Tarzan, the Ape Man Reviews
This movie was a remake of the Johnny Weissmuller classic movie. Bo Derek plays Jane without any clothes. The movie was filmed in Sri Lanka and the Seychelles islands not Africa. The geography of the fictional Africa was totally unrealistic. As in the original movie they climb an escarpment to find Tarzan's home but in this movie they find an inland sea at the top of the escarpment. There is no inland sea in Africa. There is one lake but no inland sea and no escarpments either. They also had Tarzan living with chimpanzees and an orangutan. There are no orangutans in Africa. The natives in this movie didn't look very African either. The movie's dialog is boring. The whole purpose of the movie is to see Bo Derek in the nude. The movie was directed by her husband John Derek. He was an excellent photographer but not a very good movie director. The movie has great pictures but no acting. As in the original movie they never explain were Tarzan came from. The fight scene at the end was in slow motion which was a cliché from 1970's westerns. I saw this movie at a theater in the corner of a strip mall off South May Avenue in Oklahoma City. The theater is closed now but the mall is still there. One of the women leaving the movie complained how bad the movie was but said Tarzan was cute. I enjoyed it the first time I watched it but when I got the Laserdisc and watched it years later I could see that it was pretty boring. It was still the only movie I ever went to that no one got up to leave during the closing credits. They just sat there and watched a nude Jane frolicking with Tarzan and the orangutan.
Jane (Bo Derek) finds her long lost father (Richard Harris) on a quest to find Hidden Secrets about an African Jungle. One of which happens to be a an Ape Man kown as Tarzan. As Jane and Tarzan encounter each other, they grow a bond... I'm not sure what kind of bond it is but clearly they're close. Yeah you're probably just as confused as I am.
By the title, you would think this would be just an adaptation of the Tarzan Novel. However, if you were lucky to see the trailer as I was you can easily tell this film is just an excuse to have Bo Derek get naked. Really if this film wasn't so long it could easily join the fun bad movies I like to watch like Supergirl or The Room. Unfortunately, there are times when the film really drags and has constants stops and starts. There is literally a scene of Jane and Tarzan fighting an obvious rubber snake for 10 whole minutes. I would be okay with this if the fight was exciting or added something to the "story" but it just comes off as a huge waste of film.
Do I even need to say anything about the acting in this? In particular Bo Derek's? Yeah Pia Zadora is a terrible actress too but at least she can do two emotions somewhat properly. Bo pretty much does nothing but pose and moan erotically in the entire film. Whenever she says anything, I just don't believe the way she says her lines or how she delivers them. For instance, there's a scene where she is eating a banna (in the most erotic way possible) and tells Tarzan she's a virgin. Yeah, I'm going to call Bull Crap on that. I don't want to be mean here, but it's hard for me to believe Bo Derek as a virgin in this movie. I don't know if it's the way the character of Jane is acted or the way she's written but I have a hard time believing this character has no experience in anything sexual. I will say this, Richard Harris' acting is hilarious. I would almost say he's the male counterpart of Faye Dunaway. Whenever he spoke or yelled at the top of his lungs I would just laugh out of nowhere.
I would say the huge issue with the film is the fact that it's so boring. Supposedly, Tarzan, The Ape Man is an "adventure" film. Excuse me, but where the hell is the adventure? For more than half the movie, we see nothing but people walking through a boring jungle and camping out somewhere to have stupid dialog about fear or whatever. Even the scens with Tarzan and Jane together are pretty boring. They don't even have sex they pretty much just elude to it without doing the deed. Which leads to another issue with the film, these two morons don't belong together! Really is there relationship only going to be all about sex? There's an obvious language barrier and it's quite maddening to think you two will do nothing but bone each other while you look into each other's eyes awkwardly.
As much as I bash this film "Tarzan, The Ape Man" is not the worst movie I ever seen. I would say "Mommie Dearest" or "Glitter" would still be way more horrible than this movie. Still, that's not saying much. This is still a really awful film. The chemistry is not believable, the acting in general is not believable, the writing is completely off, the dialog is moronic and the characters are nothing but tolls in a film that cannot ever be fixed. It doesn't matter how many times Bo Derek gets naked in this, she's still a bad actress and this is still dumb movie.
Unfortunately, it didn't help and the poor direction, bad acting, and mediocre script (not to mention the infamous fight scene with the rubber snake) make it the worst of the Tarzan films.
Where is Johnny Weissmuller when we need him?
Bo looks great but the movie is a complete mess and is a movie about Tarzan in name only and has nothing to do with the actual character of the books.