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;'John Carter'

A film directed by Andrew Stanton Loosely based on the character by Edgar Rice Burroughs

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Different planet, same contrived plot points

  • Mar 7, 2012


Written by Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon

Directed by Andrew Stanton

Starring Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Samantha Morton, Willem Dafoe and Mark Strong


Introduction: Mars - So you name it and think you know it.


In all honesty, there are only two reasons I wanted to see JOHN CARTER. The first was to see the live-action debut from Andrew Stanton, a director who has given me two of my favorite films, FINDING NEMO and WALL-E, and who has established himself as one of the great contemporary animated filmmakers. The second reason I wanted to see JOHN CARTER was so that I could finally make sense of what was happening in the trailers for the film. Every time I would see them, my head would hurt trying to figure out what exactly it was I was looking at. Sadly, making sense of the images, did nothing to make them any more interesting to me. It’s passable but I doubt it will ever be memorable.


For those of you who are still in the dark about JOHN CARTER, allow me to break it down for you. A young marksman by the name of John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is evading the army in 1881, New York City. He struggles with a weird bald guy wearing a robe in a cave and suddenly he is on Mars, otherwise known to the people of Mars as Barsoom. Here he is dropped into the middle of planetary unrest and civil war and he can’t even understand how to get his footing on the ground. He encounters a species known as the  Tarks and they take him into their barbaric society, which leads to his eventual meeting with Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), the princess of one of the planet’s last remaining ruling cities. And like most princesses I know, she needs saving. Civilizations are crashing all over Barsoom but yet the fate of the planet hangs in the balance of whether the princess decides to marry the mean man or not. Different planet, same old contrived plot problem.


I readily admit that fantasy films are not my thing but I have no problems getting lost in the imaginings of another man’s mind as long as there seems to be adequate reason to be there. JOHN CARTER is plenty pretty from a visual standpoint and contains many a well executed thrill sequence but it never reaches the heights its grandness needs to sustain itself. Albeit based on a much loved and thought to be heavily influential Edgar Rice Burroughs (the author who created “Tarzan”) series, JOHN CARTER the movie bears very little weight or depth, which leaves the viewer wondering what all the fuss is about. If this is truly one of the greatest untold film stories, then why does it feel like a somewhat tenuous cornerstone of a film franchise that may never live to see its first sequel?

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LUNCH rating is out of 10.

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Different planet, same contrived plot points Different planet, same contrived plot points

