John Carter Blu-Ray Review - Mania.com



John Carter Blu-Ray Review

Mania Grade: C-

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Info:

  • Rated: PG-13
  • Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Dominic West
  • Written By: Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon
  • Directed By: Andrew Stanton
  • Original Year of Release: 2012
  • Distributor: Disney Home Entertainment
  • Extras: See Below
  • Series:

John Carter Blu-Ray Review

Overblown and overlong

By Tim Janson     June 07, 2012
Source: Mania.com

It’s been an interesting year for Disney Studios…with The Avengers they have the biggest box-office hit of the year, and perhaps of all-time.  And on the other hand there is John Carter that, while it has made back its 250 million dollar budget, it still considered a major disappointment.  The problem with John Carter is that it was treated like a major pop-culture character.  It was given a budget that was actually LARGER than The Avengers even though the Avengers had five films that lead into it, building up a core audience.  What is the core audience for John Carters?  We’re talking about a character whose glory days were nearly a hundred years ago, back in the 1910s and 1920s.  Marvel Comics published a short-lived series, “John Carter: Warlord of Mars” back in the 1970s but since then this character has largely been well off the public radar.

Besides giving the film a budget that it didn’t deserve, the Producer’s second misstep was in the title.  We don’t get “John Carter of Mars” or “John Carter Warlord of Mars”, titles which at least convey the fact that it’s in the Sci-Fi genre.  Instead we get the lackluster “John Carter” which sounds like it might be a drama about a used car salesman.  John Carter is like a Christmas gift wrapped perfectly in expensive foil paper and with neatly tied bows that you open to find slippers or underwear.  It’s pretty on the outside but boring on the inside.

The convoluted plot which is desperately short on logical exposition finds Carter, a former Confederate soldier, on the run from Union troops and hiding out in a cave when a strange being appears (later revealed to be a Thern.  Carter kills the Thern and grasps a medallion which transports him to Mars, known to the native inhabitants as Barsoom.  There, due to Barsoom’s lower gravity, Carter’s strength is far greater than on Earth.  He finds himself caught in the middle of an age’s long war between the rival cities of Helium and Zodanga.  The leader of Zodanga, Sab Than (West) has been given a weapon by the Thern that turns the tide of the war in their favor.  Carter finds allies among the Tharks, a giant, four-armed, green-skinned race of Martians and rescues the Princess of Helium Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) from Sab Than and journeys with her to a sacred location that might allow Carter to get back home.  As Carter will soon discover though, his main antagonist is not Sab Than but rather the Thern leader Matai Shang. 

John Carter is a dazzling film to behold.  The barren Martian landscapes are contrasted by the majestic cities of Zodanga and Helium and their array of fantastic air ships.  Director Andrew Stanton is counting on you being dazzled by the sights because the rest of the film is a jumbled mess of hanging plot threads.  Carter discovers what appears to be a long forgotten spacecraft that comes to life with his amulet and is powered by (or is the source) of the mysterious Ninth Ray.  Believing this ship can be used to transport him back home if the symbols can be translated; Carter and Dejah Thoris return to Heliun…and promptly forget about the ship.  And just what is the Ninth Ray that was discussed so frequently in the first half of the film?  Beats the crap out of me!  In the original Edgar Rice Burroughs stories the Thern are another native race of Martians but here they are a completely alien race whose sole purpose seems to be to push worlds along to their inevitable destructions.  Carter has great strength on Mars due to the lower gravity but this is almost exclusively manifested in his being able to make Hulk-like leaps, yet he is easily restrained by a handful of Tharks.  Consistency and plausibility are nowhere to be found here.

Taylor Kitsch as John Carter is one of the worst choices for a heroic role since Klinton Spilsbury donned a mask in “The Legend of the Lone Ranger” in 1981.  I know what you’re saying, “Klinton who?”  Exactly!  Funny thing is this is not the worst film that Kitsch was in during 2012 as he starred in the even more inferior bomb “Battleship”, and we still have seven months left in the year.  Kitsch has as much charisma as a cheese sandwich.  Thankfully the rest of the cast steps up to cover him.  West and Collins are good and Willem Dafoe and Thomas Haden Church voice two of the main Thark characters with far more zeal that Kitsch does as Carter.

John Carter is overblown and overlong.  At least 20 minutes should have been shaved off the 132 minute production, particularly in the opening before Carter is transported to Mars.  It drags on without doing anything to forward the action.  This is a film that could have been a success with a $100 million dollars less of a budget but with a better script and more cohesive direction.

