John Carter: Movie Review

John Carter is Disney’s latest attempt at a franchise (See: Tron) and again it fails to find a mass audience but does succeed at making an entertaining adventure/sci-fi film.  Andrew Stanton is up to the task as he attempts his first live action film (Sorta) off the heels of his huge successes at Pixar. (Wall-E and Finding Nemo) Stanton does a good job turning Edgar Rice Burrogh’s Pulp Hero John Carter of Mars into a fun adventure flick with some appeal derived from fun 80’s action flicks and a good narrative.

John Carter follows the story of….er….John Carter a former civil war hero who is being recruited to fight Apache (By Walter White) when he encounters a Thern (you’ll catch up eventually) and is transported to Mars.  It’s here where the movie gets interesting as John learns he can jump and has super strength due to the difference in gravity. (Their science, not mine) Soon after arriving John gets wrapped up in a war between Helium and Zodgana as he fights for The Princess of Helium and there story goes from there.

Kids might have a difficult time following the story as there were points where I need a map and compass to follow who’s who and what’s what.  That being said, it’s a good story, basic in it’s nature after weeding through all the Mars jargon but will keep you interested through out and the world building the film makers do here is very well done thanks to the source material. You want to know about these people on this planet, their motivations, etc.  Stanton adds a lot of levity to help balance out seriousness of the waring martian tribes, giving it that classic adventure movie charm.

There’s really no stand outs with the actors, everyone does a serviceable job but don’t really make your socks go up and down.  Taylor Kitch is fine as the lead John Carter but that’s really the only compliment I can give him.  His performance won’t impress you, but it won’t annoy you.  Lynn Collins is the same as The Princess of Helium, she’s excellent to look at and her character is fun as a tough as nails princess who’s motives are unclear to start but acting wise sort of unnoticeable.   The character you really fall for the most is John’s weird Alien Dog that follows him around the entire movie.

The action set pieces are great and the CGI isn’t overly distracting, it works telling this type of fantastical story.  There seemed to be so much more to learn about this world but because of a disappointing box office this will probably be it.   This also won’t help the argument to movie studios that movies without a built in audience don’t generate the type of revenue they’re looking for.  I understand the source material was a book but in this case there was no one claimering for a John Carter of Mars movie in 2012.  Comic book characters, popular books, prequels, sequels, remakes, reboots, people have a built in understanding of what they’re going to see.  It’s a sad truth that seems all the more true as Hollywood moves further and further into this territory but we can get into all of that another time.    I wish I had seen this movie before The Avenger’s which has set the bar for fun action flicks but despite that this movie still works. I enjoyed my time in this world but it was the final moments of the film that put me over giving the audience an extremely satisfying wrap up to an over all fun flick.

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~ by ATOM on June 20, 2012.

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