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It is a big surprise to me that Hollywood waited so long to roll out a big production about the Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic character, John Carter. Maybe it is because science and technology have already laid waste to the central background of Burroughs’ story – Mars. Considering some of the retreads the Hollywood filmmakers have churned out in the past few years, I would have thought someone could have green lit this project well before now.
John Carter is a good old fashioned, science fiction, swashbuckling tale of good and evil. It is remarkable that Burroughs wrote these characters and stories a century ago. Along with Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs is a science fiction literary pioneer, displaying an imagination that was well before his time. I have not read much Burroughs but he is moving to the top of my read list. I am curious to know how much of the movie’s storyline follows Burroughs’ work.
Taylor Kitsch (Tim Riggins from one of my all time favorite television programs, Friday Night Lights) holds his own as the title character. Combine this with his lead role in the upcoming blockbuster, Battleship, Kitsch is making a play at becoming our next big action star. While he isn’t the smoothest actor in the world at delivering his lines, he is far ahead of Sly and the Governor at similar stages in their careers. He hasn’t displayed the key sense of humor shown by Will Smith and Mel Gibson, either. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some talent. I found him quite believable as John Carter and he pulled of the action sequences with aplomb.
Lynn Collins plays Dejah Thoris, the princess of Mars and she should thank the costume designers. She was stunning in her not quite revealing wardrobe. She looked at home as the heroine counterpart to Carter’s hero. Mark Strong was sufficiently evil as the villainous Matai Shang. Dominic West, Willem Defoe, and Thomas Haden Church add their talents to the film in various roles.
The storyline and action flow evenly and almost constantly throughout the film. The special effects were, for the most part, excellent. If I have one complaint, the scenes with Carter jumping were not as good as the other effects throughout the film. The fight scenes were action packed and the plot was easy to follow.
This film is appropriate for all but the youngest viewers. There is no nudity, cursing, or spurting blood. While younger children might be bored by the opening scenes, as the film provides the necessary background, but once Carter reaches Mars, the action and alien creatures will keep all viewers interested to the end.
I really enjoyed John Carter and I look forward to possible sequels. I tip my hand to Burroughs’ imagination and vision. If you like science fiction action flicks, you won’t be disappointed in this film. I think it was long overdue.