|Doesn't quite reach the stars|
As I left the 3D screening of John Carter (for which I won a free ticket) I heard a kid who I presume was between 11 and 14 years old saying “That reminded a lot of Prince of Persia”. The comment immediately clicked on me, I now realized why the film seemed so familiar even though i’m not familiar with the original novels or any related material besides the movies it has inspired, like Star Wars. Disney’s latest big-budget extravaganza can be compared in most ways to their 2010 attempt at franchise building.
The biggest comparison that can be made is in the way the whole thing looks. John Carter is an excellent looking film from a technical standpoint, but the style is pale and monotonous. The alien design is decent but nothing really special and the costumes look like they were reused from Prince of Persia. They’re even similar in the yellow-ish tone that is prevalent through both films, which I guess can be justified as coming from the desert setting but it is overused.
But this isn’t necessarily what makes this a bad movie. The film’s biggest weakness is the story that focuses on the titular character, an American civil war veteran is mysteriously transported to Mars, where he finds himself in the middle of a multi-race conflict and falling in love with the princess of one of the nations which forces him to stay and fight to prevent the destruction of the planet. The story is predictable which is not really a problem considering its age and the elements that have been taken from it by other pieces of media but it is the way it develops that leaves a lot to be desired.
The major problem here is with the pacing, there are some really exciting scenes in the film that are interrupted by 10 to 15 minutes of melodramatic dialogue and un-engaging plotting which leads to a lot of boring moments and the first half hour feels disconnected from what follows. Andrew Stanton’s previous films as a writer/director like Finding Nemo are character-driven stories, never letting the fantastic events surrounding them take the focus away from what is truly important: the character’s growth. The same happens in John Carter but the characters’ arcs are poorly constructed and the attempts to add emotional depth with flashbacks and such are terribly placed and end up ruining otherwise great action sequences. That and the fact that the villains never feel compelling and lack a real reason for their actions make me feel like it would’ve been better to keep the story and characters on the sideline in favor of the impressive set pieces.
The use of 3D is good but never feels specially necessary, there are some neat looking effects during the battle sequence between Carter and his pet “dog” against a group of evil alien and with the villain’s light beam but it adds nothing to the overall quality of the film, just like it doesn’t take anything away from it, the experience should be the same regardless of how it’s watched. In the end the best use of 3D is in the Disney logo at the very beginning.
There are some good ideas behind this movie but they are badly executed. It has some entertaining moments but they are overshadowed by the overall mediocre feel of the film. There’s a lot of room for improvement should a sequel ever be made, though I really doubt so, let’s hope Disney does a better job at their next attempt to build an action-adventure franchise to emulate the success of Pirates of the Caribbean. After all, the third time’s the charm right?
Here's The First Ten Minutes Of John Carter
Disney's movie is doing poorly in tracking, so they release a ten-minute clip that has no aliens or Mars or hot princesses in it. Um, ok!
Trailer 3: John Carter
Disney apparently took the challenge of that actually-decent fan trailer seriously, and decided to beef up this last trailer with...dubstep? Oh, Disney!
Trailer 2: John Carter
This looks like some ridiculous mashup of Attack of the Clones, Stargate, and Wild Wild West. Will it be good? We'll find out in March!
Trailer: John Carter
Dune meets Cowboys and Aliens? This live-action debut of Pixar director Andrew Stanton is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter Of Mars.
|blog||The Next JOHN CARTER??||VioletEyedDragon|
|news||Best Movies of 2012: Matthew Marko||MatthewMarko|
|review||John - ah - ah - Saviour of the Universe! (3 out of 5)||etragedy|
|news||DVD/Blu-Ray: June 5th||staceywi|
|blog||3-D Report: February & March 2012||VioletEyedDragon|
|review||John Carter (B) (3 out of 5)||VioletEyedDragon|
|review||John Carter and the weight of wait (3 out of 5)||ruckus24|
|news||John Carter Is Now Officially The Biggest Bomb Of All Time||Rorie|
|US Release||March 9, 2012|
|UK Release||March 9, 2012|
|AUS Release||March 8, 2012|
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|Alias(es)||John Carter of Mars|