REVIEW: John Carter


Accept that John Carter is a B-movie and nothing will disappoint you. That’s the first thing you need to know about this movie, and probably the only. So I guess I just shot myself in the foot and everything you read from here on out is officially fluff.

The special effects are similar to everything you’ve already seen since The Phantom Menace was originally released in ’99. Sometimes, they are believable, other times, distracting and hokey. For the most part, the little big green men (known as Tharks) look terrific; the flying warships are okay, too.

The plot, thankfully, is not updated for the current era, and takes place in the late 1800s, as it does in the source material, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars (1912). In the previous Carter adaptation, a 2009 straight-to-DVD pile of poo starring Antonio Sabato, Jr of the same name as the book, John Carter has been updated to be a US sniper in Afghanistan.

So while Disney got that right, there are still a lot of plot holes and some leaps in logic that would make you think the writers’ brains were adapting to Martian gravity. This shocks me, considering superstar author Michael Chabon, famously of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, adapted the screenplay. But like I said, roll with the B-movieness of this flick, and you won’t care.

I’m not sure if we can expect a sequel, but the ending leaves the option open. (Oh Hollywood, you’re always one step ahead of us, aren’t you?) In fact, it wasn’t until the sly wrap-up that I had even decided my thoughts on the film. If there is another, Taylor Kitsch should be welcomed back as the main protagonist. He carried his weight. Ditto for Lynn Collins, who is stupidly hot as Princess Dejah Thoris. (Overacting, shmoveracting. You’re not watching John Carter for Oscar nominees, remember?) Apparently, Willem Dafoe voiced Tharkian leader Tars Tarkas. News to me.

Before you see this movie, check out the book, which is free from the iBooks library, as are the multiple sequels in what is known as Burroughs’ Barsoom series. Oh… well, I guess I answered my sequels question…

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