Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Classic Reborn: Tarzan (2003)

Many moons ago, there was a film, "Tarzan's New York Adventure", which sent Edgar Rice Burroughs' iconic jungle hero to the Big Apple. While I confess I haven't seen the film from start to finish, renting it on DVD one day might erase the stigma of having seen the last attempt at domesticating the ape-man.

Aside from Smallville, which was in its 3rd season, the WB Network wasn't exactly connecting with fans of genre shows of that nature. For example, Birds of Prey, from Smallville producers Brian Robbins & Mike Tollin, was a dud because of an embargo on a certain dark knight. Tarzan was part of that same freshman class in 2003, the classic tale reimagined for a 21st century audience with tropes that, simply put, didn't belong.

Travis Fimmel was given the lead role as Tarzan, aka John Clayton. Ah, but he is not the Earl of Greystoke here. Instead, Greystoke is the name of a coporation owned by Clayton's uncle, Richard (Mitch Pileggi, ex-The X-Files), who rescued his nephew in Africa. As it turns out, of course, John is the heir to the Greystoke company fortune, and Uncle Richard is the greedy "big bad" bent on seeing to it he gets all the money, assuming of course his sister (Lucy Lawless, ex-Xena, Warrior Princess, The X-Files) doesn't help John stop him.

In this version, Jane Porter is a police detective. Go figure. The supporting cast also includes Sarah Wayne Cailles (later of Prison Break) as Jane, plus Miguel A. Nunez, Jr. (ex-Tour of Duty) and Leighton Meester (later of Gossip Girl). I think you can see why it failed.

I tried watching this show one night, back when the WB was programming six nights instead of five (Sunday-Friday). It was so bad (chorus: how bad was it?), everyone involved has probably long since disavowed any knowledge of it.

Here's the intro:

Veteran producer David Gerber would produce one more show for television, the 2006 miniseries, Flight 93, before he passed away in 2010, but this had to have been his first major project since the 80's. And what was Eric Kripke thinking, putting the show in the big city?

Rating: D.

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