919 of 983 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2012
I went in to "John Carter" filled with trepidation. I often avoid these big, splashy CGI spectacles that never live up to their promises and I was sure that this film was going to be nothing more than lots of cinematic eye candy and short on substance. Added to that there was a lot of lackluster critical reviews. Well, all I can say is that this was a grand entertainment and I am so glad I caught it on the big screen!
I've heard some critics say the plot was a mess and overly convoluted. Really? My suggestion to them is "don't text while watching a movie, you might miss something". I found the plot fairly well done and actually made sense (if only the last Star Trek film had that going for it) and was interesting to boot.
I also read that the look of Barsoom (Mars to you and me) was dull and uninteresting. Hmmm, never been an admirerer of the stark and raw beauty of the American southwest I guess. Personally I found Barsoom to be beautiful, alien, exotic and familiar all at the same time. After all, the Mars rovers have confirmed that the Red Planet does indeed look like our American southwest and I for one happen to think both places very scenic.
Some critics have said the story is dull and lifeless. OK, put down the crack pipe and step away from the video game console. "John Carter" has a great fast paced plot with lots of interesting twists and turns. I also thought the characters were nicely drawn, if not overly complex, and that the alien races on Barsoom to be very interesting with fascinating customs which only made me want to learn more about them.
Other critics have complained that they have seen this stuff before in movies like Star Wars and Avatar. Wellllll, it seems as though those two directors (among other film makers and writers) have been looting the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs for quite some time so I guess there is bound to be a feeling of deja vu.
Have we really become such a culture that is so easily jaded? Can we no longer feel that sense of wonder and feeling of adventure in a film like "John Carter"? Maybe we are too use to storylines being spoon fed to us in easily digested bites and cannot follow along with a film that isn't zipping past our eyeballs at 186,000 miles per second with flashy explosions at every eye blink. If true then how sad that such a wondrous film will get pushed to the wayside in favor of something like Transformers 8.
910 of 979 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2012
John Carter captures the spirit of the original ERB books very well. I'm not going to give a thorough review of the movie because so many other reviewers have already done that. I will, however, say that everyone involved in the production of this movie should be commended. The film takes Burroughs' "A Princess of Mars" and combines elements of the second book "Gods of Mars" (adding a few tweaks along the way) to create what can be called a mini-masterpiece. The story is well-written, the characters are fleshed out, the FX enhance the story not overshadow it, and the acting is excellent. The stunning Lynn Collins steals the show with her performance as Princess Dejah Thoris, Taylor Kitsch is admirable as Carter, and Willem Dafoe is perfect as the Thark leader Tars Tarkas. Andrew Stanton did a great job directing, the score is memorable, and the visuals are breathtaking.
If you haven't read the original books (which are absolute classics), you'll enjoy this movie because it's a great movie. If you're already a fan of the books, you'll love the movie despite some of the changes (John Carter was never married before he went to Mars, for one), which can be overlooked (If you want an almost accurate representation of the source material, Dynamite Entertainment's "Warlord or Mars" comic series [along with the excellent spin-offs] is highly recommended. In fact, it's probably the best comic book out there right now). I'm already a huge John Carter fan, and this movie is a wonderful addition to the world of John Carter.
Do not let the critics stop you from seeing this movie. Anyone who gave this movie a bad review is an idiot and was probably on something when they saw this movie, or they based their reviews solely on the awful trailers. The marketing campaign for this movie is one of the worst I've ever seen, and there has been little or no merchandising for this movie-it's almost like Disney wanted this movie to fail. There are some fan trailers on the internet that absolutely blow away what Disney put out, and they really make you want to see the movie. I've given up hope that we'll see the sequels, but maybe people will listen to everyone that has actually seen the movie without an agenda, and the final box office and DVD/Blu-ray sales can keep the franchise going.
In closing, I cannot wait til John Carter comes out on DVD, and I give my highest recommendation to this film.
483 of 522 people found the following review helpful
Former Confederate Civil War soldier, Captain John Carter has nothing left to fight for when he finds himself transported to a desert planet. Suddenly among a warrior tribe of four-armed aliens and a beautiful princess, Carter ends up in the middle of another war. But when faced with the chance of returning home to Earth, Carter may have found a cause worth fighting for in Princess Dejah and the people of Barsoom.
