John Carter

Source
Source
Source
Source
Source

John Carter

Director: Andrew Stanton

Writers: Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon, Edgar Rice Burroughs

Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Mark Strong, Samantha Morton, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church, CiarĂ¡n Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Bryan Cranston, Polly Walker, Daryl Sabara

Synopsis: Transplanted to Mars, a Civil War vet discovers a lush planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter a princess who is in desperate need of a savior.

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action


Arise John Carter of Mars!

Although many people might bash this movie saying that it allegedly steals references from other science fiction classics like "Star Wars" and etc., but many of those same people fail to realize that "John Carter" existed long before many science fiction franchises even existed; hence it's kind of the other way around if you want to start splitting heirs.

To be honest, I was sorely surprised to see how many film critics bashed this movie, but I honestly thought it was a well orchestrated science-fiction action epic piece. If anything, it not only met all my expectations, but it also surpassed them as well. Based on the trailers alone, we already knew this film was going to deliver on the special effects part, and action elements tenfold. Hell, it's kind of a given these days considering the era of movies that we live in. However, what I wasn't expecting was a film that would become arguably one of the best movies of 2012 that I've seen thus far.

The movie is based on the series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who some might be more familiar with when it comes to his other works; involving the infamous "Tarzan" character specifically. A long time ago, Edgar wrote a book series based on a character that was a Civil War Confederate vet, who somehow finds himself transported to Mars. From there, he'd find himself in all sort of adventures that would go on to serve as something of a blueprint for future science fiction franchises. Take in mind, the Mars that John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) gets transported to isn't the same planet that many NASA experts talk about in various documentaries, and text books. No, this version of Mars is more of an imagined fantasy piece if anything else, so I wouldn't bother trying to break down how scientifically plausible this film is; which sadly makes this film's story a bit dated by today's standards. However, it's just a movie anyway, so there's really no point in taking it that seriously.

Anyway, due to a series of unlikely events, John Carter finds himself on Mars, where surprisingly the atmosphere not only allows him to breath, but due to it's low level of gravity, he seems to possess super human strength and agility within the planet's atmosphere. Along the way, he eventually finds himself in the middle of a war on the planet Mars, and he also meets a lovely princess named Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), who happens to in desperate need of a savior.

I won't bother divulging too much into the story, as I would hate to ruin it for too many readers. However, I will say that movie is surprisingly better than what most critics give it credit for. To be honest, I think if this film had somehow come out, with cheesier effects, back when "B-Movies" were coming out, then "John Carter" might have been more well received; considering that we didn't really know much about astrology during Golden Age era of Hollywood. Therefore, "John Carter" would've been a lot more plausible for most audiences to buy into it. Unfortunately, "John Carter" suffers from coming out in the wrong era, where some people would look at a film like "John Carter" and say, "That's not how Mars is! Didn't these morons do any research about the actual planet itself?"

However, what many of these same skeptics fail to realize is that the film is based on a character that was created way back in 1912, and very few people knew anything about what the real planet Mars was like back then. Therefore, a lot of science fiction writers would often speculate about it all the time; with logic or scientific proof be damned. Hell, even "Twilight Zone" had it's share of episodes with aliens from Mars too. Therefore, if you go into this movie expecting it to be realistic, then you're going to be disappointed. As I stated earlier, this film isn't set in the same Mars that many of us might have seen discussed in various science documentaries, or text books. No, this is more of a fantasy piece about Mars, so please bear that in mind if you watch this.

As for the rest of the film, it's actually quite enjoyable, as the trailers don't do the movie any real justice at all. For example, one might look at the Princess of Mars as nothing more than a would be "damsel in distress", who's only two functions serve to look pretty in scantly clothes and become the hero's main squeeze. I do apologize if that comes across as sexist, as I have a lot of respect for women. However, when it comes to most movies, even most feminists will tell you that Hollywood writers don't often portray women that well. Luckily for "John Carter", this doesn't seem to be an issue at all.

If anything, Dejah is even more fearless than John Carter; considering that she lacks the physical advantages that John has, who benefits mainly from being born on a planet with heavier gravity. Gee, I guess this must be where part of the inspiration for "Superman" might have came from, as he too had super human abilities due to coming from a planet with heavier gravity. However, those things won't stop her from risking her life, to do what's right. Sure, some people may roll their eyes asking, "Why is it necessary for her to run around half naked throughout most of the movie?" But to be fair though, it does seem like she showed a lot more skin during some of the book illustrations that I was able to look up through google, so it could have been worse.

However, from a character standpoint, she's actually quite a strong willed character, who isn't afraid to voice her opinions, and she's willing to fight for what she believes in. Granted, John still has to save her somehow around the ending, but throughout most of the film, she's portrayed as a very strong willed woman that could easily hold her own in a fight.

