Hubby downloaded this one and convinced me, kinda against my better knowledge, to rewatch this trainwreck.
Because he thinks it perfectly marks the spot in time when Disney losts its mojo and turned an estimated 250,000,000 USWoolongs into a turd. Don’t ask me why that’s important, I only watch movies and decide if they are shit or cool.
Well, John Carter was …
John Carter, a Civil War veteran, who in 1868 was trying to live a normal life, is “asked” by the Army to join, but he refuses so he is locked up. He escapes, and is pursued. Eventually they run into some Indians, and there’s a gunfight. Carter seeks refuge in a cave. While there, he encounters someone who is holding some kind of medallion. When Carter touches it, he finds himself in a place where he can leap incredible heights, among other things. He later encounters beings he has never seen before. He meets a woman who helps him to discover that he is on Mars, and he learns there’s some kind of unrest going on. Written by firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a strange beast to review: Best heritage, beloved set of novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs as base lore, huge huge budget and decent star power. But it’s where and how you use your stars in a movie that often maks or breaks it. Having Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton, Thomas Haden Church and Polly Walker as disembodied voices in CGI characters why casting nobies like the wannabe pretty boy Taylor Kitsch, and the very bland and mundane Lynn Collins as our duo of heroes, is nothing that goes down well with your flick reviewer of choice.
But at least our two unfortunate leads are acting their hearts out and, despite having no chemistry on screen, trying hard to be good. Which isn’t really helped by a snorefest of a screenplay and super duper amateurish direction. Did nobody in the production team of John Carter watch an Indiana Jones movie to get into the right mood? Coz the Raiders movies did all the things we expected to see in John Carter as well.
But no, pacing, acting, action, blocking … nothing was on the level you’d expect from a 250 mio flick. Stuff won’t just become amazing when you throw more money at it. You need talent and knowledge and good taste for that to happen. You need a solid foundation to build your franchise on.
When will Disney ever learn?
Oh, what did I see in this flick? All the bad things, the hilariosity, the involuntary humour, the mediocre acting, the really bad action scenes. I wanted to burn down the whole spectacle and show it as the big budget b-movie it really is. But in the end there weren’t so many details to get hung up about. No fireworks of fail. 🙂
In the case of John Carter it was the overall concept that doomed this flick to fail. I starts with the title: John Carter tells us nothing, doesn’t give us any hints, doesn’t waken our appetite. A simple John Carter on Mars or Rice Burroughs’ original novel’s title A Princess of Mars would have served so much better.
And then making it all about John Carter and not even giving the princess any character development or anything that would make her interesting for the audience was the next blunder. Now it’s just like “Here’s an arrogant alien princess in distress. Have fun with our alien princess!”
Such bland matter-of-fact methods almost never work. The novelty effect wears off quickly if there isn’t a strong character and a good story behind it. Last example of total misconception was the Cats debacle of just last year. And to make matter worse, the alien princess doesn’t show any alien characteristics. If anything she’s almost too human in physique and behaviour. Like all the rest of the Martian civilisation … apart from the indigenous race Thark. But even they seem to think with human logic. This is a pretty lame, operatic version of Mars. 😮
CONCLUSION: Uninspired evil dictators, some inconsequential deity figures, a bleak misplaced human anti-hero and his bland alien love interest. What was supposed to be – and all geared up for – being a great space opera with lots of adventure, intrigue, wars, brutal natives, sexy space princesses and all kinds of mayhem failed at the first hurdle.