Taylor Kitsch stars as John Carter, the bitter and destitute man who cares for nothing but his found cave of gold. Kitsch has a young face and stoic countenance, perfect for the role of the ageless John Carter. He's a believable fighter and a great straight man to plenty of humor. Princess Dejah is played by Lynn Collins, who has terrific chemistry with John Carter, and is just as strong and smart as her male counterparts (if not more). Mark Strong and Dominic West are fantastic villains, especially West as a surprisingly charming and attractive (though naïve) despot. And my favorite characters in the novel (Princess of Mars) as well as the film were the Tharks, played by Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church and Samantha Morton. Though CGI, the characters still brought depth, emotion, and humor and successfully brought Burroughs' characters to life.
Based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic Princess of Mars (published in 1917), John Carter is a surprising and exceptional retelling. I recently read Princess of Mars in anticipation for the film. And though the film doesn't delve into the depth of the Tharks' stories as I would have liked, it still captures the spirit of the novel. And the natives of Barsoom get an impressive technology upgrade, and the science is updated for the awe-factor in the film.
I had my reservations after seeing the official trailers. But I was happy to see that the screen writers and director Andrew Stanton knew what they were doing, even if the marketing was off. This fan was captivated from beginning to end and loved every minute of this epic adventure. Full of fascinating characters, life-like aliens, and advanced technology - science fiction fans will certainly enjoy John Carter. But the action-packed thrills, suspense, drama, romance, and incredible story will appeal to a wide range of new fans - of all ages. It's heart-warming, inspirational, and highly entertaining. Don't miss this one.
92 of 102 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2012
This was an Epic fail on Disney's part for not getting behind this film. I cannot say enough good about this movie. It is rare that a film grabs me and pulls me in from start to finish as thoroughly as John Carter did. I won't rehash the plot or review the actual film, but I can say without a doubt that this is a must purchase. If you missed out on this in theaters due to the shoddy/lack of marketing and/or ridiculously negative reviews from critics who hadn't actually watched the film then you owe it to yourself to buy this Blu Ray.
I truly believe this movie will become a classic despite it's "flop" beginnings. I took my 7 and 9 year old boys to this in the theater and they couldn't stop talking about it! (Neither could I for that matter.) If Disney would have done right by this it could have been their "Star Wars".
79 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2012
Kaor!!! I won't go into what the movie was about. There are plenty of reviews here that do that very well. Another won't mean that much. I have been waiting 50 years for this movie to come out and I, personally, was not disappointed one bit, despite some of the changes the writers/director made to the original story. In some instances, such as the increased fleshing out (no pun intended about the luscious Lynn Collins) of the character of Dejah Thoris from helpless princess to a more well rounded female personality, was a well founded idea and is proabably (again with the help of Ms Collins exceptional acting ability) part of the reason why everyone who raves about this movie really does so. As so many have said, she stole the movie from Taylor Kitsch. In the scene where he finally realizes he is on Mars, her superior acting ability makes him look superfluous to the scene, unfortunately for him. Don't get me wrong, I think he did a good job for his first starring role, but when placed next to a more seasoned actor such Ms. Collins or even Willem Dafoe as Tars Tarkas, he sadly loses out. I STILL LOVED this movie though, beginning to end.
Now, the marketing campaign. I have heard that marketing heads have rolled as a result of the botched effort on this movie. As they should have. From the minute they decided to change the name from John Carter of Mars to just John Carter, it has been a marketing disaster. Several fan made trailers have made their rounds on the internet that did a MUCH better job of describing the story and marketing this movie than the so called professionals ever thought of. I don't know if the people in marketing put the fear of "Prince of Persia" into Andrew Stanton's head,and this was part of his reasoning for some of the changes, but I feel he bears some of the blame himself. Not for the movie. His movie is magnificent and I really wish there would be the sequels of Gods of Mars and Warlord of Mars, but just how everyone handled the selling of the movie. It saddened me so much to see only 4-5 people in the movie theater with me when it should have been packed. The movie has it's weak points, to be sure, but it's over all strengths far outweigh any weaknesses.
None the less, I have already put in my notice with Amazon.com I want to be notified the minute this movie becomes available to order because I will definitely buy it.
74 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2012
Saw this movie last weekend with my kids. Having read Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars (Barsoom) series I had big expectations. I was not disappointed. A grand adventure in every sense. This movie is at least a good as AVATAR, and is now one of my favorite Scifi movies. Will be getting the DVD as soon as it is available - and look forward to watching it again and again.
