John Carter for me might one of the biggest disappointments of the year but despite that I found myself quite enjoying the movie for much of its running length. Author Edgar Rice Burroughs is the man responsible for inventing the character of John Carter back in the early twentieth century which in turn has been the inspiration for countless sci-fi adventures right from Flash Gordon to Star Wars. Now Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton and his team finally bring the original hero to the big screen backed by a massive production budget and long gruelling and extensive shoot.
The story concerns a former confederate soldier, John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) during the civil war who is magically transported to Mars while hiding out in a cave on the run from Native Americans. There he discovers himself to be a bit of a superhero thanks to the different gravitational pull of the planet and soon finds himself embroiled in a civil war between different races on the planet including one that isnt quite humanoid. How he helps out one side win, while also helping the indigenous population of Barsoom (as the Martians call their planet). Plenty of leaping, sword fights, alien ships later John Carter ends with grand promises of a sequel, one that I doubt will ever happen.
The start is clunky and the exposition is clunky with little to distinguish the two humanoid races, other than the colour of their insignia. However once the movies pace kicks in, things start going up hill from there, resulting in a classic, old-school action-adventure movie that while offering solid entertainment will never manage to blow your socks off and thats where the failing of John Carter lies. While the printed material might have been the inspiration for all the grand space operas that came later, they came much before this one did and you have already seen much of what transpires on screen before in other movies.
The effects are top-notch, the 3D is alright, the acting is alright but the tone is too bland and the story not the most excitingly original. I have to however say, that some of the cinematography is amazing to behold and you have to watch this movie on the big screen to truly appreciate it. Just keep your hopes and expectations a little low and youll be pleasantly surprised.