Let me begin by saying this film was a flop.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let me say that despite being a flop, I liked it. For four reasons.
1. The story predates the giants of science fiction.
When you say "science fiction", the first thing that comes to the minds of ordinary Americans would be Star Trek. For ordinary Brits, it would be Doctor Who. For hardcore sci-fi geeks, it would be Dune.
To put things into perspective, Star Trek came out in 1966, Doctor Who came out in 1963, and Dune came out in 1965. A Princess of Mars, from which this movie is adapted from, came out in 1912. And for a story as old as that, it's actually pretty good, and will still hold up in this day and age as a decent work of science fiction.
2. The directing was pretty good.
This film was directed by Andrew Stanton. Now that name may not be familiar in the world of live-action movies, because this is in fact Stanton's first live-action film. But Stanton has been on the director's chair in three computer-animated flicks so far. He's co-directed A Bug's Life, and directed Finding Nemo and WALL-E. And since this film is more than 50% CG anyway, he's practically the perfect choice.
3. The CGI was pretty good.
Except for two things. First, the tusks on the green aliens. If those tusks are used by the males to compete with other males over dominance, then why do the females have them? Second, the dog is really cute and all, but must he really look like a turd?
4. It's got great actors.
No, I'm not talking about Taylor Kitsch. Okay, so I'll just be dropping names here. Mark Strong plays the alien Matai Shang (sorry, everyone in this flick except John Carter is an alien). Brian Cranston plays the Confederate soldier Powell. Willem Dafoe and Polly Walker lend their voices as those big green aliens Tars Tarkas and Sarkoja. Ciarán Hinds plays Tardos Mors. James Purefoy plays his right-hand man Kantos Kan. Wait, I think I've seen this type of Hinds-Purefoy tandem before. Never mind.
And lastly, Lynn Collins, the actress who plays the princess Dejah Thoris, is pretty hot.
Here are a few lessons you can take home after watching this film. First, do not judge a film by its cast. Second, do not judge a film by its CGI budget. And third, do not judge a film by how much it makes at the box office.
John Carter. USA. 2012.
Rating: Six and a half out of ten.
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