For many months I have been waiting for the John Carter movie to come out, my interest continuously stimulated by the wonderful trailers that have plagued the T.V. The idea of a civil war on Mars with an impending threat to destroy Earth was very interesting to me and I believed that I was in for an action packed treat. Now the question you may be asking, as I have written countless times, is did I get what I wanted out of this movie. The answer is yes on most things, but no on some others qualities. Read on to find out more about what the highlights of this movie.
John Carter starts off with a bit of back story of the war on Mars and how Captain Carter (Taylor Kitsch) wound up on the red planet. However, the movie quickly turns into a desert adventure and how Carter begins to adapt to the cultures of the local fauna, the Thark a race of green, four-armed, lanky Martians led by their leader Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe). Soon Carter has a chance encounter with the lovely princess Dejah (Lynn Collins) and a new quest is bestowed upon Carter that can help him return to his home world.
Yes, it sounds like a lot of science fiction movie we have seen in the past, but surely Disney has a few tricks up their sleeves to bring this plot to life. Well my friends there are plenty of things about this movie that make it worth a trip to the theater. One thing I wish to praise is the nice pace of the movie and the well-organized presentation of the story. From the get go, the movie hits the ground running and is able to get to the red planet and still set up a nice story foundation. I seldom found any parts in the movie that dragged, yet was not too fast that you lose any details. The plot also had a little something for everyone, with romance, mystery, drama, and even a little adrenaline fueled sci fi action. There was some predictability to the tale, but not as much as I have seen in other films in the past. Supporting the story was a well written dialog that was not only fitting of the setting, but also quite funny and kept me laughing throughout the movie. I was also happy with the acting of this movie; the Kitsch and Collins do a fantastic job playing their roles, while James Purefoy played his usual strength of the villain. The movie also contained some beautiful special effects, digital animation, and visual-audio editing that brought the Burroughs’ world to life. Perhaps my favorite thing about the movie though was the alien dog that followed Carter around throughout the whole movie. This six legged, big mouthed mutt didn’t have many lines, but his loyal antics, goofy smile, and loveable licking had me in stitches.
Despite all I liked about the movie, there was one big flaw for me, the action of the movie. Once again I was fooled into thinking this movie was going to be action packed by the trailer. A majority of the action scenes in this film were very brief, often nothing more than a few extras slashing, stabbing and dying, before some giant flash brought the battle to an end. There were multiple occasions where the lead up to the movie promised great action, only to end in a simple, anti-climactic, sword slash or punch that ended the battle in an instant. Yes disappointing I know, but there are a few scenes that were actually decent, and for once the camera work actually kept up with the action keeping the camera focused on the person involved. This was essentially the only weakness I could pick up on, though I’m sure there are a few minor things out there I didn’t catch. Maybe I could say there were a few loose ends left untied that I would have liked to seen to tied up, but perhaps a sequel will answer these questions.
John Carter is a decent flick and is fun for a variety of movie goers. The fantastic editing, beautiful digital art, and good pace keep the movie enjoyable. On top of that both men and women should enjoy some eye candy that the main actor and actress provide. However, I say again that those looking for a die-hard action flick may be a little disappointed with the film’s anti-climactic battles. The following are my scores for this movie:
Action Adventure movie: 7.0-7.5 (more for the adventure than the action)
Movie overall: 8.0
Check back later for my review on A Thousand Words and keep enjoying the movies.