Blu-Ray Extras
 

Audio commentary with Director Andrew Stanton

Disney Second Screen – This is an app you can download to your computer that syncs up with the film when you watch it in this mode to provide further info about the film

100 Years in the Making (10:43) – A short bio on Edgar Rice Burroughs.  How he got into writing and developed John Carter.  Very good but too short.

Deleted Scenes (19:00) – Several deleted scenes that were either complete or partially complete, i.e., not having the visual effects added.  One includes the original Hall of Science opening and another features a scene with the young Edgar Rice Burroughs getting the telegram from his Uncle.

360 Degress of John Carter (34:02) – A making of documentary that covers a variety of tops including makeup, stunts, visual effects, and looks at the first day of shooting.

Barsoom Bloopers (2:00) – Gag Reel

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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death4sale 6/7/2012 1:16:11 AM

Don't listen to these reviewers. This was a fun movie full of adventure and nostalgia. I haven't felt this sense of adventure in a long time, since the last good Indy film. Lynn Collins is great as Dejah Thoris, the inspiration for every princess character that has ever been depicted in films including Leia. This is a great movie, my second favorite of the year behind The Avengers. It is well staged, full of fun flights of fancy, well-acted, with great visual effects, and it's ten times better than those crap Star Wars prequels.

Give it a chance, I say. I always tell people not to dismiss any film until they've actually seen it. If you want to, don't listen to me but I say don't listen to the reviews either. Go make up your own damn mind. Critics get paid for one thing: to be critical. That's their job, to find faults in every movie even the perfect ones. No critic ever seems happy with any movie, always some flaw must be found even when they post As on this site.

InFamousQBall 6/7/2012 2:33:22 AM

 i really want to see this movie, but i keep hearing all the bad buzz about it, when i first saw the trailer i got this final fantasy videogame vibe, i have an oppertunity to get this movie free from my job on blu ray should i get it? not sure, it looks lik ea pretty cool flick.

death4sale 6/7/2012 3:12:02 AM

 @InFamousQBall

Dude, if you can get the bluray for free, then I would grab that immediately. Typically, if you can get a bluray for free I would take it even if the movie is bad. You're lucky to get it for free. Me, I have a deep down urge to collect stuff so I just ordered the Super Ultimate Collector's Tin edition from Canada for $50. That should show my level of devotion to this film. Get that free copy would be my advice. If you like it, keep it. If you don't like it, sell it. Seems like a win-win situation to me.

dalgoda 6/7/2012 5:36:58 AM

Our family loved this movie.  It has been our second favorite movie behind Avengers and we bought the Blu ray on Tuesday when it came out.  Hopefully it does well enough on video and cable to get a sequel but I doubt it.  I would love to see the story continue back on Barsoom.

ntryan 6/7/2012 5:59:44 AM

I agree, this movie was great.  Don't listen to the bad reviews.  It's not just another empty special-effects movie.  There's actually some heart which is sorely missing from movies these days.

InnerSanctum 6/7/2012 6:06:51 AM

 I don't think the problem was that it was an obscure character.  The problem was that they just didn't know how to market the film.  To most, he was a brand new character.  Lots of films are made with large budgets in hopes of starting up a franchise.  I've seen it get a solid C across the board...so, my expectations were a bit low.  This is the kind of film that should have been released at the end of the summer.  

ElBaz13 6/7/2012 6:24:36 AM

If you want a good review of this blu-ray (including technical), go to blu-ray dot com. or high def digest.

This movie was fun and I picked up the blu-ray this week and can't wait to watch it again. Disney produces the best blu-rays out there and you won't be disappointed.

 

zopilotez 6/7/2012 7:25:07 AM

When this flick first came out, it was like the second coming of pop cinema to most genre sites, after the perceived flop, all its shotcomings appeared. Critics: just stand for what you´ve already said don´t jump over the "Its a flop" bandwagon just to validate yourselves.

ElBaz13 6/7/2012 7:39:17 AM

I agree.

I was on a deals forum the past week and a lot of posters were saying crap like "ew, I don't care about a $5 coupon, this movie is not even worth it"

The majority have never seen it and just riding on the critics and box office numbers.

It still made 282 million worldwide. Sure it didn't make profit but it sure didn't lose a ridiculous amount of money. 52% on RT.  Don't hate because other people do.

parallaxview 6/7/2012 7:59:54 AM

 I really missed out on what this movie was about.  According to the reviewer, John Carter TRANSFORMS into Mars.  

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