Lots of hype for the new Disney movie John Carter. In the end it's part Avatar, part Star Wars, and it has a whole lot of the Disney animated movie formula.
John Carter, before you see one frame is a rather interesting story. The stories originally written in 1911 or so, have never come to the screen in all this time. That on the surface has me baffled. But after further review, you need today's technology to pull this off.
John Carter is a very complicated story that takes place in 1881. Carter is an American Civil War veteran that has a reputation as being a "born fighter." He is captured by the Union Army and is ordered to help in the war against the American Indian in the wild west. He then is somehow transported to Mars. That's right, (the planet Mars). Where he finds himself in the middle of a civil war on that planet. He also finds himself with a powerful physical skill set that makes him desirable to each side in that war to pursue.
As he comes to grips with his new surroundings, he befriends and comes to fall in love with a gorgeous Princess of Mars who holds the key to good surviving the challenge of evil on Mars. They then with a select group of allies take on evil. Will they emerge triumphant? There is much more story line here, and politics a plenty, but it's far too complicated for this short article. Plus, I'm not at all confident the depth of story and politics inside this movie is why any one is going to see it.
In short, it's a David and Goliath story line, and there's even some symbolism to that effect involved here. John Carter is laced with unending, computer generated action sequences in 3-D. Although the written original story is pretty compelling, it does get lost with the bells and the whistles. I saw this in 3-D, and to be honest, it left me flat. The 3-D didn't make this a better movie, just one I had to wear glasses for. Hugo has far better 3-D than this.
John Carter is just another in a line of big computer generated action movies that really have a video game feel, and that is going to resonate big time with movie enthusiasts raised on that medium. You do have to marvel at what can be done technically, but these movies are becoming so common place, they are all starting to run together. That's not really this movies fault, but it may be just viewer fatigue.
John Carter also introduces us to the hunky Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights TV show) as our hero. Well cast, and does what he's asked to do. Also the Princess is the ridiculously beautiful Lynn Collins. They have a nice chemistry at times when the script allows them to, and they look comfortable together on screen. Be it amongst the animated characters. The decision to cast below the radar actors was apt, and lets us see the movie, and not the actors themselves.
But for the few things John Carter does well, there are things that it doesn't. It's very busy, and it's a bit too long. There are also some elements that for me were a bit silly. It's the exact same formula in many of the Disney cartoons over the past 20 years. This movie looks like Disney's stab at their Avatar in it's message and feel, and that's a shame. If you're going to spend a quarter of a billion dollars on this, you should be bold enough to make your own movie. Although in it's defense, this written story was around way before Avatar, but James Cameron got his story to the market first 3 years ago.
John Carter. Original story is good. But this movie, looks like 20 or 30 or 30 other movies. Also, 3-D is almost mandatory for it's marketing, but not really an asset to this movie, just more expensive.