As for Taylor Kitsch, I really hope "John Carter" becomes a hit over the long run. Sure, this movie may be considered a bomb for now, but "Duck Soup" was also a bomb upon it's initial release. Yet, years later it would go on to be considered one of the greatest films of all time. I'm not saying "John Carter" should be deemed a classic, but it's definitely deserves a lot more praise than it's currently getting. Anyway, like most leading men in action films, Taylor seems to carry his part rather well. If anything, I thought he did a helluva a lot better job in this movie, than Sam Worthington did in his "Clash of the Titans" film.

Of course, where would a science fiction epic be without a great villain? Enter Mark Strong. Not only does Mark do an excellent job playing the skillful bad guy manipulating things behind the scenes, but he does it with such quiet calm reserve that makes his character come off as both dignified, and kind of intimidating at the same time.

However, that's not to say this film is by any means perfect. Like most films of this ilk, the movie still follows many cliches of the genre, and the ending seems more of a tease to entice viewers to see a possible sequel; rather than making it seem more like a well rounded film.

Overall, most audiences should be able to enjoy "John Carter" if they're not expecting any kind of realism, and only want to see a film that's aesthetically appealing; while offering a story that leans more on escapism appeal rather than giving you a story that makes you think (i.e. "Inception"). However, you have to keep in mind that the story did serve as a blue print for various science fiction franchises that came out over the decades; hence I wouldn't be too harsh on the film. In the end, I'd have to give "John Carter" a solid three out of four. It's not the best science fiction/fantasy movie that I've seen, but it's definitely the best one that I've seen in 2012 thus far.

More by this Author

  • Critic's Corner:  How to Make Space Jam 2 work
    0

    Originally, I was going to rant about why "Space Jam 2" is such a bad idea, but since that's been done to death on the internet, I figured I come up with a few ways on how it could work.

  • Central Intelligence
    1

    A one time bullied fat kid grows up to be in the CIA, and recruits the assistance of his friend, who used to be the big man on campus in high school. Together, they might be America's last hope.

  • Ben-Hur (1959)
    1

    When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sentenced to slavery by his Roman best friend, he regains his freedom and vows revenge against those who have wronged him, while saving his family.


Comments 22 comments

Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 4 years ago from Scotland

Hi Steven

Interesting review. The movie has been lambasted this week all over the media. So good to read something positive. Maybe it will be a sleeper but I doubt Disney will recoup the money they spent on it. That's the problem with blockbusters, they need to make most of the money in the first couple of weeks it seems or else it's branded a flop.

Cheers


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 4 years ago from Columbia, MD

I personally loved the movie so much that I went out and bought the book series afterwards. I have a gut feeling we will not see any sequels, which saddens me, so I had to find out where the story goes. What pained me even more when I saw the film was that I went with a friend and me and him were half the audience. Mind you, it was opening week. I can guarantee you that John Carter is a better film than Silent House or the Lorax. I understand the Lorax has a much bigger appeal to a bigger audience but come on, 4 people to see one of the best movies this year all because "critics" deem it a failure largely in part due to their lack of knowledge. The cherry on top of that normal cherry of how this movie is being looked in the wrong light was that when the movie was over, everyone outside of me yelled "what a rip off!" "I could have seen Avatar again instead. That had better 3D."

Sorry for the rant, I couldn't go that far into a rant on mine lol. Great review though, I agree in large part with you. I was very impressed with Lynn Collins as Dejah. She did a terrific job, especially now that I am already done the first book so I have a better grasp of the characters. Taylor Kitsch I feel is for sure on his way to becoming a bigger actor from his Gambit (X-Men),and Tim Riggins (Friday Night Lights) days.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England

Thanks for the review. I saw the film recently and thoroughly enjoyed it. And Lynn Collins was the highlight for me, not only did she look like a princess she was a spunky heroine too, I hope we see more of her in the future.

The film did lag in the middle and I've read more than one review where the complaint was the film needed one more action setpiece, and I agree. Seems like Stanton was saving it all for the big finish.

It was a good SF adventure for the whle family, and if its a flop, than its the first flop to gross more than $200m, which is more than most 'hits' manage.


angie ashbourne profile image

angie ashbourne 4 years ago

Hi! Good review. We heard the movie was a flop, we are waiting for it to come out on DVD to see it. Angie


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 4 years ago from Columbia, MD

Steve, I heard that Lynn Collins is potentially up for a role as Wonder Woman down the line. I honestly think she hasn't had enough roles yet. She was in maybe 2 episodes of True Blood, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

@shinkicker

Thanks I'm glad you thought the review was interesting. However, you never can tell with Disney though. I remember hearing the same thing about "Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" not doing as well as Disney hoped either, and I remember there was word that they wouldn't be a sequel to it.

