Sunday, March 25, 2012

"John Carter" Review

Just back from taking myself to an 11:35 of "John Carter" (finally!). Thoroughly entertaining! Departs radically from the source material, but in ways that make it a far better film than a more literal treatment would have yielded. Preserves the sweeping spirit of Burroughs' epic, though.

Visually stunning (3D is well-utilized, and worth the extra scratch for the ticket), with action and humor aplenty, and fine work by supporting actors (the cast of HBO's "Rome" was well-represented, and it's always a pleasure to see Bryan Cranston, however briefly). Willem Dafoe's gruff but soulful Tars Tarkas was spot-on, and Lynn Collins' Dejah Thoris was comprehensively appealing. Strong, intelligent, principled, but vulnerable when she judges that she can afford to be. The actress' training and skill are no less thrillingly on display as are her more accidental attributes (though I'm not above saying that these were *devastating!*). Which is to say, you fall in love with her as quickly and hopelessly as does Carter himself. Taylor Kitsch as Carter brought the courtly Southern cavalryman's feisty but courteous steel to the role, but with far more of a broken heart than Burroughs' rather exuberantly blood-lusty protagonist. Not too much of a purist to concede that this makes him a far more sympathetic character.

The fact that it is tanking at the box office, while the appalling "Lorax" continues to rake in the bank is a nauseating spectacle indeed. So, take yourself to the theater while you have a chance, and rest assured of time (and money) well-spent!


Dan O. said...

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 didn't make back any of its 250 million dollar budget, mainly because the studio did a terrible job with marketing this thing in the first place.

Noocyte said...

Thanks, Dan O. I'd finally got round to reading the first four books this past Fall, and was tickled at the synchronicity when I found that this film was in the works. Then I was worried, for there is a LOT to mess up in those books. Color me pleasantly surprised!

Yah, I'm quite worried that the box office returns on this have been so disappointing (and agree that the marketing was woefully mishandled). I can only hope that international and video numbers support the continuation of the story; there's much yet to see!

Anyway, thanks for stopping by, and gratz on the cool review site you've got there.