I remember reading something on something called the ‘John Carter of Mars’ on IGN an year back. I didnt know squat about it…so obviously when I finished reading the article I was intrigued that a movie was in the making. The Teaser poster caught my attention and the promo was ok too so I was gearing up for the movie eventually. John Carter was based on a 100 year old story written by none other than Edgar Rice Burroughs. It seemed it had a cult following and a movie made by animation veteran Andrew Stanton (WALL-E, Finding Nemo) couldnt be bad right?….. WRONG!
I went in for John Carter today and was greeted to an awesome 3D intro by Disney. Hoping for the best, a TRON LEGACY-esque experience, I sat through the movie – 2 hours and 10 minutes in length and what did I realize? The 3D was just another gimmick…and was only present in the intros. John Carter was essentially a romance-action adventure movie…a princess in peril and a hero comes saves the day. Played by Taylor Kitsch, John Carter himself felt broken…the character was juggled in and out of different time frames and even a decent background story was’nt fleshed out. An American Civil War soldier, already troubled, John is transported to Mars aka ‘Barsoom’ via what seemed like a weird coincidence, and is then caught up in between an ongoing war between 3 factions and by which he meets his romantic interest, princess Dejah Thoris and thus starts a chain of events mostly comprising of getting caught, escaping, getting caught again and saving the princess from the clutches of evil and thereby saving the world. Lynn Colins plays the princess and was weird in some way. I don’t know why I felt so…but she felt really ‘outta place’. She, remotely reminded me of Princess Leia from The Return of the Jedi and maybe the makers intended so too…but Disney had made sure there wasn’t a metal bikini to be seen anywhere 😛
I at least thought the CG would be impressive but it was nothing I had not seen before. The CG beings ‘Tharks’ felt clumsy and not detailed enough, it was more laughing stock than anything else. Amongst the Tharks, Willem Dafoe plays Tars Tarkas, a wasted performance underneath the mask of CG Cosmetics. I found many of the scenes not polished enough. Mars itself felt boring as it looked like another post apocalyptic desert which I have seen aplenty in Fallout 3, Rage and plethora of other games. The action sequences were’nt particularly eye-popping either. The only saving grace would be ‘Woola’ a CG dog which looked like it was half dog-half toad that provided some giggles.
The score was uninspiring and boring. John Carter was hailed as a sci-fi epic post production, a decent score would have saved it a bit.
Agreed, John Carter was made with passion, the story stuck true to its source material and that exactly was the problem. The last 5 minutes turned out really interesting and made me wish the whole movie was filmed the same way. John Carter should be remembered as a 100 year old story by Edgar Rice Burroughs and never as a movie. If it had been released 10 years back it would have worked, it would have been ‘RAD’…but not now…SO NOT NOW! I’d ask anybody to let it pass…there’s much in store for us in the coming months.