March 10, 2012 § 1 Comment
John Carter Review
By: W.B. Preston
First off, let me say I did not go into this movie expecting to like it. Quite the contrary. I thought it was going to be bloated, poorly plotted and ridiculous. Instead I got a well plotted and paced, fun action adventure. But while not quite bloated, John Carter is dense. There is no getting around it. There is a lot of information being thrown at you, in a short amount of time. At the end of the first act, the audience is asked to juggle three separate Martian factions, multidimensional beings, John Carter’s nephew, and the meaning of the relationships between them all.
The gist of it is this: there are two humanoid warring factions, on Mars, and one tall green species that hates both humanoid sides. The Red Humans have a Princess, the Blue humans have a Prince, and the multidimensional beings have given a powerful weapon to the Blue humans and the Prince, for no other reason then that it is easier to control the Blue (dumber) humans then the red. In order to make peace, the Red King will marry off his daughter the Red Princess, to the Blue Prince. John Carter winds up in the middle of this when he is whisked off to mars by one of the multidimensional being’s transportation device. He is captured by the tall green Martians and must navigate this tricky ecosystem in order to survive and eventually make his way home. He learns customs, languages, religions, and Martian History during his adventure. Yes I know this sounds extremely convoluted and messy, and in many ways it is. However In some crazy way, Andrew Stanton and his team have streamlined all of this information into a two hour, action-packed, blockbuster.
By no means is this a perfect movie. There are many terrible dialogue choices, and Taylor Kitsch is terrible in this. In fact I would venture to say that John Carter would have been even better without John Carter. He is the weakest link in this film, followed closely by the screenwriters, most notably the dialogue. But even with all these missteps (critique of the marketing to come) this is one of the best experiences you can have at the movies. The 3D was nonexistent, but I urge you to engulf yourself in John Carter through the IMAX experience. It truly is something to behold.
What lies at the center of this movie is love ultimately. A love for a father, a love for a daughter, a love for a nation, a love of power, a love of freedom, a love lost and everyone vying to obtain the object of their love. In the end, what you love, defines who you are, what your actions represent and what your fate shall be. There is a powerful message buried somewhere deep in the muddied dialogue and bloody skirmishes. Unfortunately, it seems many people will not get the opportunity to find the message for themselves, due to the terrible marketing.
The marketing for this film is criminal. Seriously. Whoever is responsible should be taken to court and tried for crimes against cinema. Punishment should be to watch every movie ever made until death. The strange thing is, it is so simple. The marketing should have focused on the Princess! Her struggle to save her kingdom, and find her place in this world, and John Carter’s ability and unwillingness to help her. That is all they needed to convey, and everyone would have gone to see it. Instead they decided to go the non-plot route, where we see a bunch of random shots of jumping and walking and mugging, and then the title card. Andrew Stanton should be furious with Disney‘s marketing department. In the end this movie gets a 3/5. Slightly lower than Avatar but way higher than Prince of Persia or Clash of the Titans, And a seriously fun time at the movies.
- John Carter Review (thevisionaryfilmfanatic.wordpress.com)
- ‘John Carter’ – What Did You Think? (slashfilm.com)
- Willem Dafoe, Andrew Stanton, and Dominic West Dish on Their John Carter Journey to Mars (popsugar.com)
- Now Playing: John Carter (towleroad.com)
- John Carter – Movie Commentary (monsterscifishow.wordpress.com)
- John Carter – a review (couchslobs.com)
- ‘John Carter’ movie director sticks to sci-fi roots (mnn.com)
- Movie Review: JOHN CARTER (geektyrant.com)
- ‘John Carter’: Creating Woola, lizard-dog Lassie of Mars (herocomplex.latimes.com)
- Hollywood Marketing Efforts: The Curious Case Of John Carter (reelseo.com)