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JOHN CARTER – Movie Review

Like many, I was completely unenthused by the marketing for John Carter, as it looked rote, bland, and downright silly.  Not to mention that the film cost $250 million for production alone, and has been forecast by many to be one of the worst box office disasters in movie history.  Now that I’ve seen John Carter, I can confirm that my expectations were accurate; there’s a likely chance that it’ll end up on my top 10 worst films of the year list.

The film is directed by Andrew Stanton, a Pixar favorite who helmed Finding Nemo and Wall-EJohn Carter is his foray into live-action filmmaking, and it’s based off of a character by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appeared in a series of books and Marvel comics.  The film is based off of the 1917 novel A Princess of Mars, and it follows the title character (Taylor Kitsch), an American living in the late 1800s, who is mysteriously transported to Mars.  He discovers a kingdom of alien creatures there, initially wanting to get back home.  However, he takes a liking to the kingdom, the creatures, and a woman (Lynn Collins).

The main issue with John Carter is the screenplay.  There are three credited screenwriters, and it shows.  The plot is messy, convoluted, and hard to follow, which it shouldn’t be.  This is a film by Disney, pandering to kids between the ages of 10 and 13, who will not understand the storyline, considering I didn’t.  There is so much sci-fi and fantasy lore thrown at the audience, which a small demographic can actually comprehend, and ultimately enjoy.

The performances are also wooden, stoic, and bland, however I don’t blame the actors; the script gives them hardly anything to work with.  Carter is the rote, clichéd hero we’ve seen in hundreds of action movies before, and there’s nothing about him that stands out.

The action set pieces are well filmed, but I’ve seen so many like them before, and I ultimately didn’t care because the characters didn’t matter.

There are some strong points in the film, however.  While the visuals are crammed with CGI at times, other shots showcase a vast, grand scope that capture the scenery and effects well.

I also liked Michael Giacchino’s musical score, which injected a sense of adventure and fun that the movie was really lacking.

Overall, John Carter is a messy, dull, and confusing adventure movie.  Disney most likely wanted this to be the first of a potential franchise for them, as they are desperately looking for something to take over the source of revenue that Pirates of the Caribbean currently holds.  My words of advice to them: keep looking.


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