Saturday, March 10, 2012

John Carter

Though I am not a science fiction fan, I will admit that it does have its appeals. When I heard about John Carter, at first I will admit, I was skeptical, due to the fact it looked like an Avatar rip-off. However, that may not be the case with this movie, though it does bear a striking resemblance to several other movies that I have seen.

Our story begins with Edgar inheriting his uncle's, John Carter, journal that was left to him after Carter's death. The journal then explains in great detail about John's adventures about a mysterious world and how he got there. He was a confederate soldier in 1861, and got held hostage by the Union to fight for them, and though he refuses, he does try to make peace. While negotiations go wrong, he then finds a cave of gold, and there a man just pops out of nowhere, and John shoots him, and when he grabs the medalion, he is transported to a mysterious world caled Barsoom, which we learn later is Mars. Due to lower gravitational pull on Mars than there is on Earth, he can jump to extraordinary heights, and he is hailed as one of the strongest by the local aliens, the Tharks. While on Mars, he tries to stop the marriage between Dejah Thoris, and Sab Than, the tyranical prince of Zondanga, the state warring with Helium, the state of which Dejah Thoris is from. All the while, he is still looking for a way back home.

I'll be the first to admit, I thought that this was going to be like Avatar, though once the movie started I had Cowboys and Aliens in mind, due the fact it was set in the Midwest at first, and there were going to be aliens, however, once he got to Mars, it reminded me of something that you would see in Star Wars or Avatar, though the planet in this case was not as colorful as Pandora. However, the movie had its own charm and flare to it. The technology was handled well, along with the design of the city and the world its self.

The characters in my mind were a bit developed in the right and wrong places. John Carter was a bit bland in my mind, though being a Confederate soldier and the people on the planet were not that well defined. In fact, at a point, only John Carter, the Thern, and the princess were distinguishable. The Tharks all looked the same, to tell the truth, and even though they made four arms look plausible, it still looked a bit weird in my mind. The Thern was another character that I think needs to be explained a bit more, and the theory of how the people and animals got on the planet should have been explained more.

Another problem I have with this movie is repetition in jokes and even actions. John always tries repeatedly to escape from the people who have captured him, and it always it the same attempt: jumping or brute force. Also, the Tharks, they keep calling him "Virginia" because he introduces him self from being from there, and they fail to get that is not his name. While I find a bit humorous, as being from Virginia, and nothing brings me greater joy than to hear my home state mentioned in a movie, they over did it. Just call him "John Carter" and leave it at that. They also seem to repeat a lot on the fact that he can jump super high, even exaggerating it a bit much.

The scenery in the movie, I will give credit to being actually pretty good. The IMAX made it better, but they do need to work on distance lighting and getting everything in focus to make it 3D. (Turn up aperture!!) There was definitely depth to the picture, and there were layers to the scenes, i.e. the characters stood out from the background, but it just felt lacking in the 3D aspect. Granted, it didn't make me sick like Avatar did, but the motion scenes felt like they were not that compatible with the 3D.

A minor note I would like to bring up is the fact that Disney made the film. While I still associate Disney handling animated films, such as The Little Mermaid, or Snow White, they also produced Pirates of the Carribean. I do think this is one of their weaker films, but it still a good attempt at a sci-fi film.

Overall, for science fiction fans, this is probably going to be one of the biggest films of the year, besides Iron Sky. I think Disney did a good job handling the film overall. Though I do smell sequels to this film if does does well enough, because I feel like they did not explain all that much about Mars or the people on it. Hopefully, this film can get the sequels needed for explanation, though that could potentially ruin it I have to admit. SO, have fun on Mars, and take an adventure.

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