Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Dukes See a Movie:John Carter

Many people have not heard of John Carter or the story it came from "The Princess of Mars" and because of this they make some really random statements and judgments that are ridiculous at best. I have heard people say that they just stole from Star Wars or Avatar and included a ton of cliched sci-fi plot points. To these people I say pfff. The original story of John Carter predates all of the aforementioned movies and created most the the so called cliche sci-fi bits.If anything George Lucas is nothing more than a dirty  thief (the George Lucas that gave us Jar-Jar Binks not the one that gave us Han Solo. I can say nothing bad about the early years George Lucas.) and the same goes for you James Cameron.

Going into this movie I wasn't expecting a ton. After seeing the previews I felt that the acting looked wooden and it didn't seem to have a great story. Also we are still in March and with February movies still fresh in my mind (see: Ghost Rider) I am leery of anything being put out by Hollywood. With that in my head and a lack of other movie options we headed to the theater.

As the movie started I felt myself warming towards it. The irascible John Carter did not like Bryan Cranston's character at all and made several escalating attempts to escape. The scenes were quite entertaining and they helped build our idea of what John Carter stood for and how his life had shaped him. As he is engaging in his latest escape attempt he manages to get on the bad side of some local Apache Indians. As he is trying to avoid them he comes across a strange cave full of gold and random symbols. While inside he gets attacked by a strange being but the creature gets shot. As the creature lay dying he activates a pendant, which John grabs. As he looks at the pendant it glows and the next thing he knows he is waking up in the middle of some random desert.  Welcome to Mars John Carter!

I don't want to delve too deeply into the rest of the plot for several reasons. The first and most important reason is that I am a very lazy man. I just don't want to write that much. Also it has quite a complex plot that would need a lot of time to talk about and to read (you are welcome). Lastly I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but back to the second point. I was reading reviews from a few other people and they said the plot was too complex and hard for them to understand. My feelings are if you can't understand this movie I weep for our future (even more than I already do). So instead of talking about the plot I will focus on other factors in this film.

 I thought the movie had decent acting. I really was a fan of Princess Dejah but since she is also an accomplished Shakespearean actress that makes sense. I also enjoyed the graphics and thought the entire film was well placed. Going into a movie you need to have a willing suspension of disbelief but I have my limits and it usually has to do with something science-y. Because of the different atmosphere and gravity of Mars John Carter has amazing strength and a great leaping ability. I could handle that just fine. The part that got me was when he jumped several hundred feet off of a boat that appeared to be made of palm fronds or something equally weak. If he were to push off the boat with enough force to jump hundreds of feet the boat would have exploded as he took off but instead it just shook a bit. I know it is a small thing but I usually have issues with some of the smaller details in films.

   How the movie saw it             How it really should have looked

As always I feel like sharing some random facts about this movie with you. The first should be interesting for all of the local readers. The story of John Carter was written in Utah and much of the filming was done here as well  almost exactly 100 years apart. The character played by the nephew is named Edgar Rice Burroughs. That is also the name of the man who wrote the story which makes sense since in the original book Mr. Burroughs writes as if it really is the story his uncle left behind for him. Last but not least this movie was in "development hell" for 79 years which marks the longest time any movie has been in the works. (It was originally meant to be an animated feature and had it been made it would have beat Snow White to be the first animated feature ever.)

It would have looked something like this.
Rating 3.75 Stars


  1. Excellent! The last move I saw was The Artist and it had a plot line a two-year-old could follow, though the two-year-old might have been confused as to why it took two hours to tell the tale.
    Anyway, have you read A Princess of Mars? Does the movie cover just the first book of the series or does it mash a few of them together?

    1. It just covers the first book so that leaves open quite the sequel possibility.