Crazy To Miss: JOHN CARTER
Summary: Born in Virginia and a veteran of the Civil War, John Carter is an honorable and courageous man. However, the war let him dispirited and broken. Accidentally transported to the planet of Barsoom, he soon finds his strength and jumping abilities greatly amplified. He must use these newfound powers to survive the centuries-old war between the native inhabitants and save this dying world. (Disney)…
CRITICS CONSENSUS: CRAZY TO MISS (BARELY)
Does John Carter get the job done for the weekend action audience? Yes, I suppose it does. The massive city on legs that stomps across the landscape is well-done. The Tharks are ingenious, although I’m not sure why they need tusks. Lynn Collins makes a terrific heroine.
The result is an entertaining diversion but it lacks the magnificence one desires in the opening chapter of a would-be franchise.
Nothing in John Carter really works, since everything in the movie has been done so many times before, and so much better.
John Carter bites off more than even Woola can chew, but it’s built on something rare: wonder instead of Hollywood cynicism.
The opening to John Carter is a dud, a battle between airships made of woven bamboo, bursting into computer-generated flame over a sandy terrain. There’s nothing to see, nothing to think about, nothing to care about, and nothing to feel, just emptiness. The emptiness is never filled over the course of 132 long, barren minutes.
Old-school “Gosh, wow!” sense-of-wonder filmmaking is in short supply in these anxious days, and John Carter (of Mars!) left me with my disbelief in suspended animation and once or twice with goosebumps dotting my arms. And that’s enough for me.
Against the odds, John Carter is itself pretty amazing – an epic pulp saga that slowly rises to the level of its best imitations and wins you over by degrees.
This new Disney film, marked by myriad lapses and marketing follies, bears the woefully familiar earmarks of a big studio production that was pulled and hauled every which way until it lost all shape and flavor.
That’s kind of the aesthetic that Stanton is going for: over-the-top pulp. But there’s something generic about the digitally rendered Martians, and there’s a corniness to the dialogue that keeps the audience from any kind of emotional attachment to the Tharks and Zodangans and their ilk.
Though the project, based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel “A Princess of Mars,” is ambitious, it’s also bloated, dreary and humorless.
Epically fantastic would be a welcome change, although epically awful would at least keep the symmetry. Alas, epically bland will have to do.
It is a potpourri of arcane and familiar genres. “Mash-up” doesn’t begin to capture this hectic hybrid; it’s more like a paintball fight. Messy and chaotic, in other words, but also colorful and kind of fun.
Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
Director Andrew Stanton’s Disney extravaganza is a rather charming pastiche.
John Carter isn’t much – or rather, it’s too much and not enough in weird, clumpy combinations – but it is a curious sort of blur.
If you’re willing to suspend not just disbelief but also all considerations of logic and intelligence and narrative coherence, it’s also a rip-roaring, fun adventure, fatefully balanced between high camp and boyish seriousness at almost every second.
Rather than trying to overwhelm viewers by overloading the senses, John Carter’s effects strive to create something new using as their foundation a book that’s fired imaginations for the past century.
Even Strong’s best efforts can’t save John Carter from collapsing in on itself like a dead star.
The result is that John Carter plays like an alternate, inferior version of “Avatar”…Plus fleeting hints of John Ford’s “The Searchers” – for this is also a Western.
What director Andrew Stanton has brought forth from Burroughs’ limited, hoary source material is actually kind of fun.
John Carter manages to be a ridiculous amount of fun, even if you are immune to the charms of Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) running around in what amounts to a stylish loincloth.
John Carter is too wickedly strange not to recommend. Movies this expensive usually play it much safer.
Aside from a few inspired vistas and alien life-forms (the Road Runner–fast red planet dog Woola is sure to sell a bazillion action figures), John Carter is as deadly dull as its basso-voiced, beefcake slab of a star, Taylor Kitsch.
That John Carter is so hit and miss, and miss, and miss is unfortunate on any number of levels.
Most annoying is John Carter’s scarcity of action. This much buck should buy more bang.
Spirit counts for something too, and John Carter has plenty of that, in addition to the requisite dashes of wit.
It’s all too much, and it’s too hard to follow. Less is more, and this movie proves it.
This middle section, in which both Carter and the audience get a crash course in the politics, history, and theology of the Red Planet, is the movie at its most imaginative and most fun.
Stanton has built a fantastic world, but the action is unmemorable. Still, just about every sci-fi/fantasy/superhero adventure you ever loved is in here somewhere.
The film’s biggest (and saddest) crime is malaise – it’s not that John Carter doesn’t care about what it’s doing, it just can’t make us care, even though the magnitude of every event, conflict and emotion is as melodramatic as its Victorian roots.
As film theorist Siegfried Kracauer once wrote, to paraphrase, art often blooms in the most hostile soil. No such luck here.
Unlike Stanton’s memorable animation features, this is surprisingly devoid of humor or winning characterization, though the special effects are fantastic.
Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
Stanton has been given the resources to create an expansive, expensive world, but lacks the instincts to direct live-action, a limitation that shows most in the performances. Bare of chest and fair of feature, Kitsch doesn’t exhibit enough charisma to carry a project of this scale.
Source : MetaCritic
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Editor in chief at www.crazymoviepeople.com . . . Probably need to work on getting a life.