John Carter Review

March 10, 2012 by staff 

John Carter Review, While watching “John Carter,” the big-budget film based on classic stories of a 19th-century Earth man transplanted to Mars, I couldn’t help but think about the recent marketing for the film.

Before there was ever a “Star Wars” or an “Avatar,” the promos urged, there was “John Carter.” Well, there’s nothing like dooming a film to failure by comparing the experience to two of Hollywood’s most spectacular pictures.

There is little doubt that John Carter, the hero of “Tarzan” creator Edgar Rice Burroughs’ science-fiction “Barsoom” book series, served as inspiration for the makers of “Star Wars” and “Avatar.”

There is equally little doubt that the makers of “John Carter” have seen those superior films many times, and they tried to make “John Carter” resemble those films, and they failed miserably.

I can hardly imagine a film that inspires audiences less than “John Carter.” The film is rarely rousing, despite many action scenes. Its visual style is so bland that it belies the reported $250 million budget. The attempts at humor fall flat. The romance is a bust.

What does work is Taylor Kitsch, the “Friday Night Lights” TV actor turned movie star in multiple films this year, beginning with this opportunity to flex his ample muscles and display his flowing locks of brown hair. He is John Carter, a Civil War hero who, while searching for gold after the war, stumbles upon a time-travel device.

The young man is better than his script in bringing to life a troubled soul who finds himself on a desolate, desert-like planet. This is a place where a wacky gravitational pull allows John to leap enormous distances and where he doesn’t look anything like the 10-foot-tall tribal green guys he first encounters.

Each of these “Tharks” is armed; with weapons, yes, but also with four arms apiece. They take him prisoner, until they realize his fighting abilities and that he might help them in their own civil wars raging on Mars. Then he meets a princess from a human-looking group, the Heliumites, with cool-looking red tattoos.

If you’re not confused yet, just wait. “John Carter” attempts to delve so deeply into the Burroughs’ mythology of these characters that we are introduced to more than a dozen main characters, two different worlds, varying political and theological beliefs and odd creatures, like a lizard-looking dog the size of a rhino.

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