Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Action
Colour, 132 Minutes
Verdict: Although not as horrible as I expected, John Carter tries hard to be a fun-filled action fantasy film, and fails in the end while replicating many other films in the past. There are some nice jokes, but the wooden characterisation and messy pacing ruin the film as a whole.
Plot: John Carter, a man from Virginia in the late 1800’s discovers a lush planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter a princess who is in desperate need of a saviour.
The first problem the film has is its plot. When I saw the trailer, I assumed John Carter was going to be a character that ends up transported to a new world by some unknown source. Well, it is this, but more for no reason. First, we begin in a western-like setting in Virginia, were Carter stumbles across a medallion that transports him to the new world. However, things get complex as the film struggles to explain itself stating that it is a clone of him. To make things worse, 80% of the film is actually being told through a diary entry.
The problem is we see the diary
being read by a character, which we give no attention, and dive right into the
story. Are there voice-overs or scenes swapping to remind you it is from a
diary? No. It fatally stumbles to tell the story, and the ending is
unforgivably stupid. From the moment the film begins, unrecognisable names of
characters and locations are thrown in that instantly become frustrating. Why the hell Barsoom?
|"Look man, I didn't ask to be here"|
The next problem with the film is its pacing. It is difficult to explain, but it slows down, speeds up, jumps from time to time and just gets lost in itself too much that really brings it down. To sum up the film’s direction it is just plain messy. I am disappointed as I thought the film might have had some hope due to being directed by animation director Andrew Stanton, who had previously directed Wall-E, co-wrote Finding Nemo and co-directed A Bugs Life. It seems this jump from animation to live-action (well, half live-action) did not work out for him.
Furthermore, the film tries to create an expansive world for us to engage with and to be thrilled by. Why does it fail? The film tries to cram lots of information and show the various different cultures within the planet of Mars, but it is simply too much for a short time. Why does it work with other fantasy films? Put it this way; what do Harry Potter, Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings have in common? They have more than one film to explain the worlds within the stories. They all took their time. Now, I do not mean this as a huge criticism but the film just failed to create an engaging universe of its own and did not take it’s time to develop it’s plot and characters.
|"Why are we so stoic and emotionless?"|
The film in the end, has been critically unsuccessful and a blunder in the commercial world. One reason for this would be the film’s lack of star quality. This is fine, but it is quite clear when making a film on a large scaled budget, it is vital to include recognised stars in order to grab attention. Overall, the film is not horrendously bad that it is offensive, but it does nothing special or fresh and lacks entertainment value, making it a sandy and forgettable movie to skip.
Age Certificate: 12a
John Carter will be out on DVD and Blu-Ray on July 2nd, so if you want to buy it and destroy it.