John Carter

I went to see John Carter…and it didn’t suck. It wasn’t awesome, but it didn’t suck. I’m still surprised though that this is a Disney film. Despite its many flaws, John Carter was at times funny and even witty. At all times it was entertaining. The appearance of the martian “dog” first made me think of a certain disgraceful Star Wars character who shall not be named, but I found it to be somewhat endearing more than annoying.

John Carter is based on a series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who also created the character Tarzan. I didn’t read any of the books before seeing the movie; I was assured by someone who did read them that if you’re over the age of twelve, they “suck” and that it wasn’t necessary to read them to understand the movie. It’s worth noting that Burroughs was dead by 1950, so what was known about Mars and space in general is much less than what is known by even schoolchildren in most of North America and I suspect that’s why there’s such a difference between the books and the movie. Be that is it may, my sources say the movie would best be described as “inspired by” the John Carter books because they are only loosely associated with what occurs in the movie. And that might just be a good thing, because with the size of John Carter’s pricetag, they needed more than just the twelve and under crowd to show up.

Let’s talk about the cast shall we? Canadian cutie Taylor Kitch leaps into a leading man role as John Carter – and yes I intended that pun. He was a good choice in my opinion as he has yet to be typecast and he’s not that well known by the general populace (sorry Friday Night Lights fans, but you are the minority). It’s that second part that made the rest of the casting choices of huge importance and I think smart choices were made in the supporting cast. Veteran actors like Ciaran Hinds, James Purefoy (woefully underused and fully dressed at all times) and oft-villain Mark Strong are just a few of the supporting actors in John Carter who give the necessary balance and strength to the two leads. Speaking of the second lead, comic book movie fans ought to recognize Lynn Collins who played Wolverine’s love interest, Kayla Silverfox, as the warrior-scientist princess of Helium. Collins was a really good fit for Kitch; not only does she have the looks to measure up to him, but her acting talents are on about the same level. With her martial arts background, Collins is actually capable of her action packed role and has the physical look needed to make it look plausible when she starts swinging that sword around. As a woman, I also admit it was nice to see that a woman could be more than a pretty piece for the hero to rescue.

My favourite part of John Carter came – SPOILER ALERT! – during the wedding battle. Having seen if from John Carter, some of the Tarks have taken to saluting. This is hilarious simply because it’s so incongruous on the tall, four-armed green martians, but it was when Hinds’ Tardos Mors (leader of Helium) gives the salute back to Tars Tarkas that I’m thinking of. It is in that one single gesture, delivered with the perfect combination of insouciance and seriousness that we see why Hinds is the best actor in the movie. It’s also the moment that has most stuck with me five days later.

If you’re looking for a fun and entertaining sci-fi/fantasy film, you could do much worse than John Carter. Just don’t waste your money on the 3-D version, stick with classic 2-D.

 

And that’s my 2¢ for today.

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~ by leslies2cents on March 19, 2012.

4 Responses to “John Carter”

  1. I for one enjoyed the books and am looking forward to seeing the movie because of them. By the way I am much older than 12. Just so you know 52 year olds like to read.

    • I admit I’m surprised by that. Both of the people I know who have read the books are in their 50s. The one read the books as a child and the other tried while we were waiting for the movie to come out and just found them unreadable for an adult. But to each his own. And as I come from a family of readers, I’m well aware that those over the age of 29 and holding also read. Thanks for you comment and please keep visiting and keep commenting.

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