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Old March 9th, 2012, 07:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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John Carter...thoughts?

I read Edgar Rice Burrough's Martian Series when I was a kid and was blown away by the first three books...the rest were a mixed lot going from decent to out and out terrible. But those first three were insanely epic, immensely colorful, dripping with the French chivalric principal, and...ok fairly simplistic in terms of character and character motivation. Still however, they were wonderful stories that seeded the ground for productions like Star Wars and Avatar.

I knew going into the theater that the film would have a difficult time living up to my standards and the quality of the original novel, A Princess of Mars. So I wasn't expecting too much...

-and wasn't dissapointed, at the same time I wasn't impressed. It wasn't a bad flick but it also wasn't a very good one either.

Some of it I can understand...the irony is, though Jonh Carter of Mars was the originator of all space opera its movie debut follows a lot of big hitters and well trodden ground. It needed delicate handling and I'm afraid delicacy was entirely absent. The movie is full of trite cliches, among these, a hero who has given up because his wife and child have been killed, a la Josie Wales, an adorable, cartoony animal sidekick, and, oddly enough, a wedding crash at just the moment when the unwilling bride is about to say "I do."

It seemed to me, and I can't quite say how (not a professional critic after all), that a lot of the writing, especially the Arizona Territory sequence kind of fell flat. It just didn't seem to be how people would talk and once again there is that triteness. In one sequence Carter walks into a general store asking for more materials and the owner, That 70's Show Bob Pinciati, refuses. That whole exchange came off like more of the same old same old that we've seen a thousand times.

What I did like was how the writers explained or simply discarded so much of what Burroughs either A. never explained or B. was just plain weird. John Carter, in the books, is presented to the reader as a man who cannot remember a time when he wasn't a thirty something year old man and who seemingly does not age. It was a strange anomally that Burroughs inserted for some unknown purpose...unless it was to connect Carter to a distant, more chivalric time of swordplay over gunplay. Thankfully they left this element out.

Also they explained Carter's transportation to Mars. Burroughs has him go into a sacred cave (also in the movie) where he becomes paralyzed (never explained) then hears strange noises from the rear (never explained). The next instant he is upon Mars. The movie explained this in psuedo scientific fashion by virtue of a Thern (Priest of Mars) teleporting to the cave whereupon Carter shoots the fellow and takes his teleportation device(an amulet).

In the books, the Martians are telepathic, which obviously presents problems...after all how would the evil doers ever hope to plot and decieve when the hero can hear their innermost thoughts. To the best of my memory this was done as a method of helping/explaining John Carter's learning of the Barsoomian (Martian) language. In the movie, thankfully, this was discarded and replaced by a mystical language impartig drink that Carter receives from Sola (A "Green Martian" female who befriends Carter). Still kind of weird but better than plot killing telepathy.

All in all it was an ok flick, rife with banality, but ok still. At no point however, was it treated with the adroitness it should have been. All and all a huge flop. I waited years for this movie, fantasizing frequently about how I would do it if I had the talent, money, and means. Oh well, no one ever asked me for advice so I guess they knew more about than I did, all the same one would have thought that with a budget of 250 million dollars they could have managed something better.

This wasn't really intended as a review, just a little venting. And I thought there might be some fellow lovers of the Martian Series on here that might want a run down on the movie.

Descenting opinions are welcomed.
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Old March 9th, 2012, 08:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks for the review. I was divided whether I should go and be disappointed, or wait until the DVD and only think it was a letdown of a movie since I wasted $1.20 instead of a $10.
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Old March 10th, 2012, 02:02 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm with miller on this.

And also, every time I hear about this i think it's a new terminator movie.
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Old March 10th, 2012, 08:46 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martix_agent View Post

And also, every time I hear about this i think it's a new terminator movie.
GODS yes, so do I.
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Old March 10th, 2012, 02:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Caught the movie last night. Without knowing anything about the original story, just a bit about Edgar Rice Burroughs. It was a good story. They did a great job with character development and the plot was complex enough to keep you interested. There were scenes which you could say were ripped off other movies, however knowing John Carter preceded and inspired the ideas for what we know as super heroes, I didn't feel cheated. From what friends were saying, it's not a complete departure from the books.
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Old March 10th, 2012, 09:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Wolferam View Post
From what friends were saying, it's not a complete departure from the books.
No in subject matter it was really pretty close. I mean they hit all the basic plot lines and what they added helped for the most part. It was mostly just the tone I objected too, if that makes any sense (and so, so acting, and so, so writing)...to me the character John Carter didn't feel like the original. The Tharks calling Carter "Virginia" for cheap audience yuks annoyed me as well, as did Carter's Thark name "Dotar Thojat" being translated as Tars Tarkus' right arms instead of it being the product of the two sir names of warriors he defeated and killed in single combat. I'm aware I'm probably nit picking and I might have been a bit harsh. It was one of those movies that, to me, was almost good, had the potential of being great, but succeeded on neither stead.
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Old March 10th, 2012, 09:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by drudarque View Post
It was one of those movies that, to me, was almost good, had the potential of being great, but succeeded on neither stead.
Sadly, in this regards, it can join most of the movies based off a book made in the last...say, 30 years...
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