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John Carter- review

“John Carter” (2012)
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Starring Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins
Running Time 132 Minutes, Rated PG-13
2.5 Mitch’s out of 5
Mitch Hansch/ movieswithmitch.com

From the very long awaited Edgar Rice Burrough’s novel, “John Carter” ends up being a disappointment in mediocrity, and with a budge of $250 Million you shouldn’t get mediocrity, you should get the moon and the stars and a better film that uses Mars.  “John Carter” wants to have the dark tones of a “Dark Knight” and the old school adventure of “Raiders of the Lost Arc”, but neither is accomplished as the vaguely written dark back story of the protagonist zaps all the fun out what should be incredibly exciting surroundings.

John Carter is an ex-confederate cavalry man in search of gold. When he is backed into a cave from fighting Apaches, he comes across a device that transports him to Basoon, or as we call it, Mars.  Adopted by Nav’i slash Jar Jar Binks  looking aliens with four arms known as the Tharks, Carter is forced into fighting the battle for Mars between the two humanoid provinces and mystical manipulators known as Therns.  Carter chooses the side with the Princess Helium, who’s to be forced into marriage, that is if he doesn’t do something about it.  

Taylor Kitsch plays John Carter with unnecessary Christian Bale brood.  This fantasy/ adventure should have been met with more zeal and interest, instead of just wanting to get home the whole time.  “John Carter” is also dubious for being overly complicated while being vaguely simplistic.  This might come off poorly, but the Tharks (while the CGI is visually impressive to look at) aren’t visually easy to distinguish between, and they go by the names that include Dejah Thoris, Tars Tarkas, Tal Hajus, Matai Shang, Sab Than and Kantos Kan.  It was hard to follow who was talking about who.  Even more confusing were the Therns.  The Thern’s (leader played by Mark Strong,) are a group of overseer’s who give little explanation as to why they’re in favor of the evil province to be victorious.  

Andrew Stanton, director of “Finding Nemo” and my favorite animated film of all time “Wall-E”, fails to make the jump to live action, unlike his Pixar buddy Brad Bird who just excelled with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.  The effects are impressive, especially in the IMAX theater I saw it in, and even though the third act finally starts to feel like the fun ride it should, Stanton couldn’t make up for the first two bummers of acts.  Too long at 132 minutes, and simply just too lackluster for a story of an Earth man on Mars.

and simply just too lackluster for a story of an Earth man on “this”.


1 Chronicles 5:20

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