If you’re a fan of the original books, you’ll LOVE it. People who never heard of Barsoom will be won over. Don’t believe the bad reviews. There are parts that are kind of talky for young kids (my boys are 10 & 12-years-old) and maybe even grown kids, but the action scenes and Woola, Carter’s calot (Barsoomian dog), will win them over.
I personally also loved the way John Carter jumped. It was fun and I wanted to see more of it. This is where Siegel and Shuster, the creators of Superman, got the idea from for their Kryptonian hero. Yes, Superman leaped tall buildings in a single bound and did not fly when he first debuted.
The movie also depicts Mars as being an absolutely beautiful desert landscape that’s clinging as hard as it can to life. If you get a chance, seeing Mars in 3D is wonderful treat, but only on the IMAX screen. Otherwise, see it in regular 2D.
Other things that worked for me in John Carter were the Western part of the movie and John Carter’s nephew Edgar Rice Burroughs. Many directors probably would’ve updated the John Carter story and not include the “cowboy” part, but I’m glad Andrew Stanton did. It establishes who Carter is as a person and shows us that he is basically a man in emotional pain, from the death of his wife and child, and he just wishes to find his gold and escape the corruption of his Civil war torn world and find a new and simple pastoral beginning. Carter does find a new beginning on Mars and the second love of his life. John Carter and Dejah Thoris are the perfect couple and were made for each other just like Tarzan and Jane and Superman and Lois. Dejah Thoris helps Carter to care about his new home on Barsoom and realize that life, as he once thought, is not over.
I also mentioned Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of John Carter. Yes, Burroughs actually did write himself as a character in the original story “Under the Moons of Mars” which was collected into the novel “A Princess of Mars” that we know of today. Burroughs’ character actually plays a very important part in the story.
Was there anything that didn’t work for me? If I had to pick something it would be to include and show more of the friendship between John Carter and the giant four armed Thark warrior Tars Tarkas. In the Burroughs novels, Carter and Tarkas are steadfast friends who would lay their lives on the line to save each other. The movie touched on this a little, but not as much as I would like to have seen.
Simply put, I liked the movie. It passed my test which it didn’t put me to sleep and I didn’t feel as if I wasted my money. John Carter is a fun popcorn movie. That’s all. I hate the fact that so many people and reviews had this movie on their critical EPIC Fail list long before the movie was released or based their opinions just on the trailers alone. I read so many mean, I do mean scathing, reviews by so called big named reviewers. Yes, Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly, I’m calling you out. Was it the fact that it’s a Disney production? Was it because it is Pixar’s first live action movie? Is Taylor Kitsch just too good looking for you? I don’t know. It’s like so many people have chosen to jump on the John Carter is going to bomb bandwagon so they can point at the people who actually saw and enjoyed the film just to say “I told you so.” Who cares? I don’t.