John Carter (2012) * * * * *
Director: Andrew Stanton
Stars: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins and Willem Dafoe
"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."
John Carter, as you already know if you pay any attention to the media in general, has some problems. It was ridiculously expensive to make, has a stupid name that doesn't mean anything (don't even get me started on that), and Disney's marketing machine totally dropped the ball when it came to producing trailers and advertisements that actually told people what the movie was about. In fact, most of them didn't make any sense unless you ALREADY knew what the movie was going to be about! Then on top of all that, half the critics didn't care for the movie for mostly frivolous reasons and predicted that no one would go see it, which then became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even the critics who did like the movie predicted that it would flop, simply because the people who would normally go see a movie like John Carter had no idea that it was the kind of movie that they would like - because trailers that are a montage of someone jumping super-high tells NOTHING about the story! Which is all Disney's marketing machine showed us, thereby fulfilling that earlier prophecy. Still with me?
Here's the deal - John Carter was AN AMAZING MOVIE, Y'ALL! There, I said it! It's a really, really, really good movie, and if you like Sci-Fi, or Fantasy, or Planetary Romance, or Action-Adventure, then you're probably going to like John Carter. Even though it is a stupid name for a movie.
If you have read "A Princess of Mars," which the movie is based on, you'll notice that there are a few differences. The movie is very faithful to the spirit and feeling of the book, and to most of the major events of the book, while the few things that the movies changed, left out, or added, all made the story stronger, tighter, and more engaging.
However, knowledge of the original novel is not necessary to follow the storyline. I've read several reviews where individuals who hadn't read the book claimed they couldn't keep track of what was going on, what everyone's name was, and who the bad guys were. My only response to that is that if the viewer is of at least average intelligence, he or she should have no trouble following the plot, even if they haven't read the book. Bob saw the movie with me, and he hasn't read the book, and he followed along just fine. It's just not that complicated - so some reviewers should just stop being haters.
The special effects are incredible, which is to be expected, and while I've seen some people complain about the 3D, I thought it worked well. It's got great pacing and writing. Add to that the surprisingly good acting, some well-placed humor, and a female lead who is most definitely NOT the "fainting-damsel-in-distress," (Hooray for strong female characters!) and it all adds up to a really fun adventure.
Simply put, in my opinion, this movie is great like Star Wars was great when it first came out. And for the disapproving reviewers who have complained that John Carter is a derivative rip-off of Star Wars, I would like to once again point out that Edgar Rice Burroughs dreamed up air-speeders and floating warships quite a few decades before George Lucas did, and John Carter was dueling aliens with swords long before Luke Skywalker.
So please, stop listening to the reviews who claim they "couldn't follow the plot." Go see the movie yourself, and I'm guessing you'll enjoy it. I give John Carter 5 stars for being a great, fun, and all-around good movie. What more could you ask for? So go see John Carter, even if it does have a stupid name. Bob liked it, and I think you will too.
Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment and tell me what you think!