Monday, March 12, 2012

John Carter couldn't keep me awake

John Carter
Director: Andrew Stanton
Stars: TIM EFFING RIGGINS, and some capable actors who likely had different expectations of how it would turn out.

The reviews for John Carter are all over the place.  You can read one review and the critic will go from saying horrible about it and ends the article with how it's not that bad.  One review I read basically said that if you can set logic and intelligence aside it's actually pretty fun.  I'm a fan of logic and intelligence though, and I don't think one should have to sacrifice both to enjoy a movie. 

That said, I did not expect to fall asleep within the first 30 minutes of the movie!  Maybe I could blame Daylight Savings and if I had seen it on Saturday my sleepiness wouldn't have been a factor.  It wasn't boring but apparently it wasn't worth fighting for either.  It was terribly cheesy and a lot of what ended up on screen didn't work.  But I feel like there is a decent movie in there somewhere.  I see what director Andrew Stanton (he of Wall*E and Finding Nemo fame) was going for but it just didn't quite get there.  It probably doesn't help that another Pixar director recently had a great entrance into live-action directing. The acting was so-so and I'm sad to say that Taylor Kitsch just can't hold a movie.  I actually really like most of the cast in John Carter (aside from Lynn Collins-who I have no real opinion about) and feel like they were bogged down with a goofy script and lame story.  There were times of humor but mostly those times seemed ill-placed or just didn't land as well as they should have.  The story just didn't work and the dialogue didn't help.  There was some good intention but you can't make a movie based on intention. 

So what did work?  The effects and world created on Mars, er "Barsoom," were pretty cool.  The races that inhabit the planet were interesting but I'm not sure why there were humanoids mixed with non-humanoids. I'm not familiar with the book written by Edgar Rice Burroughs on which the movie is based so I'm sure he explained it thoroughly there but we got nothing in the movie.  There was action and excitement and uh, did I mention the effects?  I think now, what with all our technology and stuff, was a good time to make this movie so it could look cool.  But it was just really lacking in so many other areas.  It was missing that spark that makes a movie great.

As I mentioned, the acting was fine.  The cast that Stanton pulled together was pretty incredible.  You may not recognize all the names but you'd know their faces.  There were British staples like Mark Strong, Dominic West, Ciaran Hinds, and Samantha Morton.  Plus there were some pretty darn good Americans like Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church and Bryan Cranston.  They were all fine and did the best they could in an odd situation.

I'm not selling this movie, am I?  It really wasn't awful.  It definitely wasn't Battlefield Earth or Pluto Nash bad but it wasn't Star Wars great either.  Hey, it was waaaayyy better than Conan if that helps.  For a more coherent review, check out what Tracy had to say over at

I think I'm glad I saw it and I want the best for Kitsch.  I mean, look at him:

How about with short hair?
Ok, ok...I'm done.

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