John Carter (12a)
Dir. Andrew Stanton
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
“When I saw you, I believed it was a sign... that something new can come into this world.”
What do you get if you cross Star Wars, Flash Gordon and Avatar? Well John Carter would be one answer and it’s easy to see the influences of these sci-fi epics in this new big budget otherworld opus. The thing is John Carter’s story was written in the early 1900’s by Edgar Rice Burroughs and the influences of his books can be seen in many Sci-fi films.
So John Carter (played by Taylor ‘soon to be seen in Battleship’ Kitsch) finally hits the big screen – a bit late to his own party but eager to please. Carter is a cavalryman transported to Mars where he becomes a pivotal element in a civil war.
"shoot the flying thing..."
The plot is join the dots goodies vs baddies, princess in peril, lovable ‘doglike’ creature that becomes Carter’s sidekick. Alien race that adopt Carter, who he will call on to fight for the right side… It’s pick and mix sci-fi bingo all the way (even if this is a look at the original source) but at least director Andrew ‘Finding Nemo’ Stanton manages to inject the macho nonsense with some heart.
Disney have stumped up the cash for this and the special effects are suitably impressive – this a decent slice of daring do, heroic spectacle – pumped up with some tasty action sequences.
Taylor Kitsch is pretty convincing in the lead role, looking for all the world like a Conan-lite hero, handy with a sword and blessed with the ability to pull off Hulk scale jumps due to the gravity imbalance. Lynn Collins is Carter’s love interest – the Martian Princess ‘Dejah Thoris’ – she looks the part too in some skimpy Princess Leia alike outfits.
The rest of the cast are good too with licence to over act, so we get Willem Dafoe as Tars Tarkas and Samantha Morton as Sola (four armed green skinned aliens) along with Mark Strong as the main villain of piece with the great name of Matai Shang.
John Carter isn’t the classic that it would have been if it had been made before Star Wars and the rest but it offers solid entertainment for anyone who likes their action space bound and who isn’t put off by odd alien names…
In space nobody can hear you scream ‘Haven’t I seen this somewhere before?’
3.5 – Sci-fi epicness (just a little late)
Awesomeness ööö – some of the battles are cool
Laughs ööö – corny acting and stupid dog thing raise smiles
Horror öö – nothing too grim
Babes ööö – Lynn Collins looks good at 35 (see below vs original artwork)
Spiritual Enlightenment öö – Mars is not heaven