This is a little late, and for good reason. I really wanted to let the movie marinate with me and also let all the negative reviews fester a little.
John Carter tells the story of an ex-Confederate captain in the late 1800s who is transported to mars and becomes the savior of the red planet. May not sound super interesting, but keep in mind the book was written in 1912! Edgar Rice Burroughs, of Tarzan fame, was the prolific author of A Princess of Mars, which is what the film is based on. In most cases I am very loyal to the books and find them almost always better. In the 1930s, the first film adaptation for John Carter came up, and Burroughs actually suggested giving a new or revised story because it would need to resonate with new audiences. Therefore, 99% of the changes were fine by me.
I am not going to try and argue with the critics here, I know more about John Carter then them. Also, I feel like a lot of them have forgotten how to have fun at the movies. This movie was the most fun I have had at the movies in a while. The movie packs in action and story and technology and back story and so on. What’s interesting is that the book hardly explains any of that. This isn’t Lord of the Rings or Dune where there is this rich depth of detail and landscape. Mars is a wasteland and the technology works because it isn’t earth, the movie answers to the modern need to have things explained.
People need to think of this as big picture. This is the first story in a long line of tales. You meet the characters here; learn a little bit about them. You need at least one other movie before you really feel the love and romance of John and Dejah Thoris. You need another film to realize the warrior-brother bound of John and Tars Tarkus. This could have been a three hour movie, easy. It wasn’t for good reason.
Andrew Stanton of Pixar loved these books and had a passion for the story. I think it shows and that’s what makes this movie so charming and loveable. You get top rate special effects, great acting, witty dialogue, guys and girls with little clothing; you also get Woola, the Martian dog that had to inspire R2-D2 and Chewbacca. It literally has something for everyone. I know that is really cliché, but it is absolutely true.
The books are the perfect romance novel guys, John’s only motivation is the girl. In the movie he actually had more depth and it makes him more interesting. You still get a scene where he is swinging his sword and mauling hundreds of Warhoon Tharks with their blue bloodied bodies piling up around him, but then you get him kissing a princess. So cool!
I think this is the best live action Disney movie I have seen since 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I don’t care how much it; I don’t care how much it makes. It was a movie that reminded me of why I love the cinema.