Of course, after the success of "Avatar", they gave it another chance by releasing the sequel in 3-D. Hopefully, this film will do well in the long run though. Hell, "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" didn't do well it's opening weekend, but it managed to somehow crawl up to number one the following week, due to good word of mouth.

Although based on what I read from Nick's comments below, I'm not sure that'll happen for "John Carter", but one can only hope.

Your right that the problem with most blockbusters, they often hinge on making a lot of money the first two opening weekends. However, it'll be interesting to see how well this film does in the long run, as i hope it picks up the remaining costs overseas and on dvd/blue ray at least. anyway, thanks for stopping by, to share some of your thoughts with us.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

@angie

Thanks Angie. Well, it was a flop, but I hope it still manages to become a success in the long run, as it's really a lot better than most people give it credit for. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the film whenever you get a chance to see it, and thanks for stopping by again. :)


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

@steve lensman

Your welcome, and thanks a lot for stopping by to share some of your thoughts with us, Steve. Yeah, I agree with you about Lynn Collins, as she was definitely one of the highlights of this film. Hopefully this movie does well in the long run though, as I think part of the reason why this film bombed was because it came out too early. If they had manage to secure a slot during the summer, I think it might've done a lot better. Of course, that's just me.

As for it lagging in the middle, I don't know about that, as I thought the film moved at a pretty decent pace, as I think they were just trying to set up the story for possible sequels; which may not happen considering how it turned out.

Anyway, it was good seeing you again buddy. :)


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

@nickalooch

Wait a minute, there's a Wonder Woman movie in the works now? I thought that film was in development hell the last time i checked. I guess Warner Bros. and DC changed their minds about it if that's the case. Hopefully, she gets the part, as I can definitely see her playing Wonder Woman after seeing this movie. Thanks for the inside tip.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 4 years ago from Columbia, MD

No problem. Again, sorry for the earlier rant lol. It was a 6 in the morning and I couldnt get to sleep lol.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

@nickalooch

Well, I can't comment on "Silent House", as I haven't seen it. However, I do agree with you that "John Carter" is a better movie than "The Lorax." However, I'm surprised to hear members of the audience reacted that way after they saw it. that's rather odd, as I honestly thought this movie was better than "Avatar" if you want me to be honest.

Oh well, to each their own.

As for ranting, I don't mind. Rant away. lol. Besides, I think it's really sad that more people didn't give this movie a chance, as it's definitely one of the better films of this year if you ask me.

As for Lynn Collins, I hope she ends up becoming a bigger star someday, as she definitely has a lot of talent. As for Taylor, I think your right about him as well. It's a shame Gambit wasn't written that well in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine", as I think Taylor would've been an awesome Gambit. Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us again buddy.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

Nah, don't worry about it. no worries. besides, i've done that myself a few times as well, so i know how you feel. lol.


Robertlentini profile image

Robertlentini 4 years ago from Boston, MA

i'll have to see this eventually.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

That's cool. Well i hope you enjoy the film. :)


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

Hi Steven; I think this is the first positive review I've read for "John Carter". I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'll probably wait for it on DVD or cable, but I hope its as good as you describe it. I've only read two of the "John Carter" novels so maybe I need to read more of them before I see this.

Who knows, maybe this film will be reevaluted in years to come, like "Bladerunner" which was maligned on its initial release, critically and box office wise.

Rob


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

That's cool. Well, i hope you enjoy the film whenever you get a chance to see it, and thanks for stopping by. You never know what the future holds, so you might be right. we'll have to wait and see.


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

Nice review it sounds like a movie that I will enjoy....it seems the only press it is getting now...is how big a box office bomb it will be....it is doing well overseas....and should earn about 70 to 80 million here in the states and about 200 overseas....that makes it close to the 250 million budget...

I will return to this review after I see John Carter....and finally you make great points that the source material has been around decades longer the movies people think it is stealing from...voted up and useful.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

Thanks Bruce. I'm glad you liked the review, as i hope you enjoy the movie whenever you get a chance to see it. :)


blondey profile image

blondey 4 years ago

I liked this movie, but the alien part was very weird. I felt weird after the movie.

You seem to put a lot of your own opinion, I guess that's what writing reviews is about? Or are you suppossed to just tell the story?


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

Actually, writing a review mainly consists of the author giving you small details about what the film is about, while carefully leaving out enough detail to where it doesn't ruin the movie for you; while also giving detailed reasons why they thought the film is good or bad. You don't have to agree with them, but it's really more of an opinion. I didn't really discuss the story too much in this movie because it's not an overly complicated plot to begin with, and if I had mentioned most of it, then it would've been easy for most readers to figure out. Plus, I do read a lot of movie reviews sometimes before publishing my own, so I try to avoid going over too many things other critics have cited. Or if i have to go over those same things, then i only mention them briefly.


blondey profile image

blondey 4 years ago

That's cool

=)


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago Author

thanks. :)

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working