Friday, October 5, 2012

John Carter: Movie Review

John Carter

Cast: Taylor Kitsch, William Dafoe

Writers: Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon

Director: Andrew Stanton.

** out of four.

Poor, poor Andrew Stanton.  His fellow Pixar animator, Brad Bird, made it big with his first live action flick "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol".  So why couldn't he?  The acting was good and the effects were believable.  So, why did this become one of the biggest box office failures of the summer?  My reason is that this movie was made just a tad too late for anyone to really care.  The book that this was based on was written over a hundred years ago by Edgar Rice Burroughs and it helped influence movies like "Star Wars" and "Superman".  However to most audiences today, "John Carter" feels more like a rip-off of those other flicks than the one that proceeded them.

I won't bother explaining the intro scenes where we see a young Edgar Rice Burroughs (Daryl Sabara), because it really doesn't have much to do with the rest of the story, or make much sense either.  So instead, we start off with Mr. John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), a civil war veteran who- while escaping the police- hides out in a cave.  A weird, bald man (Mark Strong) appears and transports him off of Earth and onto Mars.  Just like the man form Krypton, John finds out very quickly that his strength is much higher on the red planet than it was back home.  He can jump very tall and very wide, almost like he is flying.  He soon discovers a race of aliens who need his help to defend them against a race of evil aliens.  Oh, and there is also another alien race that needs his help, but it's cool because the princess of that one looks like a sexy human (Lynn Collins).

The romance between the two main characters is the weakest part of the story and really should have been left out.  The story they should have paid more attention to was the one between Tars Tarkas (William Dafoe) and his daughter, Sola (Samatha Morton).  It had a great message about honor, but also about believing in yourself, that I found to be quite moving.  I'm sure they didn't go with that because Tars Tarkas wouldn't look that good as a title, either.  The other really big highlight for me was the giant dog like creature, if there were ever a pet store that sold one of those creatures, I would love to own one.  

Going into this movie I thought I was going to hate it.  I was extremely happy that it did not once bore me and for the most part I was pretty much entertained while it was playing.  Now that I look back at it, I can't recall anything really exciting about it.  The effects were fine and the acting was good.  I just, for the life of me, can't remember anything about this that would make me want to watch this again.


  1. Good review Vern. Kitsch could have definitely been a little bit more charismatic but the flick still works due to amazing special effects and some really fun and exciting action. Sad thing is that this flick was made for $250 million and won’t make any of it back.

    1. Thanks Dan. It is a tough movie to market. It should have never been released in the summer. This is a fall picture