69 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2012
After reading the series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs (and would totally recommend them to anyone, especially the first three books), I was really looking forward to seeing this. The fact that at the helm is a director that actually knows how to tell a story put it in good stead. Even though the trailers did come across as a Star Wars/Avatar clone, and people are already lazily writing it off as such, but as the original book 'A Princess Of Mars' was first published 100 years ago, you can see after reading the book that George Lucas, James Cameron were definitely 'inspired' and mined the books for ideas.
Well, that day has at last arrived! John Carter is finally on the big screen, and I have to say, I loved it! From when we first see the battle of the Zodangan and Heliumite airships over the skies of Barsoom (Mars), it really reminded me of the old swashbuckling movies and overall, director Andrew Stanton seems to have recaptured that old pulp action adventure spirit. Yes, I wasn't expecting a true book-to-film adaptation, things were missing or changed from the book, but then again, it's always to be expected. Not everything will translate well from the page and your imagination to screen, not forgetting that the original source material in 100 years old too.
I thought the leads played their parts pretty well, impressed with Lynn Collins' Dejah Thoris (I think I'm in love!) and James Purefoy's Kantos Kan, even if his role was pretty brief! I also liked the way the movie was bookended with the Edgar Rice Burroughs (Daryl Sabara) scenes.
Forget the critics, it's much better than you think. And if you like a good old fun swashbuckling pulp action adventure, like the Sinbad films of old (or even Raiders Of The Lost Ark perhaps), you should give this a watch! Recommended!
66 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2012
This is a review of the 3D from the movie John Carter (of Mars) 3D.
First, I enjoyed the 2 hour movie quite a bit and was warped into the world thanks to a like-able, well acted cast of characters and aliens, along with some great adventure as John Carter sets out to solve the mystery while choosing to sacrifice his freedom or not, regarding the princess, who needs his reluctant help.
3D REVIEW of JOHN CARTER: Note: This is a 2D to 3D conversion with 3D CGI computer graphics. This suggests only the live action was converted.
First, the parallax 3D (the layers of objects and the depth between them) is top notch here. The different characters really stand out strongly from foreground and background. If you value clearly separate layers of depth in your 3D movie, this one delivers throughout from beginning to end on an impressive level. The characters themselves also show good volume, so they are not flat cardboard cutouts. That's important.
Next, the depth reaching into the screen, is also present. You can look far into the screen without any trouble.
As far as pop out (objects moving outside the screen towards you), there are a few nice pop out moments here or there, but mostly, the film keeps things within the confines of the screen.
3D Layers: 9/10
3D Depth: 8/10
3D Pop Out 5/10
3D OVERALL: 9/10 (not an average). This movie looks great in three dimensions.
If you value 3D adventure movies, John Carter 3D is one to really consider adding to your collection. 2 hours of excellent 3D. Buy it.
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
"John Carter" was so brutally savaged by most critics that I felt I was taking a chance buying the four-disk set (which I got at a very good price). Well, it's a delightful, highly entertaining film.
Unlike the dreadful "Flash Gordon", "John Carter" respects its source. The tone is serious, without arch or campy humor. The story is treated as romantic fantasy, which is what it is. (Michael Giacchino's excellent score sets the right mood.) Though there's a fair amount of action, it's not excessive or gratuitous. The focus is principally on the characters. The ending is highly satisfying, and //almost// draws a tear. Almost.
Taylor Kitsch (an unfortunate name for the star of a fantasy film!) isn't a great actor, but he's more than competent. His height (IMDB says he's 6', but he looks a lot shorter) and wiry build make him a believable 19th-century soldier.
One assumes Roger Ebert's readers are more-perceptive than the average movie-goer, so it's notable that the viewer rating on Ebert's site is 3 out of 4 stars.
Once people who didn't see "John Carter" in the theater see it on home video, they'll talk it up. "John Carter" is a good film that needs no apology, and will eventually be considered a classic fantasy.
ADDENDUM ("PS" seemed weak)... It's rare to see a film receive such wildly varying audience reviews: "A masterpiece!" is followed by "It's garbage!". We all think we have better taste/judgment than those who disagree with us. Being no different, I feel obliged to stick in another two cents.
No doubt fanboys (of which I an /not/ one) like films such as "John Carter" simply because they're acceptable adaptations of a favorite story. Then there are those who detest such films because they don't like the genre, or they find fault with (what they perceive as) "bad" acting/writing/direction.
