I was skeptical about the possibility of a Guillermo del Toro incarnation of Tarzan being something worth all the effort and all the money and all the uphill climbing required to get a modern audience interested in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ vernacular-challenged hero from a bygone age. Skeptical and a little worried. I’m not a Tarzan fan at all, opting for the Barsoom/Earth’s Core/Time Forgot section of the author’s palette and though I fancy del Toro capable of anything and everything, there was a sneaking suspicion that he could make the best Tarzan movie ever and it still hit theaters with the resounding ‘THUD!‘ of indifference.
Since Guillermo will be spending time in New Zealand… lots of time, he’s not going to be making a Tarzan movie. Though he’ll be producing films [including at least one great little horror ditty] he is unable to dabble in the vines and trees that made Johnny Weissmuller and Ron Ely household names.
Stephen Sommers is!
A Stephen Sommers incarnation of Tarzan makes me want to built a house out of shit and slam the door in the faces of my loved ones. And I like the guy!
Coming off G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, Sommers is ready to prove he read all of the right books as a young man although reading and learning from them are different things altogether. Deep Rising showed he can make great, fun movies. The Mummy proved he can entertain on a large scale and showcase a love for the pulp of yesteryear. The Jungle Book proved that he, um… liked jungles.
Van Helsing proved that he hates freedom.
The early stuff from his Real American Hero adaptation that Paramount has shared with us makes me long for a quick hit and run from a Dreadnok, but until the stuff is in action it’s hard to tell. Plus, let’s be honest: if you’re older than fifteen and have anything invested in G.I. Joe, you probably need to wake the fuck up or face a serious beating from your dad or little sister because both can handle you. When I was fifteen G.I. Joe had already gotten dumb (ie: Serpentor and all that followed) but I could still have a little fun with the toys now and then. When it was rebooted [horribly] by Devil’s Due comics I read a few out of curiosity but realized that while some childish things you should never put away… G.I. Joe is best seen out of an adult’s rearview mirror.
It’s not a total Mulligan for Sommers if it sucks, but it doesn’t totally screw his clout. No, that’s what Van Helsing is for.
In some ways, Tarzan is perfect for him. It’ll keep him distracted and if it’s somehow good and worthy of the respect of the die-hards, Sommers will have pulled off a major feat and if it’s horrible it’ll put the character into another thirty year slumber and I won’t have to write about it anymore.