John Carter (2011)
Director: Andrew Stanton
Writers: Andrew Stanton (screenplay), Mark Andrews (screenplay), Michael Chabon (screenplay), and Edgar Rice Burroughs (story “A Princess of Mars”)
Stars: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins and Willem Dafoe
Yes yes, I know, it wasn’t the greatest action film ever. For anyone who hasn’t seen it John Carter is a little bit of everything. Indiana Jones meets Stargate meets Star Wars (Phantom Menace style rather than Return of the Jedi unfortunately) meets Thor meets Gladiator. Did Disney decide it wanted to make a movie that had every possible reference to a cult action film in the history of action film? Because I think they succeeded in doing that, but failed in providing a good script to do so. The storytelling did not seem to be the main focus of this film rather it tried to get all the special effects right, and in that it did pretty well. The creatures were brilliant, the landscape beautiful, and the action scenes were good enough, but I am sad to say that it just didn’t hold up in the storytelling department. Also why call a film “John Carter”, seriously championing the race to worst titled action film ever award. The acting by Taylor Kitsch was okay, but I just wasn’t sold by him, I’m sure they could’ve found a better fit for the John Carter role, although he may not have been my type – I just wanted him to get his hair off his face most of the time, but maybe that was a hair & make up error rather than the actor in particular. I wanted to be on his side but I was more going for the heroines of the film than any of the male characters. Lynn Collins’ Dejah Thoris character was much more compelling and I kind of wanted the film to revolve around her rather than John Carter.
In saying all that, I could go on about the other negatives, I have to say I quite enjoyed the ridiculousness of this film. It was fun and silly and exciting and I did eventually get drawn in by the characters and the story (mainly because I just gave up trying to wish it to be a better film and just started enjoying it) and I came out of the cinema feeling satisfied that it was just a fun film, as terrible as it was.
I know I can be quite generous with films and my critiques aren’t the most in depth but sometimes films are just meant to be enjoyed, as silly as they are. I mean if you look at the Star Wars franchise you can see that George Lucas may not be the best storyteller/script writer known to man, but gosh he makes exciting films that will forever be immortalised into film history as films that changed cinema forever. John Carter won’t ever be up on that same scale, but it’s nice sometimes just to watch a bad film for entertainment purposes and to get lost in the world that the filmmakers have tried to create.