New Tarzan Film To Take on Parkour and Pirates Style
by Kevin Powers
December 4, 2008
Well it looks like we finally know the direction Stephen Sommers will take his new Tarzan film. According to Entertaiment Weekly, the project is said to jettison the origin angle and inspire images of "Pirates of the Caribbean with buffed-and-tanned actors flying through the jungle and sprinting up trees, parkour-style." If that weren't souring enough, the film is apparently aiming to be a "1930's-set romp with a hefty helping of romance" and will take on a mixed setting of city and jungle. Not that I was particularly interested in this to begin, but I'm even less so now. Sommers' direction, in a larger sense, smacks of trend-chasing with the success of Pirates and an apparent increased industry interest in parkour.
Sommers is on a cliff in my book. While I can certainly blame him for The Mummy Returns and Van Helsing, I'm actually looking forward to G.I. Joe. But even if he redeems himself with his latest, this new Tarzan film seems dicey. Sommers can pull off Pirates-level action, for sure, but the fact that he's going to include parkour as a primary element is worrisome. The movements and techniques were useful in the opening sequence of the first Casino Royale; but more often than not, the element is used as filler eye-candy (as it is in Punisher: War Zone out Friday) and relied on too heavily. I guess Hollywood finally watched District B13 and decided this might be the next cool thing to throw into action movies.
As always, if done right, parkour could fit well within the Tarzan context, but I don't think I can give Sommers enough credit to use it wisely. Tarzan is being written by Pirates writer Stuart Beattie and hasn't been cast yet. Are you more or less interested now that you know Sommers' vision?