Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe
Running Time: 2 hrs 12 mins
Release Date: March 9, 2012
PLOT: John Carter (Kitsch) is suddenly transported to Mars. He’s a Civil War vet who finds himself in the middle of another battle. John encounters a princess who tries to convince him that he could change the tide of the war.
WHO’S IT FOR? It’s a big blockbuster that’s out of this world (ouch, that was bad), and has a touch of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Flash Gordon.
I didn’t get the world of John Carter. I also didn’t get the motivation of John Carter (the character). This is a classic example of a big attempt that never feels like an escape to another world, in this case, Mars.
John has a dark, traumatic past and doesn’t want to fight in a war anymore. While trying to escape the law, he ends up in a cave, kills a Thurn, and ends up on Mars.
What’s a Thurn you ask? Don’t, because then I’ll have to try to explain all of the natives, the species, and all of that. It’s hard to get if John Carter should stick his nose in this squabble on Mars at all. After all, there are demi-gods who have been running things for years, for no particular reason (their words, not mine). They seem to be doing a fine job except they are currently rooting for the red team over the blue team. Seriously, it’s that simple. Well, until Dejah (Collins) struts her hotness. Thankfully she’s more than hot. She’s also a brilliant scientist trying to turn the desert planet back into something that would rival Earth. John takes a look at Dejah and slowly comes around to her side. I say slowly because the film wastes a ton of time with no battle, no excitement, and no cleverness. Just John and Dejah walking around.
There is a decent amount of fun to be had in the beginning, watching John deal with his new powers (jumping, punching) and meeting aliens. That eventually gives way to something we’ve seen with Avatar, Dances with Wolves and others. It just feels lazy. Whatever excitement there was, it’s zapped. There are also moments that just don’t make sense. At one point John kills about 200 aliens with ease. Another moment, he’s captured by two aliens. The storytelling tends to drag its feet, and decide … “um, let’s go that way.” There’s not enough rhyme or reason.
I understand John Carter likes being on Mars (superpowers + hot, intelligent princess). I just don’t want to be there with him.
FINAL SCORE: 5/10