections, and I can imagine the studio heads going “we need more action! more danger!”. It’s also worth noting the song Opar, which was sung by Zoe Mthiyane. The song was co-written by Lebo M and Rupert, and is a nice foreboding anthem for the film.

The Legend Of Tarzan may be murky and muddled overall, but Rupert Gregson-Williams was able to navigate troubled waters to deliver a score that stands out in many ways, but also feels a bit manufactured in others. The overall tone that comes from blending classic romanticism with melancholic danger is the real appeal here. That alone makes the score standout and worth experiencing.