Friday, March 9, 2012

John Carter Movie Review

On March 2nd I was invited by Disney Vacation Club (DVC) to have a sneak preview of Disney’s John Carter. The screening was held at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the Premier Theatre. I was excited to see what has been heralded as the first big blockbuster movie of the year. It has a lot going for it with great writer/director Andrew Stanton, who won two Oscars for his work on Wall-E and Finding Nemo. The visual effects were some of the best possible and were used to the fullest. The film is visually stunning. But that is where my fascination with this film stops and I’ll tell you why.
The opening act of the film to me left more questions than answers. I’m usually on top of things quickly with a movie but I didn’t feel a connection with the character. I felt more like it was an M. Night Shamalon movie just holding out for the twist. I’ve read the Edward Rice Burrows Book The Princess of Mars so I am familiar with the story and I still didn’t feel like I felt a strong connection to John Carter. Possibly, it could be because the film tried to interject humor where it didn’t necessarily need to be. I think in my mind I was looking more for an epic to the tune of Spartacus and it didn’t deliver to my expectations.

The plot is a mix of more than just The Princess of Mars and I am not a fan of mixing stories if you are basing it on a book series because now a follow-up is going to be difficult. The story is jumpy and lacks a clear direction in parts. While it doesn’t lack in special effects and large screens with thrills and action, I was frequently confused as to the incoherent story combined with the longest wedding sequence in history.

The Martians themselves are perfectly as described in the book and lived up to everything I hoped for, 15 feet tall 4 arms, even the men were darker than the women. The CGI for the Martians, planets and the cities was great, no problems with the special effects. Also the 3D isn’t worth it as with so many movies these days. I don’t understand why there is so much emphasis placed on 3D, it gives me a headache. As far as the story, I should keep in mind that this was a story written 100 years ago so science wasn’t necessarily the front focus like most science fiction I grew up with where it would be a blend of science and fantasy.

However the best I can give this movie is a rental. I wouldn’t waste my money on seeing this one in the theater unless you are only going into it to see the special effects and you’ve been warned.

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