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March 08, 2012
Nice write up. I plan to check this one out over the weekend.
March 10, 2012
Thanks ... at least somebody plans to check it out. What a bomb this is going to be financially for Disney.
March 08, 2012
Great write-up and pictures to boot! Edgar Rice Burroughs was one of the finest American writers. The Burroughs crater on Mars is named in his honor. His writing was of the highest order -especially the vocabulary usage. Some phraseology in Tarzan of the Apes needs to be reworked to conform to accepted colloquial usage in today's world.
March 08, 2012
I had a feeling it was going to be so-so. well, I guess I still have to see this one just because....nice stuff, Joseph!
March 10, 2012
I feel like you enjoyed this more than I did. I found it reasonably decent but soulless.
March 10, 2012
yeah, I think my 3+/5 kinda is more than your 6/10. This was fun, but I have to say, its contrivances made it hollow.
More John Carter reviews
review by . March 10, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
The Coming of
Perhaps I should have revisited Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “A Princess of Mars”, the first novel that featured his character John Carter before I saw this film. 2012‘s “John Carter“ is very loosely based on that first novel and the first live action film by Andrew Stanton who made his directorial debut with Pixar‘s “Finding Nemo“. Burroughs’ creations are indeed a great work of pulp; and his greatest creation may indeed be “John Carter” …
review by . July 04, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
I know what you're thinking: John Carter was a freaking nuclear bomb. You know that, and so, like most people you're automatically associating the movie's puny monetary takeback with an especially rotten stench. Frankly, that's being pretty harsh, for one thing; between production, advertising, and every other expense filmmaking tends to incur, some financial whizzes got together and concluded that John Carter wouldn't have broken even without an intake of around $700 million. It's Disney's fault …
review by . September 28, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
I bought a ticket to another movie, but had to wait an hour, so I thought I would pass time watching John Carter.    As JC began I became swiftly swept up in it, forgetting the other movie entirely, as I was so transported.    If you're like me and like movies such Star Wars, I think you will love this movie. I'm not suggesting that it's better than Star Wars, but I certainly enjoyed it than some Star Wars movies.    Like many movies our …
review by . March 17, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
George Lucas in his creation of STAR WARS, James Cameron in his creation of AVATAR, the creators of Buck Rogers, the creators of Flash Gordon, and countless other writers and film directors for almost a century owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to Edgar Rice Burroughs and his Barsoom Chronicles (beginning with A PRINCESS OF MARS, first published as a short story under a different title in 1912). Burroughs is best known for creating Tarzan. However, Burroughs dabbled in several different genres, …
review by . March 08, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
'John Carter' 'Two Jews On Film' Are World's Apart On This SciFi 3D Adventure (Video)
            By Joan Alperin Schwartz   Okay, so first I have to say that I loved 'John Carter', the Disney 3D SciFi adventure film directed by Andrew Stanton (WALL-E)...      The plot can seem slightly more complicated than it I'll just give you the main points.       First, there's John Carter (the very handsome, Taylor Kitsch) a post Civil War Veteran who's absolutely …
review by . March 09, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Like all good space operas, John Carter relinquishes virtually all restraint on common sense and plunges headfirst into pure intergalactic melodrama. In spite of the obvious narrative anchors to reality – feuding tribes, political corruption, romance, advancements in technology – we’re immersed in a world and a time that exists solely in the imagination. Yes, this is in part due to the film’s 3D presentation (which is admittedly …
review by . May 09, 2012
JOHN CARTER: Great Film, But Horribly Mismanaged Property
As one of the internet’s resident scribes on all things movie, I’ll not be the first – nor certainly the last – to lambast the treatment JOHN CARTER received at the box office.  The short version of this sad history is that JOHN CARTER was the perfect popcorn flick that deserved better – better from fans, better from the studio who made the film, and (far, far) better from the critical community that mostly drubbed it a ‘disaster’ for all the wrong …
review by . March 08, 2012
Without the Jeddack’s would there be a Jedi, what would Charlton Heston have worn when crashing on The Planet of the Apes, would Kirk have gotten so much inter-galctic tail if it hadn’t been for this hero created 100 years ago. John Carter is thought to be the inspiration for that and so much more in the science fiction world, so it is understood that fans of the genre have been crying out for the movie to be made. And with the technology to create other worlds, nothing is …
Quick Tip by . March 12, 2012
   Saw it theatrically over the weekend, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  I'll probably wait for the DVD release to pen a full review, but, if you're a sci-fi junkie like I am, this is definitely one to see on the big screen.  I know it's getting a lot of press due to the fact that Disney sank $250M into it as a property; while it looks good, it certainly doesn't look to me like a $250M flick (I'm going by the STAR WARS prequel trilogy as a comparison).  …
About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #8
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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About this movie


John Carter is an upcoming 2012 action film featuring John Carter, the heroic protagonist of Edgar Rice Burroughs' 11-volume Barsoom series.[5] The film marks the centennial of the character's first appearance in 1912.

Former Confederate captain John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is mysteriously transported to Mars ("Barsoom") where he becomes part of a conflict between the various nations of the planet, whose leaders include Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) and Princess Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). Carter takes it upon himself to save Barsoom and its people from a growing threat.[5][6]

The film is the live-action debut of director/writer Andrew Stanton and is co-written by Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon. It is produced by Jim Morris, Colin Wilson, and Lindsey Collins, and scored by Michael Giacchino.[1][7][8]

Walt Disney Pictures is distributing the film; it will be released in the United States on March 9, 2012.[9][10][11] Filming began in November 2009 and principal photography spanned from January 2010 to July 2010.[12][13] This project marks the first time that Andrew Stanton has worked on a live-action film; his previous work includes the Pixar animated films Finding Nemo and WALL-E.[7][14] The film will be released in the Digital 3D and IMAX 3D formats.

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Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Studio: Walt Disney Studios

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