This morning I woke up super early to catch a free screening of John Carter. Some people in the office were very skeptical about it after reading negative reviews… strangely enough, though, the early reviews for the film were actually glowing and wonderful. So I stopped myself from reading reviews because, heh. Who needs ’em anyway? If you want to judge a movie, you go watch it yourself and make up your own mind.
I’ve also been hearing a lot of Star Wars comparisons, which went straight past my head because even though I’ve watched the original trilogy and liked them enough, I’m not really a major fan of the whole franchise. Then I read that it wasStar Wars that borrowed the ideas from Edgar Rice Burroughs to build up its universe instead so it was actually the other way around?
It’s actually a good movie. I really like the whole exotic feeling of the movie; it’s what I would call a real sci-fi movie. On a geeky scale of 1 to 10, this is probably an 11. It’s the kind of movie that would get the general audience furrow their eyebrows because they’d probably think, “These characters have really weird names” or “I don’t understand a word these aliens are saying!” And I’m glad the team of writers – Andrew Stanton (also director), Mark Andrews and novelist Michael Chabon – didn’t tone it down. Present-day cinemagoers, I think, are a lot more accepting of the fantasy/sci-fi genre but I do have to wonder just how geeky can you get before people get intimidated by it. I think John Carter will probably be too geeky for the general public – like I said, it’s over-the-top geeky – but this is the kind of stuff I really love to see in the cinema so I was really happy to see that the filmmakers went all the way in bringing this ‘fantasy land’ to life.
Speaking of the term ‘exotic’, I have to say that there’s probably implied racism in the movie or whatever… It seemed like there was but my brain isn’t advanced enough to take it seriously. So, yeah. I’ll look into that later but right now? It’sthe weekend. My brain normally just short-circuits and takes a really long rest on weekends so I can’t really be bothered to say anything about it at the moment.
Anyway, the theme of a civil war between the humanoid races of Mars, or rather Barsoom, was quite intriguing. I wish they’d gone deeper into the politics of things, instead of just showing the really flashy battle scenes, but that probably would’ve made the movie longer than it already was. In saying that, my favorite race in Barsoom is the Green Martians (the Tharks). They provided most of the moving, emotional moments in the film and most of the comedy. They were by far more interesting than anyone who looked like humans in this movie.
Another thing that I wished they’d shown more in depth was the anatomy of the battles. There are some really cool action sequences there but things either went too fast and therefore became too blurry for me to follow or it was glossed over in typical Disney-esque manner so as to not traumatize the family audiences. I’m not into blood, gore and violence either but for a film that must have spent a lot of time and money on the set pieces, it didn’t flesh them out in a way that I – as an audience – could enjoy. (Besides, everyone has literal blue bloods in Barsoom. It’s not as scary as red human blood so, yeah, for once, I didn’t mind seeing a bit more of it.)
The pace is uneven and this makes the movie’s ride a little bumpy. Some scenes were draggy and other scenes were too short (problems with the editing, I say). But there are some really great scenes and sequences there that would wow you and make you laugh. The special effects are also quite dazzling. I disagree with anyone who claimed this was a stupid movie; it’s not stupid. It may look shallow and silly because Taylor Kitsch and Lynn Collins and the rest of the cast dressed up in funny-looking costumes but it’s really not. There’s a real story about friendship, duty, honor and love there. It has some touching moments and some harrowing moments that would keep you on the edge of your seats. Yes, it’s flawed and it’s Disney but, seriously, it’s not stupid at all. Granted, the movie is not for everyone – just like Edgar Rice Burroughs stories are not for everyone (I don’t even like his Tarzan stories). But don’t write off this movie just because it’s harder to understand than regular movies.
And while we’re on the subject of Edgar Rice Burroughs, I really had good fun seeing his inclusion in the movie. He was only there for a short while but his role is very vital and for some reason I am just terribly chuffed to see him become a part of the story.
Also, I may just start calling Earth “Jasoom” now. As in, “What on Jasoom is going on here?!”