John Carter, is a science fiction adventure flick about an ex-cavalry man during the American Civil War who finds himself on the planet Mars. Once there, it quickly becomes apparent a battle is taking place between different factions of human and alien who live there.
During his quest to return home to Earth, some of the evil he witnesses forces John to question his honour, and whether he can really turn his back on the inevitable victims of this new conflict.
The upper-hand John Carter appears to have is a lack of density in his bones, meaning he can leap great distances and heights, making him almost super-human. He seems to have acquired incredible physical strength too, but is depicted on earth as being a natural ‘fighter’. It is these qualities that give him an edge in this new world, that will try to turn him from being simply an anti-hero into something much more.
There are a couple of problems that film goers may have with John Carter. One is that it appears to borrow heavily themes or sequences that we’ve seen in many other blockbusters, however it is important to remember this concept was realised 100 years ago, penned in 1912 by writer Edgar Rice Burroughs. So all you Star Wars fans can pipe down now.
The other issue is that Edgar Rice Burroughs also wrote Tarzan which the protagonist and man of the moment Taylor Kitsch appears to resemble throughout the film. I say this because at least initially, his acting has a lot to answer for.
It improves as the film goes on, and to be honest the same can be said of Lynn Collins, who plays Princess Dejah. As their relationship is allowed to develop their acting follows suit, and they can be forgiven because of the extensive amount of CGI they are working with, but also perhaps because they’re so easy on the eye.
Directed by Andrew Stanton, the man behind Wall-E, Finding Nemo and A Bug’s Life, it is no surprise that he again offers here a truly wonderful aesthetic experience. There isn’t much room for character development owing to the many action sequences brilliantly choreographed and executed throughout the film, and it seems like a few too many elements were introduced over the 2 hours, to flesh them all out properly.
However, the movie is very charming in places, with regular injections of humour to break up the slow pacing through the middle section of the film.
There are also some great additional supporting performances from Mark Strong, Dominic West, Willem Dafoe and Samantha Morton, making up a pretty solid cast who help bring things back onto course.
John Carter is an ambitious film that is a pleasure to watch, overcoming its flaws with an intelligent take on a complex story, one that hopefully fans of the original story and newcomers alike will be happy with.
John Carter is on general release in the UK from Friday 10th March