Posted by: greercn | March 11, 2012

John Carter

Confession time; I am utterly addicted to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ stories and vision. I liked the Tarzan series, but John Carter’s explorations of Mars really hit a chord in me. Without John Carter, there is no Superman, Star Wars or Avatar. John Carter is the invention of science fiction.

I discovered these books when I was about 10 and they changed my life, for the better.

The first stories are 100 years old. Just this once, Disney is pretty faithful to the original vision. “John Carter” is an American Civil War vet who ends up on Mars (long story, read the books or see the movie) where he discovers he has super-human powers.

So, given that these books formed me, I was all prepared to hate this movie. But I absolutely adored it and it’s my best movie of the year so far.

The flying! The moving between worlds! The creatures!

Disney’s usually annoying giving of human characteristics to animals and vice versa generally cloys, with me. Oh, it all works so magically here.

From the first scene – and despite the most irritating feral and tubercular children in the whole world sitting next to me at the Stratford Picturehouse (reader, I spoke to them strongly and I can frighten small children), I was grabbed.

The 3D is fantastic. See it in 3D, please. The layers are all brilliant and enhance the plot.

Oh dear. I am in danger of burbling. If you don’t love it, you have killed your inner child and need therapy.

Curiously, Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins (no, me neither) are the weak links here, in terms of knowledge of Mr Acting, yet they are both utterly perfect.

Andrew Stanton’s direction is spot on.

There is a very Victorian sense that runs through this and that’s pretty congruent with my values. If you have no attention span for detail, stay away. We don’t want you here, spoiling our joy.

Lots of big stars show up for excellent turns. Dominic West, Ciaran Hinds and Mark Strong stand out.

Watch out for the Woola which is just the cutest pet ever. I want one.

John used to be the most popular name for boys. It was my dad’s name. Now, it’s vanished from the lists of top names for boys. Hopefully, this movie will bring it back into fashion.

Just this once, I bow down in the presence of truly excellent film making. Yes, I will buy the DVD. And I can hardly wait for the sequel.



  1. Despite occasional moments of silliness, the old-fashioned sense of adventure and brilliantly rendered aliens elevate this above other derivative big-budget sci-fi fare. I still wished that Kitsch did a lot better in this lead role but he was only there for eye-candy really. Good review. What also stinks is that this flick probably won’t make back any of its 250 million dollar budget.

    • Thanks! It might yet make money. I believe it will do incredibly well on DVD and that people who don’t usually go to the cinema will appreciate both the quality of the story and the wonderful alien creatures that are in the movie.

  2. Why would a they make a sequel to a box office bomb?

    • Lots of great films didn’t do so well at the box office. I still think John Carter is a terrific film and very true to the original stories. A lot of people I know would love to see a sequel as there are 10 novels in the series.

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