Directed By Andrew Stanton
John Carter is a Disney film and debut live action film from Pixar director Andrew Stanton, based on a space opera magazine serial A Princess Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (the film's narrator) created 100 years ago this year.
The story follows a confederate soldier turned prospector who finds an ancient magic portal while fleeing from a battle between U.S. army soldiers and Apache, and is transported to Mars and immediately inducted into the wars and escapades of four armed noble savage Green Martians and tanned henna tattooed but otherwise human and technologically advanced Red Martians.
On Mars or as it's known to natives Barsoom, Carter’s body is super-humanly strong and capable of enormous leaps due to the difference in gravity, and as soon as he can walk he’s enslaved by the Green skins as a pet who can jump.
But before this story of a Confederate soldier enslaved by tribesmen, gets too interesting, princesses are literally falling out of the sky, with promises of free planetary energy if only they can be saved from marrying the warlord in the next kingdom over.
Cowboys And Aliens failed at doing just what John Carter sets out too, because it took itself too seriously.
The only time director Andrew Stanton approaches the grandious is when Carter takes on an army of Green Skins while flashing back to the discovery of his wife and child’s bodies in their ruined house.
The John Williams-ish swashbuckling music is replaced with dramatic intense strings in this scene which flashes between green limbs being hacked to pieces and Carter planting a cross in the ground in slow motion.
Warrior and casualty of war experienced at once, a justification of rage and a way for filmmakers to avoid accusations of carelessly wallowing in bloodshed.
The film compresses its sanctimony into one scene, which despite itself proves emotionally effective a kernal sized island of meaning, in a sea of thrilling but otherwise typical George Lucas-ish special effects driven action set pieces that comprise the rest of the film.
John Carter’s wish fulfillment and dream logic recalls classic fantasy like Alice Wonderland, Chronicles Of Narnia, and The Wizard Of Oz, especially in its framing narratives of an average person sent to a fantastic place resembling an inverted version of the world they left behind.
The film is strongest when it plays to its leaping animated rhythms, and grand alien vistas, which it has in no short supply.
If your not a fan of heroic adventure stories then this will not appeal to you, but if you enjoyed Avatar, Dune, Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars there’s no intellectual or aesthetic reason not to enjoy John Carter.
If you don't care for those films, then don't watch John Carter, you'll find nothing new, but if your looking for an immersive epic no-brainer than 8 bucks to Antebellum Mars is worth the trip.- Joe