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Monday, March 19, 2012

[6.50/10] John Carter [3D] (2012)


John Carter [3D] (2012)

Brief review: The director of "WALL-E" and "Finding Nemo", Andrew Stanton, makes his live-action debut with "John Carter" - an uneven, yet fairly effective sci-fi adventure that has as many flaws as virtues. While the first half of the film is too dragged out and full of boring moments, the second half is brisker and more entertaining to watch, and the cleverly-executed ending also makes up for the film's earlier shortcomings. The script isn't great, but it has nice touches of wit that compensate for the many pacing issues. Aside from the unnecessary 3D post conversion, that adds nothing to the visuals, "John Carter" is technically masterful on every other level. Set on Mars, but actually shot in Utah, the movie impresses mostly with its expansive scenery that consists of red rocky barren wilderness and dusty pink sky, flawless and flashy special effects, and glorious sets that make it a pure feast for the eyes. In terms of action though, "John Carter" is hardly spectacular. For a two-hour movie that consider itself epic, it doesn't offer enough action to deliver on its promise, and the action scenes themselves, while exciting and well-shot, are way too short. Taylor Kitsch turns in a memorable performance as the title character, Lynn Collins is gorgeous and convincing enough as Dejah, and the supporting cast does a pretty good job, with Mark Strong being the best of the bunch as the enigmatic villain Matai Shang.

Overall summary: It's far from epic, and it suffers from a rather dull first half, but "John Carter" is nevertheless a well-shot and visually-stunning sci-fi action flick that pleases with first-rate special effects, satisfactory performances and some thrilling, yet brief, action sequences.

22 comments:

Richard said...

My wife went to see the movie today. I'll have to see what she thinks.

George Beremov (Nebular) said...

Richard, I hope she enjoyed it. :) For me it was a bit of a mixed back, but still perfectly watchable, mainly due to the stunning visuals.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I liked it a lot more. Thought it was faithful to the original story and the pacing worked for me. Shame there won't be another one.
Did catch Hugo (and reviewed it today) - amazing film!

George Beremov (Nebular) said...

Alex, yeah I know you did. The first half was way too sluggish for me, and the second had some pacing problems as well. I'm not familiar with the original story, so I couldn't compare it. Visually, it was amazing though.

I know, I read your review half an hour ago and left a comment. Glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Richard said...

My wife agrees totally with you, Nebular.

George Beremov (Nebular) said...

Really? Yay! I'm glad to hear it. Send her my regards. :)

Melissa Bradley said...

Well you already know this is one of my picks for best of 2011. :) I thought the pacing was spot on, extremely faithful to the original stories. I can totally see why the Barsoom tales still remain popular after 100 years. Hopefully there will be more. Disney was obviously not the right fit for this kind of story. I did get your email, hon and will respond as soon as I can. Hugs!

George Beremov (Nebular) said...

One of your picks for best of 2011? Mel, this was released a couple of weeks ago, it's a 2012 movie! :)
I disagree about the pacing. It dragged a bit here and there and the first half was quite tedious and lacking in energy.
Since you loved it, why do think Disney wasn't right fit for the story? I don't get it. :)

Melissa Bradley said...

LMAO I really know how mistype don't I? This film flowed exactly like the stories in a LOTR/Tolkien manner with an Edwardian edge. It made perfect sense to me, every frame. :)

Disney was not right for this because they completely and utterly mishandled the entire marketing strategy. The posters were dumb, there was almost no press junket, they didn't have a line of toys or other gimmicks at the ready. Plus they over-spent on unnecessary 3D f/x. Disney blew it big time. This would have been a much better fit with Paramount or Fox or New Line. It's clear someone dropped the ball with this film and it wasn't the director or the actors.

Melissa Bradley said...

In spite of our difference of opinion, I do think you've written a thoughtful and interesting review. I forgot to mention that earlier in my typing and making JC my best of 2011. LOL What a dork I am!

Hugs!

Maynard Morrissey said...

Not sure if I'll ever watch this. The trailers look interesting but this just isn't my type of movie. Looks a bit like Star Wars in the desert :)

btw, how do you like the Star Wars movies?

George Beremov (Nebular) said...

Mel, you hardly ever mistype, so it's not a big deal. ;)

Good point, and maybe you're right. It could have been a lot more successful in the box office if it was produced by some of the film companies you mentioned above.

I judge the film by itself, and for me, it just wasn't that great. I thought the narrative was a bit uneven, but in the end it all came together rather nicely.

George Beremov (Nebular) said...

Thank you, sweetheart. My reviews are more informative than analyzing, but that's because I don't want to spoil anything. You're not a dork, you're amazing! :)

George Beremov (Nebular) said...

Maynard, I'm a sucker for good fantasy flicks, but that one just wasn't as spectacular as I expected it to be. I even liked Prince of Persia better than this one.

I have a love/hate relationship with the Star Wars Movies. I like the old 3 episodes quite a lot, but not really a fan of the new ones. Overall, I prefer fantasy movies over sci-fi ones. :)

farawayeyes said...

Saw it last night and have to say I loved it. I get what you're saying about the first half but maybe because it was so visually stunning, I didn't let it bother me. The scene at the 'goosenecks on the San Juan River' (a place that I have been to) was spectacular.

The 'cleverly executed ending' endeared this movie to me and made up for a lot of other flaws.

George Beremov (Nebular) said...

farawayeyes, sadly I didn't like it as much as I expected to, but still enjoyed it. For me it was lacking in the action department, but I couldn't fault it visuals-wise.
The ending worked for me. Yes, this is exactly what I said in my review. It was so satisfying I easily forgot its earlier flaws. :)

The Film Connoisseur said...

Enjoyed this one every step of the way, technically speaking, everything about it says "cutting edge" and state of the art. I enjoyed the story, the adventure, the world they created. Too bad a crappy marketing campaign didnt help this one make as much money as it should have. The posters sucked ass...the title change was a bad idea...it's as if they didnt want people to see this one! But whatever, I hope audiences will discover it.

Maynard Morrissey said...

Haha, same here. The old ones are really cool. I even saw all 3 of them in theater when they got re-released in the 90s.

However, the new episodes... well, I only watched Episode 1 and it was so incredibly disappointing, I still haven't watched 2 & 3 yet - and I doubt that I ever will.

George Beremov (Nebular) said...

The Film Connoisseur, yes the poor marketing campaign failed it big time at the box offices. It's a pretty decent flick, but I wasn't that blown away by it. Glad you enjoyed it that much! :)

George Beremov (Nebular) said...

Maynard, the old ones are timeless classics. Did you watch the 3D version of the original movie in theaters. I didn't, because I'm not the biggest fan, but have no regrets.

Maynard Morrissey said...

nope. I'm a big 3D fan but there was no point in watching Star Wars in 3D. I'm also not interested in watching 'new' 3D versions of old movies, just like the upcoming Titanic 3D or Jurassic Park 3D.

George Beremov (Nebular) said...

Maynard, me neither. However, I was kind of interested n seeing Beauy and the Beast in 3D, because it's my all time favorite Disney animation.

Titanic - never! Jurassic Park - why not? ;)