|In Stores | Top Sales | Index | DVD/Movie Archive|
John Carter (2012)
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
For intense sequences of violence and action
Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, James Purefoy, Daryl Sabara, Polly Walker, Bryan Cranston, Thomas Hayden Church, Willem Dafoe
Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon
John Carter (2012)
The film tells the story of war-weary, former military captain John Carter, who is inexplicably transported to Mars where he becomes reluctantly embroiled in a conflict of epic proportions amongst the inhabitants of the planet, including Tars Tarkas and the captivating Princess Dejah Thoris. In a world on the brink of collapse, Carter rediscovers his humanity when he realizes that the survival of Barsoom and its people rests in his hands.
John Carter (2012) | Review
What It Means to Be Human
This film is based on A Princess of Mars (the first of what is now known as the Barsoom Series by Burroughs) that came out one hundred years ago. It is very early science fiction. The Barsoom stories are cited as inspiration by later sci-fi writers such as Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, and Ray Bradbury. Filmmakers as well have noted the influence of these stories on films such as the Star Wars films, and Avatar. But as we watch this film, with all those already in mind, it seems much more like John Carter is borrowing from all those other films. It is a bit of give and take, I think. The basic space opera that the Barsoom stories represent gave rise to all the ways of retelling those stories in the years that followed. But now that John Carter comes to the screen, the technologies of later films are reflected back to the original story.
The story tells of John Carter, a former Confederate officer, who is accidentally transported to Mars (known to its inhabitants as Barsoom). He discovers that because of the lower gravity he has increased strength and jumping abilities. (Think of him as the first superhero.) On Barsoom he first encounters the Tharks, strange nine-foot-tall green creatures with tusks and four arms. The Tharks are somewhere between barbaric brutes and the noble savage of romantic literature. He is originally enslaved by the Tharks, but gains the respect of the Thark king, Tars Tarkas.
Meanwhile two human societies on the planet are at war. The Zodangans are described as a predator people. They are trying to wipe out the Heliumites. The Zondangan king, Sab Than, offers to spare Helium if the Princess, Dejah Thoris will marry him and unite the two societies. Dejah wants nothing to do with it and escapes where she encounters Carter. She is beautiful, intelligent, and committed to saving Barsoom. Carter, having been emotionally scarred by the Civil War, wants nothing to do with wars anymore. He's not open to using his powers in a fight that doesn't matter to him. He just wants to find a way home to Earth. Of course, soon Carter falls in love with Dejah and he sees he must do what he can to save this world.
There is another group (also human-like) on Barsoom, the Therns. These are a magical and manipulative lot. They change shapes, transport from place to place, and claim to be immortal. They act as malevolent gods trying to finally destroy the planet.
As I said, the story would work well as a serial, but doesn't quite reach its potential in this feature-length version. The episodic nature of the story makes the film seem a bit disjointed at times. It is a pretty average adventure story, especially since it is based on such undeveloped science fiction. The love story subplot is rudimentary and superficial. And as far as 3D goes, save the money—the effects here aren't worth it. But that doesn't mean that there isn't a great deal to consider in the film.
Continue: 1 2
Copyright © 2012 Hollywood Jesus. All rights reserved.
More About John Carter
Home | Movies | DVDs | Music | Books | Comix | TV | Games | Sports | HJ Live! | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Contact Us | Subscribe | Donate