The Six Martian Mistakes of John Carter

Posted by Joe Strike on Mar 9, 2012 in Cinema |

John Carter

And now, in the tradition of Ishtar, Waterworld, Pluto Nash and so many other over-inflated, big budget Hollywood turkeys comes…John Carter. John Carter completely lives up/down to its advance thumbs-down buzz: noisy, uninvolving, unlikeable characters, every cliché in the book strung together like pearls on a necklace – and poorly performed. Full disclosure: I only was able to sit through the first half hour of this thing before bailing, so maybe it got better after I left – but I doubt it.

John Carter

First mistake: beginning with an extended voice-over setting up the film’s premise. Anytime this happens it’s because the film itself is incapable of telling its story.

Second mistake: following up with a major battle between cgi-photorealistic aliens and medieval combat-garbed humans on open-decked flying warships; who’s who, why is this happening and why are we watching this? Remember the very first shot of the very first (and not episode 1, God forbid) Star Wars? The first thing you see after an opening text crawling up to the stars, disregard previous paragraph is a tiny spacecraft pursued by a behemoth of a warship… you didn’t need a narrator to tell the good guys and bad guys apart.

John Carter

Third mistake: humans speaking in portentous, hammy, oh-so-serious tone and cadence (not to mention cliché.) If this film hasn’t sent you into hysterics yet, these characters will.

Fourth mistake: Adapting Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter on Mars, starring a pulp hero who never made a Tarzan-level splash. You could get away with this kind of overblown adventure story back in the (very) early 20th century, but 90 or so years later, it is to laugh.

Fifth mistake; Tinting the Utah-standing-in-for-Mars landscapes a puke-y shade of yellow/brown, pretty much the color comics and cartoons use to represent stinky smells. (What happened to the red planet Mars?)

Sixth and final mistake: John Carter acting like a clueless, big-time asshole; we’re supposed to like this guy? He’s played by an actor named Taylor Kitsch; that’s way too easy, I’m not going anywhere near it…

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