review for Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes on AllMovie

Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984)
by Michael Hastings review

The phrase "ponderous, high-minded summer entertainment" rarely comes to mind in the post-Lucas movie world, but the 1984 turkey Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes earns every word of it. Hugh Hudson's ludicrous attempt to update the Tarzan legend for a more savvy '80s audience digs up plenty of crusty fictions as it ignores all of the pulp of the best Tarzan serials. After a clumsy but lush opening passage showing the young boy being raised among the apes -- which no doubt aspires to the poetry of 2001's opening sequence but ends up closer to the ersatz grunts and moans of Quest for Fire -- the movie stalls completely with its stuffy, starched, Merchant-Ivory-style treatise on the "civilized" world. What's left is a sumptuous, embalmed period piece, dotted with infamously inept performances from Christopher Lambert and Andie MacDowell (who, like Jessica Lange and Michelle Pfeiffer before her, managed to survive such an inauspicious Hollywood starring debut).