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Starring:
Taylor Kitsch
as John Carter

Lynn Collins
as Dejah Thoris

Samantha Morton
as Sola

Willem Dafoe
as Tars Tarkas

Thomas Haden Church
as Tal Hajus

Mark Strong
as Matai Shang

Ciaran Hinds
as Tardos Mors

Written by Andrew Stanton & Mark Andrews
and Michael Chabon

Directed by Andrew Stanton

Running Time: 2:12

Rated PG-13
for intense sequences of
violence and action

C


THE OPENING

John Carter was a good looking but ultimately boring movie that should have been 30 minutes shorter and heavier on the action.

THE STORY

In the late 1800s in the U.S., John Carter was a lonely prospector looking for gold. His wife and child had been murdered earlier and John was just looking for a way to live alone with no one to bother him. He accidentally comes across a portal that takes him to Mars, and into the middle of a war. While he didn't want to take sides, he soon realizes he can't simply leave it alone, and he joins the fight leading his side to victory. He also finds love in a most unexpected world.

THE REVIEW

I didn't have many expectations going into John Carter which was just as well, because the movie didn't give me much. Yes, the special effects were good at times, but the story as a whole wasn't very appealing. I could never quite get into it and the movie felt like a car needing gas that's running on fumes, starting and stopping on the way to the gas station. We'd get a big action sequence which would then fall into a cheap love story. It got so cheesy that the audience just started laughing outright at 'serious' scenes. And this was the first time I've gone to a press screening where people just got up and left 20 minutes before the movie ended. Once again the 3D kind of ruined the film. I came home afterwards and turned on the TV and saw a commercial, and on my older 720p HD TV the trailer looked remarkably colorful and sharp. Yet sitting in a movie theater, where I should be seeing the best picture available, all I got was dark and dusty. Studios still haven't compensated for the fact that wearing those damned 3D glasses makes everything look darker. And yet again the 3D was rather pointless since it didn't add a single thing to the movie. Why is Disney spending hundreds of millions of dollars to release a film that looks terrible on the big screen?

The cast was decent, led by Taylor Kitsch as John Carter and Lynn Collins as the hot princess. For both sexes, there was a lot of skin to be shown. I thought the alien creatures were fairly well done and while sometimes they were hard to tell apart, the important ones had enough personality to make them unique. I also liked how the story was framed, using author Edgar Rice Burroughs as the way in and out of the story. It was quite inventive actually and in some ways I wish more of the movie had taken place with him. The story, while having tons of possibilities, fell into the trap of showing more, rather than less. Cut out half an hour of the movie and tighten it up some, and you've got a well paced film. Constantly adding sequences that didn't affect the story and just added length was unnecessary. There is something there - something that could be made out of the elements. But with what they gave us, I didn't care for it.

THE BOTTOM LINE

So overall, I didn't really like John Carter. I can't say I was disappointed because I wasn't expecting much. It was too slow, and the 3D took away any shot at a nice picture. Maybe watching it in 2D or on an HD TV would have been better.

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Reviewed 03/10/12

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