My all-time favorite film is the magnificently acted and directed "Amadeus". (Peter Shaffer's screenplay is merely "excellent". The acting and direction raise it to a perceived level of superbativeness.) I just got the DVD of "The Apostle", Robert Duvall's tour-de-force of writing, acting, and directing, to replace my LV copy. I'll be taking a course in screenwriting at TheFilmSchool in July (yes, really), and wanted to watch it at least once again. (If you haven't seen this film, /do so/.) I think I know the difference between "good" and "bad", writing-, acting-, and directing-wise.
What, exactly, were the "John Carter" haters expecting? It's taken from pulp novels written by a man who felt he could churn out fiction at least as rotten (his word) as the cheap stuff he was reading. The film spends 1/7 its running time giving John Carter a backstory, so we know why he acts as he does. The story plays out as drama (though a weak one); the characters' personalities and interactions are generally plausible. (I don't know how much Michael Chabon contributed, but it's hard to believe he wouldn't have tried to push what is basically an action/adventure tale in the direction of a character-driven story.)
"John Carter" avoids some of the clichés of romantic fiction. Carter might be a great sword-swinger, but he won't fight other people's battles. (This is why some viewers incorrectly perceive him as a "pacifist".) And as Carter still pines for his wife, do you expect him to immediately start drooling over Ms Thoris's thorax? (Though the humanoid Martians are mammalian, the script wisely avoids revealing that they lay eggs. Deejah Thoris is kin to the duck-billed platypus.)
I'll agree with the naysayers in one respect... Over the past 30 years, American films have become increasingly cool and affectless, losing the intense emotions of Hollywood's Golden Age. (Had Michael Curtiz directed "John Carter", there would have been fewer objections.) It's also true that effects-heavy films can make it hard for directors to keep the focus on the characters, rather than which shots have to be completed that day. I don't like this, but what's a viewer supposed to do? Reject such films altogether?
Is "John Carter" a great (in the absolute sense) film? Of course not. Is it a bad film? Emphatically no. Could it have been better? Definitely. It is what it is -- a well-made adaptation of cheap fiction. If you don't like the latter, fine -- but don't blame the film for being an honest representation of its source.
41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2012
Bravo in this case to Amazon reviewers. "John Carter" was low on my list of must-see movies after the critics panned it, but a quick look at Amazon's reviews changed my mind, and I wasn't disappointed. It's hard to imagine what the critics' problem was with the movie. The show had excellent special effects, more than a whiff of humor and laughs, a dash of mysticism, and entertainingly lifelike strange critters. You can't help but think a good deal of Star Wars was cribbed from Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars books, and why not? Imitate the best, as they say.
The plot in a nutshell is that of a former confederate soldier, sick of war, getting accidentally whisked to Mars and ending up in a three-way war that involves two sets of humanoids and a rougher, cruder culture of tall, four-armed desert dwellers. The humanoids (I suppose from the Martians' point of view the human Carter would be a Martianoid) are indistinguishable from each other save for the color of their clothing, and the fact that one side is an evil aggressor. A mysterious group of powerful beings is intervening on the bad guys' behalf, and the battles are on. Of course, the princess of Mars is on the good side. She's not only gorgeous, naturally, but has the build of a football linebacker. I wish I had her broad shoulders. Carter is sort of like a low-grade Superman, made powerful by Mars's different environment and his earth physiology.
That power leads to a couple of inconsistent scenes, in which he gets into trouble that his strength in other scenes easily gets him out of. Well, all the suspense would be gone if he were unbeatable, I suppose. Not quite clear too is his teleportation between worlds (potential spoiler here, though I don't think it is): The Carter on Mars is a copy of his body on earth, meaning that his earth body is lifeless but doesn't spoil while his Mars body holds his spirit, soul, whatever. This datum leads to logical complications and a little confusion, at least for me.
I still can't believe this movie wasn't a box office success. It's not a ponderous, "serious" movie but a rollicking, fairly light science fiction fest that's a pleasure to watch. Could Disney have possibly handled publicity for this movie any worse? I'm not the most plugged-in grape on the grapevine, but it's unusual even for me to not hear of a huge potential blockbuster of a movie until the very day it hits the theaters. A little "Battleship" hyping might have gone a long way for "John Carter."
Still, it's not too late to enjoy this movie. You might be surprised.
A tangent that has nothing to do with the movie: I rented "Carter" and again, as is so often the case, the DVD was scratched and dirty with one part of it unwatchable. For pete's sake whoever's doing this, stop handling DVDs that are not your own with greasy, barbecue sauce-stained and peanut buttery fingers and picking them up with what appear to be claw hammers. It's enough to make me pine for videotapes, which morons can't touch.