John Carter: movie review (+trailer)
Despite a good team behind the scenes, 'John Carter' only reminds audience members of the better movies it was inspired by.
I donâ€™t usually bring up a filmâ€™s budget in a review, but the reported $250 million price tag for â€śJohn Carterâ€ť gives one pause. I suppose one could argue that masterpieces have no price. Then again, â€śJohn Carterâ€ť is no masterpiece.
Based on sci-fi books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, primarily his â€śPrincess From Mars,â€ť the film is about a former Confederate soldier, Taylor Kitschâ€™s John Carter, who ends up on Mars and ends up embroiled in a galactic war that looks like a cross between â€śThe Empire Strikes Backâ€ť and â€śThe Fall of the Roman Empire.â€ť There are nine-foot-tall, tusked, four-armed creatures that bear a disconcerting resemblance to Jar Jar Binks. There are also a slew of human or humanoid meanies, some of them shape-shifting, and, for the love interest, the warrior princess Dejah (Lynn Collins), whose blue eyes make Paul Newmanâ€™s seem lackluster. It all plays tolerably well (in 2D, which is how I saw it, or, presumably, in 3D IMAX), but it keeps harkening back to much better movies, especially â€śPlanet of the Apesâ€ť and, well, â€śThe Empire Strikes Back.â€ť
Its director is Pixar whiz Andrew Stanton, who directed â€śFinding Nemoâ€ť and â€śWall-E,â€ť and the script lists the wonderful novelist Michael Chabon as one of its contributors. So why is everything so thuddingly fun-free? Maybe that budget scared people off. Grade: C+ (Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action.)