So straight off the bat I should say I know nothing about the John Carter books except that they are written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This story is apparently based on the first of a series of 11 books titled Princess of Mars.
I also know that most sci-fi, Star Wars, Babylon 5, Avatar and so on, derive a lot from the Burroughs novels and this is evident in the movie.
This marks the first live action film for director Andrew Stanton, best known for his amazing work with Pixar. He wrote and directed Wall-E, Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life and wrote all of the Toy Story movies, including the forthcoming fourth Mark one.
The story is basically about a Civil War veteran from the 1880’s who is transplanted to Mars by a sort of accident, and on Mars he can leap tall buildings with a single bound…‘cos the gravity and that. See? Mmmm…
Now unless you have been living under a rock you’ll know that the film is made by Disney, and it was a massive flop, cost a fortune, made next to nothing.
A lot of fans of the John Carter series said this was just purely bad marketing on the Disney side and actually it’s a good film.
I’m sorry to say I disagree, this is not a good film, it’s not even very well directed, sorry Mr Stanton I think your Pixar work is awesome, this however…this feel like a cheap SyFy movie that happens to have got a really good CGI company to work on it.
It feels like directing by numbers, there’s an epic battle scene (that you see coming a mile away) that is set to slow orchestral music, and not in a good way. The dialogue is clunky, characters talk like they are in an old Bond movie, telling each other their plans before they attempt to kill each other, which obviously they never do. There’s nothing new here, but it’s set on Mars, we’ve seen it all before, yet no-one (to my knowledge) has tried to make these novels into movies before, it’s just all a bit dull!
Maybe it’s the acting? Taylor Kitsch plays the title role and he’s not really been in much before except for a TV series I haven’t heard of (probably a US thing). But he has long hair, a square jaw and muscles so that’s ok.
Lynn Collins plays the Princess of Mars, she’s been in a few things and fairs ok, though doesn’t have the best dialogue in the world. Mark Strong plays the bad guy, and well frankly he looks a tad bored.
I think the concept is interesting, I think someone could make this into a good movie, but for me it needs to decide what it is. Is it an action movie with some comedy, or is dark and broody. It tries to be both and misses wildly in my opinion.