Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Dominic West, Samantha Morton, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, James Purefoy, Daryl Sabara, Bryan Cranston
Written By: Mark Andrews, Andrew Stanton
Directed By: Andrew Stanton
Studio: Disney / Buena Vista
Buy On Amazon.com
John Carter got crapped on unfairly for being a box office failure. Sure, a lot of money went into this movie but I think it deserves a second look or in most cases, a first look.
The movie is based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic novel Barsoom series and is about a former Civil War captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) from Virginia. While trying to escape the military from making him re-join, John Carter accidentally gets transported to Barsoom (a.k.a Mars). He quickly realizes he’s not on his planet when he can jump really high & perform things with lots of strength. John Carter finds himself thrown in the mix of Barsoom’s conflict between a bunch of different races & things. Names I can’t pronounce and probably will spell wrong too.
The first thing people should talk about is the special effects. They were excellent and is pretty much the reason why the budget cost so much. The cinematography was just as good and the desert plains of Barsoom were lovely to see. I particularly liked the effects for the Tharks and the scenes with the action. Even the little dog creature was done really well. Andrew Stanton’s first live-action movie proves he can do these types of movies.
But with a budget that size, the stakes are higher and that’s the movie’s ultimate downfall. It’s a big blockbuster movie that everyone thought it would do better than it did. I still think there’s hope with it when it comes out on DVD & Blu-Ray. Sales of that might get on par but who knows for sure. I just don’t think the movie deserved all the crapping on it got by critics and the movie industry. Sure, the movie is flawed but to call it a failure? I’m not buying it. Perhaps it’s Disney’s fault for not knowing how to market the movie properly or knowing when to scale back the budget at the right time? Like hey we’re spending too much money, we should cut back some things.
I loved certain things about the movie like John Carter’s bouncing on Barsoom for the first time, his little sidekick dog creature, the beautiful Lynn Collins walking around in practically nothing, and the special effects. I don’t fault Taylor Kitsch and thought he was likable and did a good job as John Carter. Would this movie have made more money if a more famous actor as the lead? Probably but I don’t think that’s the problem. It’s not surprising to see Mark Strong in this as a villain. After all, I believe I said look out for him to be in a lot of movies after seeing him in Stardust & Rock N Rolla. Well yeah, he’s been in practically every movie since then. Other notable performances were from James Purefoy, Dominic West, Samantha Morton and Willem Dafoe as motion capture performances for the last two.
I think the main problem is the movie’s plot gets confusing, the names are confusing and hard to remember. Half the time I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Maybe I needed to pay attention more? The first 10 minutes wasn’t as clear as it should be that’s for sure. The deleted scenes helped things out with some of my confusion in the beginning though. Another reason why people might not have liked the movie or didn’t want to see it based on what people were wearing in the movie. Honestly, it felt like watching Mom and Dad Save The World at times.
The special features on the Blu-Ray+DVD combo include deleted scenes, featurettes on bringing this movie to the big screen, bloopers, commentaries, and other behind the scenes stuff. I really liked the deleted scenes because it felt like some of my confusion ended up on the cutting room floor. I didn’t even know that kid Ned was his nephew, or maybe I just missed it. I never knew how long they were trying to make this movie, but now I do. I certainly think they made a movie that Edgar Rice Burroughs would have appreciated.
While John Carter has its flaws, it’s worth watching on a weekend. It’s entertaining with great special effects with some good performances. The pacing and the script could have been better. Sometimes you just don’t know what’s going on but overall, the movie is decent. If you have a Blu-Ray player, this is an obvious choice in which version to get. I haven’t seen the 3D version but I’m sure that looks good if that’s your thing.
Explore John Carter’s Journal With This Innovative In-World Experience And Uncover A Trove Of Fascinating Details that Extend the Mythology of the Movie
360 Degrees of John Carter – Experience Every Aspect of the Filmmaking Process On One Of The Movie’s Biggest Production Days
Deleted Scenes With Optional Commentary By Director Andrew Stanton
100 Years In The Making
Audio Commentary With Filmmakers
Widescreen 2.40:1 Color
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo
ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 7.1
SPANISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1
English, Spanish, French
Bottom Line: Sci-fi movie that’s worth watching despite that bad press & box office numbers
Running Time: 132 mins