John Carter, Film Review
John Cater has been trying to come to the big screen since the 60’s. The rights have changed studios a number of time and some of the biggest directors have had a go at bring it to the big screen. The reason being is that, the FX shoots would have been to expense to do before CGI. It was not until the work done by ILM on Lucas prequel Star Wars trilogy and Avatar, was it realised that the cost was now in the rang to make the film.
The rights for John Cater now sit with Disney. Disney brought on Andrew Stanaton (best know directing Finding Nemo and Wall – E ) to replace Jon Favreau who had left to work on Iron Man over at Paramount.
Disney has given Stanaton their biggest budget to date for a film ($250 million), to bring Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom novel series to life.
John Cater is based on the Burroughs novel “The Princess of Mars.”
The story is of a confederate soldier drawn west after the American Civil War to find gold. He comes across a cave massively feared by the local Indians and finds his gold within. However the cave also severs as a portal to Mars and Carter (Taylor Kitsch) find himself in the middle of the desert unaware that he is no longer on Earth except that he find it are to get up as keeps leaping great distances as he tires to stand. With in a short time he able to get to his feet though instead of walking he is still making great leaps.
Carter is found by the Tharks; thin, tusked, six-limbed and greenish-skinned creature.
Because Cater can leap great distances, they don’t kill him and instead take him back to their tribe.
Cater comes to learn that Barsoon has been at war for nearly a thousand years. The war has been waged between another species that live on Barsoom the red skinned Zodangan’s and the Helium. Their have been killing the planet over the years, which has been arranged by another species, who are only remembered though old stories and legends
Cater comes to the rescue of a Helium princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). While her flying hover craft is attacked by the Zodanagan. Cater learns that the leader of the Zodanagan Sab Than (Dominic West) has now got a new super weapon that has turned the tide of the war. Sab Than has gone to Dejah father to end the war by wedding him. Dejah know that by wedding him he people will be enslaved.
Dejah believes she knows what is the power behind Sab Than weapon, and with Cater help they can finding it and save her people.
John Cater has some really great set peaces and a very good cast, however there is a lot going on and it feels a lot have been left out.
That the biggest problem with the film with so many factions there is no room to expand on anything and explore the world that Burroughs created.
There is little action but what there are is enjoyable and the FX look good, however it might be a bit late as Avatar are far better.
From a director that has humour in the truck loads in past film that is lacking, however he has shown Lucas how to do a comic side-kick with Carter pet alien dog.
Is the film that bad? Not at all, it’s a great sci-fi action film and enjoyable to watch.
It just came to late to make an impact, but saying that without Burroughs Barsoom novel series, we would not have Star Trek, Star Wars or any of the great sci-fi novel, TV show and movies.
As for Stanton, it was a big project for a first time live action director, but you also got to hand it to any filmmaker who manages to get a decapitation into a Disney movie.
I give this a 3.5 out of 5. A fun movie, but there is room for improvements’.
Tars Tarkas: [voiceover] Mars. So you name it and think that you know it. The red planet, no air, no life. But you do not know Mars, for its true name is Barsoom. And it is not airless, nor is it dead, but it is dying. The city of Zodanga saw to that.