March 15, 2012
At this time "John Carter" had already received so much bad press, with people already calling it a massive box-office flop for the Disney company. I went to watch this with the whole family yesterday despite all that. At least I am not expecting too much out of this movie already.
"John Carter" is based on a 100-year novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs called "Princess of Mars." "Tarzan" aside, I did not know that Mr. Burroughs had any other books, sci-fi at that, so ahead of his time, so I was interested. Here, a Civil War captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) was transported by a mysterious blue medallion to a foreign planet inhabited by tall lizard-like beings with four arms, where he could "leap tall buildings in a single bound". This planet turns out to be Mars, and he gets involved in its political turmoil as he rescues red-skinned Dejah (Lynn Collins), the plucky and scientific-genius princess of the Helium tribe.
The set-up for me took a little bit too long, and I felt the whole movie go by so very slowly. So I felt that was a really stuffy screenplay by Director Andrew Stanton (who also wrote and directed a number of Pixar classics like "Nemo" and "Wall-E"). However, the visuals and the action were all excellently executed. You can see where the $200+M production went. The sets, props, costumes and CGI were top-notch. So my final verdict is that "John Carter" is not really a bad film. It was very good when it is good. It is just unfortunate that the good parts would have to come after the first hour. (And Taylor Kitsch is the real jerky Hollywood jock-bimbo that his David Letterman interview showed him to be.)