Movie Reviews: John Carter


Would it be awkward to say that the box-office bomb that sucked $250 million out of Disney's pockets and touched off a regime change in its management ranks is ... only pretty good? I say "only" because it's not the disaster some feared (or hoped) it would be, nor is it a game-changer, nor an unrecognized classic. The culprit was the terrible marketing: an incoherent ad campaign that didn't give the flavor of the film; cold-footed focus-grouping (the of Mars was dumped because of this); and some of the blandest and most forgettable promotional art of any movie in recent history.

But hidden inside this tasteless gift wrap was a genuinely good film, if also a bit overstuffed. Confederate soldier Carter mistakenly teleports himself to Mars and is plunged into a multi-front struggle between various factions trying to seize control of it, but his bullheaded stubbornness and a little superhuman ability picked up along the way — along with a four-armed friend voiced by Willem Dafoe — help him save the day and win the hand of a Martian princess. Not that she needs any saving herself, which is fun to watch.

Adapted from a number of Edgar Rice Burroughs's seminal pulp fantasies — themselves an influence on everything from Star Wars to Guin Saga*JC contains about fifty percent too much plot for its own good, but also doesn't make the mistake of simply lumping everyone into "good" and "evil" camps and letting them take a whack at each other. It's 3 hours of movie in a 2-hour bag, but in the end it plays out better than you might expect — and the way the movie ties itself back into Burroughs's own life mythology is, as a friend of mine used to say, dash clever.

* which, now that I think about it, will never get filmed no thanks to this film stiffing bigtime.


Tags: adaptation Disney Edgar Rice Burroughs fantasy movies science fiction



Product purchases
support this site.


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Serdar in the category Movie Reviews | Movies, published on December 4, 2012 7:00 PM.

You can see alphabetical or chronological listings of all entries in this category.

» See other Movie Reviews entries for the month of December 2012.

» See other Movies entries for the month of December 2012.

» See all other entries for the month of December 2012.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

About Me

I'm an independent SF and fantasy author, technology journalist, and freelance contemplator for how SF can be made into something more than just a way to blow stuff up.

My Goodreads author profile.

Learn some more about me.

My Books

Coming Soon

Out Now

More of my books

Search This Site


Other People We Like

Fandom

Archives