John Carter review

Director:
Andrew Stanton
Cast:
Taylor Kitsch
Lynn Collins
Samantha Morton
Willem Dafoe
Mark Strong
Rated: PG-13

The movie was originally going to be called “John Carter of Mars,” then in the movie they called him John Carter of Earth. Maybe they just couldn’t make up their damn minds.

John Carter is a sci fi adventure film following the title character, a Civil War vet who is now known by reputation as being a dangerous criminal. One day when making a get away from a group of basically cowboys and indians he stumbles across a cave with all sorts of designs on the walls.

He is then transported to Mars by an amulet and finds out that the planet is made up by three different factions who are all hostile towards each other. He soon meets the leader of one of the factions named Tars Tarkas (Dafoe) as well as the princess from another faction named Helium (Thoris). After he makes some alliances he sets out to take down Sab Than (West).

The pacing of this film felt all over the damn place. It seemed like it took forever to get the adventure going, then as soon as it does get going, it goes right back to where it started. Everything feels really disjointed especially going towards the ending. Speaking of which, the climactic final battle turns out to be really lame. The battles themselves had issues since John’s powers he had seemed really inconsistent.

I couldn’t get invested or interested in any of the character’s story arcs here. John Carter started off as a cool character however he seemed to lose some of his charm in the film. I mainly attribute this to the absolutely horrible romance he had with the Princess.

In the first act we find out that Carter is a man with a troubled past since he lost his wife and child. However, in the second act he suddenly is interested in the Princess with out having even much development or let alone chemistry. It really cheapened Carter’s character for me since it felt so out of nowhere. The rest of the cast didn’t blow me away either, there were some good names attached but the characters had such little depth.

It would have been maybe a little better if the special effects were impressive, but I didn’t even get a lot out of that. First of all, the 3D is completely wasted here, not once did it make the viewing experience better, especially since the scenery was just for the most part a desert.

I didn’t like the design of the aliens either, I know it’s how they were in the book however I felt like the look in the movie was a little to ‘cartoonish’ in a way. I always go back to the film “District 9” with it’s way of portraying the aliens as serious, believable characters, this did not happen in “John Carter.”

“John Carter” was very lack luster. The acting was nothing special, the characters had no chemistry and were boring and the plot was just not structured well. I was bored for basically all of the film so I’ll be putting this at a 1 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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