Movie Review – John Carter

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As always, I am looking for a good fantasy movie. A blockbuster movie generally means more action and more special effects, and sometimes even a good story line. As you may or may not know, John Carter the movie is based on a series of stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs first published in 1912. (By the way, Edgar Rice Burroughs is the same author who wrote the Tarzan series.) You can read more about the Barsoon series of John Carter on Wikipedia and purchase an inexpensive ebook on Amazon.

Before critiquing the movie, I must let you know that I have not yet read the Barsoom series books. So my observation of the movie is based solely on the story and characters portrayed in this Disney film. As with most movies based on books, the book is likely to be a little different and have a lot more complex storyline.

The movie John Carter starts out a little too slow for me. I find myself getting a little bored as John Carter learns his powers on Barsoom (Mars) and meets the aliens. The graphics are good but the action doesn’t really pick up until towards the end. In the movie, he teams up with a beautiful warrior princess named Dejah to fight her enemy, Sab Than. Sab Than is an evil warlord who wants to rule all of Barsoom. But his rulership could mean the end of Barsoom. Unknown to John Carter and Dejah, Sab Than is being helped by mysterious beings called Therns. These beings cannot be seen by anyone else unless they want to be seen.

Not surprisingly, the princess and John Carter find themselves falling in love with one another. However, the love interest is not believable. It is not felt. All I see on the screen are two pretty people flirting. It is not as believable of a love connection as with Will and Elizabeth in Pirates of the Caribbean or with Jake Sully and Neytiri in Avatar. Overall, I find this fake love interest between John Carter and the princess very distracting and annoying.

The purpose of the Therns remains a mystery to me. It is obvious he has something to do with John Carter ending up on Mars (Barsoom) and he is definitely supporting Sab Than in conquering Barsoom. One of the Therns explains his interference in the affairs of Barsoom, but the explanation is weak and a plausible motivation escapes me. I can’t wait to read the book to see if this alien has a more reasonable explanation or if he was a complete fabrication from Disney.

I will have to say that the Therns played a key purpose in closing the movie at the end. The twist was perfectly clever. In summary, the beginning of the movie was slow but okay, the middle to end was better. Although I am not fond of the love interest, I did like the movie and will probably add it to my movie collection when it comes out on video.

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