Escape to the Movies: John Carter

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@octofish - I agree partly - Number of the Beast... would make a terrible movie. Like most of Heinlein's later books, it's WAY too talky. I enjoy that in a book sometimes, but for a movie - no way.

I think Glory Road could be well done, though. Yeah, a lot of talking again, but most of it isn't integral to the plot, and the Quest for the Egg could be a lot of fun. The Igli sequence by itself could be worth the price of admission.

Of course, this leaves me wondering if removing all of the discussion from the books is why none of the movies made from Heinlein's work have been any good - and yes, I'm specifically thinking of Starship Troopers.

It's kind of rare that Bob actually doesn't like a movie...

Anyway, I kind of guessed the film wouldn't be anything more than a "meh". I don't know why, I think the fact it was a Disney movie had something to do with it.

MonkeyPunch:
What's that movie(?) that Bob is way more excited than he thought he would be at the end?

Its Assasin's Creed 3. Moviebob has a big love and maybe fetish for America, so this is a special treat to him.

Welp, I guess just buy the books, not the movies.

Taylor Kitch naked 0_0 OH GAWD, I CAN HEAR THE SQUEEEEEs!!!

Shame about the film not being as good as it should though. From the art ive seen I was expecting something abit more aesthetically appealing, like strange skys and funky set pieces, instead it kind of looks like Prince of Persia... bleh.

Oh look, there's Mark Strong, AGAIN!

Its funny how John Carter can't fall asleep and wake up on an alien planet because that doesn't make sense but kids can fall through a rabbit hole or a wardrobe to new worlds and the audience doesn't bat an eye. Maybe the series should have changed its label to fantasy.

Part of the problem with the source material like John Carter is that it was the foundation for a lot of hero epics afterwards. Consequently, the plot and characters are going to seem very cliche. If subsequent generations of literature have refined the picture of a hero, then a modern reinterpretation is going to have to be made up to appeal to what the studio thinks the audience wants. Hence, a cliche hero because there is not a lot to work with in the source material.

I agree with you Bob, it could have been better. However it could have been worse. I liked it because though it shirked greatness for good enough, it achieved good enough instead of mediocre or crappy. :) My 2 cents. And Collins was the best part of this movie just like she (not the character mind you) was the best part of Wolverine.

Just came back from seeing John Carter with my dad. He said it wasn't particularly "deep", but it was a good action movie with good effects and such. I guess that's what I thought, too. It may seem cliche at the time, but then again, people seem to eat up all kinds of movies that are just "okay", so I highly recommend it to people who'd like a good 3D experience... Just be prepared to take down a lot of science fiction mumbo jumbo and alien names.

Shucks, I too was hoping for "one for the ages".

Bob, you had me hoping there at the beginning, but dashed my hopes with the epic happy face transition to sad face.

Huh. I would have thought that the "Virginia gentleman" aspect of the character would carry all the generic good-guy stuff, making it possible to show what a nineteenth-century person would think about what was happening. Sort of like Dr. Aronnax in 20,000 leagues under the sea. From that perspective, the audience wouldn't need to identify with the character so much as be interested in how the character viewed their situation.
In fact, a lot of John Carter's motivations in the book were driven by his cultural standards - in fact, he decked (and accidentally killed) one of the Tharks because of the Thark's rudeness wasn't something that would be tolerated by any "red-blooded male member of the human race" I think it was phrased. So I think there's a lot there to work with in terms of character study.

But maybe that's the problem - a movie with a lot of special effects maybe doesn't have the ability to focus on characters. Blade Runner and Aliens pulled it off, but I am having trouble thinking of any other high-effects-budget movies made since that has succeeded in making a good "people" story. Aside from Pixar's work, of course ;)

I can't wait to watch this movie. It looks great. I'm not expecting anything new or revolutionary. But the fantasy aspect of it looks amazing. Kind of a Star Wars/Final Fantasy mix up; two of my favorite fictional universes.

Well, the first half of the movie is pretty confusing and borderline boring. It's pretty much setting the story and introducing the characters and all. The second half gets better once the action scenes kick in and everyone has a purpose and everything is more or less explained.

Although one thing I couldn't quite comprehend were the bad guys. I just...didn't really get what they were truly after.

Also, I'm not a big fan of the whole "love at first sight" theme, which also happens here. John is the lone wolf who, like Bob said, just wants to go home and the princess just wants to save her kingdom. I think the whole movie happened in less than 3 days (As far as I can remember) and by the, well, you can imagine how everything ends up, them being a romantic couple.
The only movie were I approved of that whole instant love theme was Enchanted, and that because A) It was making fun of all the other movies that do this and B) It's actually well explained and developed that it makes sense for it to happen. With this movie, it all seems too rushed, almost as if the heroes fell for each other because of the thrill of the battle and that's it.

