|Christopher Lambert and Andie MacDowell|
With his parents dead after a shipwreck off of the African coast, the young Lord Greystoke is taken in by a gorilla who has lost her baby and raises "Tarzan" (Christopher Lambert) as her own. As an adult, the "ape man" comes to the aid of Philippe D'Arnot (Ian Holm), sole survivor of an attack by hostile natives, who in turn takes him to England to claim an uneasy heritage. When Greystoke was released, it was heralded as the first "serious" Tarzan movie, but even the silliest Johnny Weissmuller epic is more entertaining than this tragic mess. The alleged "faithfulness" to Edgar Rise Burroughs has Jane (Andie MacDowell) turning out to be the ward of Tarzan's grandfather (Sir Ralph Richardson). -- Jane never sets foot in the jungle as she does in Burroughs' "Tarzan of the Apes." Worse, even after Tarzan -- who is actually never referred to as such -- comes to England, he keeps making monkey "coo coo" sounds even when he's making love to Jane! In truth, Greystoke comes off at times more like a parody than anything else, and poor Christopher Lambert is given an embarrassing introduction to American films (he had previously appeared in several French movies). This was also Andie MacDowell's [Crush] first movie, and probably because she couldn't come up with a convincing British accent (or couldn't really act) she was dubbed by no less than Glenn Close! Richardson (who was nominated for a posthumous supporting Oscar) comes off best as the half-senile grandfather -- it's a shame that this dreadful exercise in tedium was his penultimate picture. Director Hugh Hudson seems unable to take command of this formidable production as was the case with his Al Pacino film Revolution, and Robert Towne's script would have been better used for bathroom tissue. There is no exciting climax whatsoever. On the plus side, there are some striking shots of both England and Africa and some of John Scott's [Berserk] score is nice. The best thing about the picture are Rick Baker's wonderful and convincing ape costumes. Even the more recent "serious" Tarzan flick, the mediocre Legend of Tarzan, is better than this.
Verdict: Even the actors don't seem to know what to make of it! *.