“John Carter”



Filed under : Movie Reviews

by Leanna

“John Carter” was released June 5th on DVD and Blu-Ray. The Disney film grossed $72 million at the U.S. box office. Its lead cast is relatively unknown, with Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins playing the main characters. Willem Dafoe and Thomas Haden Church also play significant roles, but viewers won’t recognize them in their alien character forms. One familiar face is Mark Strong, who has been in numerous films over the past few years. The audience may remember him from “Sherlock Holmes,” among other successful action/adventure flicks.

The film is based on a novel published in 1917 by Edgar Rice Burroughs, “The Princess Of Mars.” It was the first in the 11-volume “Barsoom” series of books written from 1912-1943. John Carter is the main character throughout the book series. Burroughs penned many book series, mainly science fiction, and was also the creator of the well-known character, Tarzan.

John Carter (Kitsch) is a Civil War veteran from Virginia, trying to strike it rich by discovering gold in the southwest. Carter stumbles onto a cave with strange markings, and he is unknowingly transported to Mars by a medallion he finds there. He quickly encounters the Tharks, a tribe of tall, green warrior people (Dafoe and Church). The Tharks are impressed with his strength and ability, and they soon try to make him their prized fighter.

In a parallel story elsewhere on the planet, Dejah Thoris (Collins) is a scientist and princess of the city, Helium. They have been at war with another Martian city, Zodanga, for some time. When the Jeddak (king) of Zodanga receives a powerful weapon, the Ninth Ray, Helium is at his mercy. He proposes peace with Helium, but the price is Dejah Thoris’ hand in marriage. She flees the city, and soon crosses paths with John Carter. The two embark on an adventure to save Helium. When Helium’s cause becomes his own, Carter finds a sense of belonging he no longer had on Earth.

“John Carter” has something for everyone: fantasy, action, drama, suspense, comedy, politics, and even romance. However, viewers must definitely enjoy science fiction to get into this one. It’s about as sci-fi as it gets, complete with bizarre alien critters and time travel. Though Barsoom (Mars) is a strange world, the film quickly captivates the audience. It’s essentially a classic good vs. evil story, but there are shades of gray in which the characters must challenge their traditions. The movie sticks with viewers for awhile. While the ending provides sufficient closure, it leaves the audience wondering about the rest of John Carter’s story. The film is well executed, and the cinematography and visual effects are flawless. Science fiction fans will appreciate this original, big-budget production.

3 popcorn kernels

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