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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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Good Action and FX Make John Carter a Pleasant Suprise

  • Mar 9, 2012
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Edgar Rice Burroughs is famous for literary creations that have inspired countless generations and given birth to numerous film and television projects. You would be hard-pressed to find anybody not familiar with Tarzan, one of Burrough's great series. John Carter of Mars is another one, and at long last has finally made it to the big screen.

The film is based on the first book of eleven, a series that began in 1914 and ran through 1964 when the last book was published posthumously. John Carter stars Tylor Kitsch as the title character, a bitter Civil War veteran who, despite an accomplished service record, no longer wants anything to do with the military. Instead he is fixated upon finding a cave of gold.

Despite the fact that he served for the Confederacy, John Carter draws the attention of the U.S. Cavalry whose leader is anxious to recruit an officer of Carter's skills and experience to aid them in their skirmishes with the Apache tribes. No longer willing to fight or get involved, Carter declines the offer but soon finds himself caught in the middle of an unplanned battle between both sides. As he attempts to find shelter for himself and a wounded officer, Carter accidentally stumbles upon the cave of gold he was seeking.

Carter's surprise soon turns to shock when he's attacked by a mysterious individual who presses a glowing amulet in his hand and utters a phrase that transports John Carter instantly to the planet Mars. Of course, Carter at first has no idea where he is but soon realizes that he has incredible leaping abilities due to the lower gravity of the planet.
Shortly after his arrival he gains the attention of Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe), the chief of a race of tall, skinny, four armed alien warriors. At first intrigued by Carter, Tarkas and his people become divided over what to do with the new arrival. This becomes further complicated when airships arrive and begin a massive gunbattle. Carter immediately leaps into action with his newfound ability which quickly gains the attention of Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins), princess of the city of Helium.

It is learned that Princess Dejah is being forced to marry an evil warlord who possesses an awesome destructive ability and is using it to subjugate all those he encounters. Desperate to save their city, the princess is offered up to appease the warlord. Naturally this does not sit well with the free-spirited and feisty princess and before long she and John Carter find themselves united in their quest to save Helium. Despite his reluctance to get involved and fight, Carter realizes the princess may be his only way to get home.

A stranger in a strange land, with danger all around him, John Carter takes his audience on an epic adventure. Despite having little star power, the movie works exceptionally well with amazing special effects. The CGI used to create the various alien characters infuses them with personality and vitality rarely seen in artificially created characters. The film is visually spectacular from the legions of aliens locked in combat, to the stark splendor of the planet and its inhabitants.

Even though the film was presented in converted 3-D which, as many of you will know has long been a very touchy subject with me, the final product was actually better than most conversions. While it was nowhere near the quality of films shot in 3-D, it nonetheless offered an immersive quality to epic battle scenes and did not rely on the gimmicky trick of trying to make things pop out of the screen in order to sell the film.

Kitsch does a great job handling the action of the film and manages to interact with his CGI costars in a believable enough manner to establish as much chemistry with them as he did with the flesh and blood Collins. Although some moments of the film drag, it does have enough action to sustain the nearly two-hour runtime with a touch of humor and romance thrown in for good measure.

I first became aware of the film a year ago at the D23 Expo when Disney showed a few clips and had Kitsch, Collins and Dafoeon hand to promote the pending release. While intriguing, I did not see anything that really made the film stand out as a must-see. I am very happy to say that upon seeing the completed film, the scenes that were shown to us not only had even greater effects in the finished product but were als much more entertaining and dynamic once shown within the full context of the story line.

Director Andrew Stanton, who has made a name for himself with his animated films at Pixar, skillfully blends live-action and CGI to create a very energetic and enjoyable action-adventure film that was a very pleasant surprise.
While the acting, character development, and plot are nothing spectacular in and of themselves, they combined well and set the stage effectively for what should be a series of John Carter films in the future.

3.5 stars out of 5

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March 09, 2012
Your descriptions match what I was kind of expecting. Seems like Stanton is following suit with Brad Bird who did MI4, good to see these Pixar guys make some live action movies. Nice review. I am seeing this tonight.
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
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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 07, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
Different planet, same contrived plot points
JOHN CARTER 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 …
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
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'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 is...so 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
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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
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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 . April 12, 2012
I finally saw "John Carter" last week and I have to admit that I really enjoyed it. I was excited to see it way back when Disney first started promoting last year. While it isn't necessarily a "great" film, it's definitely not a bad one. I'll review it soon enough.
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #111
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … 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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