Taylor Kitsch John Carter
March 9, 2012 by staff
Taylor Kitsch John Carter, Let’s get one thing out of the way: John Carter isn’t as bad as some were worried it might be. In fact, the movie’s pretty good. But that doesn’t mean it’s great, and the two-hour-plus Martian epic’s main shortcoming may be its ambition.
Set in the parallel worlds of post-Civil War America and the grandiose locales of Martian cities Zodanga, Thark and Helium, the PG-13 sci-fi/fantasy spends its first hour setting too many stages, each complete with another set of jargon and characters.
John Carter, based on the character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1912, is a veteran of the Civil War, you see. And he’s dead. (Well sorta — it’s hard to explain.) He has telegraphed his nephew who, upon arriving at his estate, discovers he’s John Carter’s sole heir.
He’s given his uncle’s journal, which, natch, contains a wonderful tale of the man who went to Mars (or “Barsoom” in the local tongue). From there, Oscar-winning director Andrew Stanton (Wall-E, Finding Nemo) is free to focus on the fantastic adventures of John Carter (played by Taylor Kitsch), the hero who can make mighty jumps and finds himself immersed in yet another kind of civil war. Some four-armed green people (Martian stereotypes never change) who kind of want to kill him and/or make him their secret-weapon warrior.
On Mars, John Carter encounters four-armed creatures of the Thark tribe.
Meanwhile (sigh), Sab Than (Dominic West) has been given special powers by the Therns (universe tinkerers that work for the goddess Issus) to vanquish pretty much everything in sight because it’ll bring order, or whatever. By the time he gets to his (presumably) last conquest, Helium, he’s offered the city reprieve if he can marry Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), because apparently Mars really does need women. She attempts escape, a massive battle ensues, and when she nearly plummets to her death in the melee, she’s saved by super-jumper Captain Carter, who just happened to be nearby dealing with his Thark drama.
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