John Carter Review


A brave adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ material; but in the wake of the likes of Avatar’s success it isn’t hard to see why directors Andrew Stanton took the material to task.

John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is only interested in digging up gold to make his fortune. Seemingly coming from a dark background that sees him not interested in taking part in anyone’s war; he breaks away from the local cavalry onto to discover a cave of gold. But before he has a chance to grab a pickaxe he has a swift encounter with an alien being and just as abruptly wakes up to find himself on Mars.

Carter learns how to run, leap and – no less- bound across the landscape before getting mixed up in turmoil between the various species on the planet. Seems like Mars isn’t so different from out world (despite their advanced technology – yet regressed dress sense). He gets to impress a local princess (Kitsch’s wolverine buddy Lynne Collins) as well. Collins’ stands out in the desert with her striking blue eyes and also by the fact that she looks like the Arabian version of Wonder Woman in one desert wandering scene.

Also in the mix (aside from a bunch of CGI created inhabitants) are Mark Strong (who never seems to stop working) and Dominic West as the film’s antagonists. The story does get bogged down with a lot of cultural speak which will try the patience of some  viewers. But if John Carter is to succeed as a franchise then the silly words used in this film are necessary to set up the world. It’s just a bit hokey from time to time how it comes across in the dialogue in this film. But Stanton doesn’t wink at the camera as he films this as he wants it to be fun, but get taken seriously.

John Carter then joins the likes of Dune in that it presents new cultures and new worlds that the audience is expected to pay attention to fully understand just who, what, where, when and why.  And to this effect the film should be commended for pushing the audience expectations and involvement this far.  To dismiss it as tosh for doing so is a disservice to the film as it does also deliver some thrills along the way.

The film will appeal to the likes of the Star Wars crowd (in particular Episode II-III fans). There are vast deserts, an assortment of beasties, friends and foes for carter to encounter and navigate on his journey.

It’s also worth noting that while 3D has still yet to be perfected, the job on this film wasn’t all that bad – which is saying something considering the amount of effects work put into the film.



Steven Hurst

Share this!