John Carter (2012) – Film Review
Director: Andrew Stanton
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Willem Dafoe, Samantha Morton
by Dan Berlinka
Sincere sci-fi fantasy hokum with obvious affection for its genre. Director Andrew Stanton is no stranger to other worlds, having previously taken us on adventures underwater and in the future with Pixar’s Finding Nemo and Wall-E, while co-writer Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize winning bestseller The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is steeped in love for pulp fiction and early comic books.
Indeed in some ways John Carter is a proto-Superman. Stanton seems to have no problem moving from pure CGI to live action and as you might expect, the effects are seamless, the landscapes and aliens fantastic.
The leads, handsomely humble Taylor Kitsch and intellectual warrior princess Lynn Collins, are suitably fetching. Fine British and US character actors support, both on screen and in voiceover, alongside a scene stealing “dog” to rival Uggie. Yes, the story is kinda ludicrous, though not much more so than Avatar. I doubt I’d have liked it less had it been half an hour or so shorter.
But nonetheless it’s refreshing to see a franchise movie attempt that is so free of cynicism. If you (and your kids) like your space yarns ripping, you could certainly do a lot worse.