I am a man of obsessions. For months, a movie I hadn't seen was the
thing. Not Peter Jackson's THE HOBBIT, not Joss Whedon's THE AVENGERS,
not even the upcoming Sam Mendes directed James Bond movie SKYFALL
(which I'm excited about but it hasn't really sunk its hooks into me
No, it was Andrew Stanton's JOHN CARTER.
My excitement was not the universal feeling. Disney advertising had dropped the ball and the trailers seemed lackluster to most. Yet something within directed me toward it like a compass points to True North. There was something special about it, something just out of view in the trailers that wouldn't let me go. I trust my obsessions, always, but at some point I got to feeling a bit exhausted and just wanted to know if I was right or maybe a total loon.
I've now been to two advance screenings of JOHN CARTER.
And? Holy Living Thark! The bar on science fiction and fantasy movies has Officially Been Raised.
JOHN CARTER is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars --a novel first published a century ago. I expected to come out of the movie with my head full of comparisons to all the things Burroughs' imagination inspired: STAR WARS, AVATAR, FLASH GORDON, etc. Understandably so, as I'm much more familiar with all of them. That didn't happen. Put simply, if STAR WARS is a kids' science fiction movie franchise that adults enjoy (and it is), then JOHN CARTER is an adult science fiction movie that kids will enjoy.
CARTER is such an immersing experience. Every moment reveals something new about Mars; about the exotic alien races and cultures that call it home, or about their individual characters. James Cameron's AVATAR showed us a world we've never seen before and it was wondrous to behold, but Andrew Stanton's JOHN CARTER is a movie so rich with detail that it left me feeling like I had been somewhere. JOHN CARTER feels like nothing so much than as if David Lean had made a science fiction epic of love and war set on Mars.
This movie has a confidence to it you won't be expecting. It's unafraid to linger over the characters, and give them time to breathe and reveal themselves. My favorite decade for movies is the 1960s, and JOHN CARTER has some of the epic adventure movies of that time running through it like a seam of gold. There's a bit of LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in there as I alluded to before, and perhaps a touch of ZULU and SPARTACUS is mixed in with the Martian airships and predator cities. Old fashioned storytelling magic and 21st century movie sorcery have combined into a film that's a pulp sci-fi masterpiece.
To the ERB faithful: please relax. Yes, there are changes from the novel; no, they are not the arbitrary changes made in inferior movie adaptations where the filmmaker just wants to do his/her own ideas. Every change is made to tell Burroughs' story or reveal some aspect of Burroughs' characters in a way more befitting a movie instead of a novel.
Going into this, I had absurdly high expectations. A friend of mine told me he was worried the movie wouldn't live up to them and that frankly I was starting to sound a little crazy. Well, the movie went and exceeded my expectations. I love it, and give it a 10/10. I'm definitely going to see it at least six times in the theater, and will finally buy a Blu-Ray player just to watch it at home.
I realize this review sounds over the top. That's just how excited I am about the movie. Perhaps in a previous life I was an ancient Greek by the name of Hyperboles? Anyway, see the movie. I guarantee that even if you don't like it as much as I did, you'll see where I was coming from with this gushing review.
Action / Adventure / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Action / Adventure / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
John Carter, a Civil War veteran, who in 1868 was trying to live a normal life, is "asked" by the Army to join, but he refuses so he is locked up. He escapes, and is pursued. Eventually they run into some Indians, and there's a gunfight. Carter seeks refuge in a cave. While there, he encounters someone who is holding some kind of medallion. When Carter touches it, he finds himself in a place where he can leap incredible heights, among other things. He later encounters beings he has never seen before. He meets a woman who helps him to discover that he is on Mars, and he learns there's some kind of unrest going on.
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May 19, 2012 at 01:54 AM