Edit: Currently re-evaluating this film. Check back for full post.
Movie: John Carter (2012)
Have you ever heard of John Carter? Apparently, it was a big thing back in the day, and director Andrew Stanton wants to educate us on why that is. Does he succeed? No, not really, but he gives it his best. It’s all pretty standard sci-fi/fantasy epic-ness, and I think the biggest problem is in the costumes. I honestly believe if the Princess of Mars had worn a more tasteful dress, I would have enjoyed it a good deal more.
John Carter is a Civil War veteran and on a treasure hunt. He finds a cave of gold with a strange man inside, and a strange medallion transports him to a world full of aliens, complicated political machinations and a hot chick. He gets thrown into the mix and shapes the destiny of an entire planet! Yes, it is all very epic, and I think that may be part of the problem.
It took me a while to get to grips with this movie. It certainly charmed me. I liked the idea, I liked the characters, and I really liked the visuals. The real problem is scope. I did like the epic-ness for it reminded me of a time when everything was epic and campy. It’s a Flash Gordon for the new millennium, updated with great CGI. Unfortunately, all this scope means us back on Earth struggle to keep up with the complicated plot on Mars. I think I managed to follow it somewhat, but then I’m perfectly at ease with movies and books that introduce a multitude of characters quickly. Anyone who’s read Game of Thrones knows what I’m talking about. The movie isn’t made for me, however, and kids these days don’t have the attention span to really understand. In the end, though, I guess it doesn’t much matter if you just want to watch aliens fight for a couple of hours.
My biggest eye roll came from the costumes (see picture above). It really annoyed me, because we know she’s hot, and we know aliens can have a strange sense of modesty, but making the costumes so ugly as to distract from everything else on screen is inexcusable. If she had been more Princess Leia (who’s hotness didn’t distract – too much – from the awesomeness of the movie) and less Vegas stripper, then several of the movie’s key scenes would have been saved.
As it stands,John Carter is a fairly good sci-fi epic. I broke one of my cardinal rules after I watched this and saw another person’s review before I wrote my own. The guys over at Half In the Bag really said it best: it’s a movie that won’t piss you off.
Dice roll: 4