Yes, John's persona is pretty predictable, but so is the princess', what with the whole 'I'm selfless and headstrong, you wouldn't expect that from me' theme that we've seen a thousand princesses pull off before. They have their moments where you can connect with them, so it's not that bad.

I agree with Bob with the fact that the movie could have been played better. I know the original story and I gotta say the adaptation isn't that bad considering all the problems it had to dodge regarding the story. It's good; what bothers me is the borderline cookie-cutter characters. They had SO MUCH potential, and yet, they didn't quite get there. It's a pity, really. And what sucks the most about this is that this was the precursor of all those cookie-cutter characters. So...yeah, time paradox?

Plinglebob:
It sounds like its more the fault of internet nerds and film critics then general audiences that helped mess up the story. Both of the former groups seem to want everything to have a reason and are unhappy with the general "It just happens, live it it" excuse where as general audiences don't care.

Its because Bob and most film critics and irrelevant complaining internet nerds (dont get me wrong, I love nerd stuff but I'm not this petty) tend to put themselves on a pedestal to the "lesser general public". He made this viewpoint pretty clear in a lot of movie reviews and its why I don't take him seriously. I'm a nerd and I like the Transformers movies so my opinions on things don't matter?

Now, I can see why they would be less weird to acquire a larger audience of people, but can you please explain to me HOW exactly to be more weird and outlandish to benefit the movie? Talking about the negatives all day long is meaningless if you don't have an alternate solution.

[sic] "everybody in the books are naked, but they wouldn't do that in the movie"

I guess you'll just have to wait for one of those "this ain't" porn parodies, Bob.

I'm not big fan of Sci-fantasy
On the other hand I enjoyed reading "Darkover"
I could give this movie a try

MovieBob:
John Carter

Finally the man that influenced modern fantasy gets his own movie.

Watch Video

Unfortunately, this is the one he got.
p(T-T)q

MovieBob:

theSteamSupported:
That's at least how interpret it. After all, this is is coming from a critic who hasn't explained exactly how and why The Artist is more gimmicky than Sucker Punch.

"The Artist" is more/worse in terms of gimmickry because it's a gimmick without a point - there's NOTHING going on or being "said" by the gimmick of shooting it as a silent movie other than "Hey look, We made a silent movie ABOUT the end of silent movies! Aren't we clever?"

"Sucker Punch," while it definitely bites off more than it can chew in terms of complexity, aims to use it's various visual/structural gimmicks to MEAN something and to SAY something. In lieu of re-hashing just what those "somethings" seem to be, I'll just link to this: http://www.lunalindsey.com/2011/03/analysis-of-sucker-punch-feminist.html

Thanks, Bob.

Y'know, it's 'hypocrisies' like these that makes you such a fascinating and interesting critic/commentator. The fact that you think Element X works in movie A, but not in movie B, rather than just praising/dismissing Element X regardless of context, is one reason why you're one of my favourite opinion holders.

There are occasions when I disagree with you, Bob (I don't find South Park that funny and there was no steam coming out of my ears after watching Iron Lady), but often I have a hard time taking the harsh critique against your opinions seriously.

For future occasions, try to be more aware of your 'hypocrisies' by explaining the reason behind their existences.

I thought for a minute Bob was gonna do a mash up of John Carpenter movies... then I realized his name is CarPENTER and not carter. Seriously, I searched IMDB for John Carter and began to wonder why I wasn't seeing anything about halloween, escape from, they live, the thing, vampires, fog, so on and so forth...

And then I realized his name was Carpenter.

I've spent hours and hours watching troma, hammer films, the holy trinity (jason, michael & freddy), fulci, romero, and all kinds of other assorted horror/sci-fi crap, repeating many of the same films over and over... and several years later what's left?

John Carter = Carpenter.

Don't work in an office environment with senseless procedures you memorize without reason or thought. Soon, your brain too will become squishy.

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I'd never heard of this series at all, and the title didn't drop until the very end. But I misheard what they said as, "Are you John Conner of Earth?"
So the entire time I was lamenting the...interesting...direction the Terminator franchise had decided to go.

Caramel Frappe:
Even before I watched your review Bob, I wasn't going to see this movie. It looks boring, and not promising in the least. Because I already have these vibes on the main character being boring and already figured that he would resist caring until a certain point. What makes a character stand out is when you have no insight on how they'll be or if they have a unique personality that draws you to like them.

Here's a tip to Hollywood: You can make a guy really cool and fight well enough for us to be entertained during the action scenes.. but that's all the guy is good for. Apart from those scenes, he's like the most cliche' type of characters you know how he'll be or how he'll turn out in conversations or least outside of combat. Not to mention the movie's plot and where it's based on reminds me a lot of Planet Hulk, the movie where Hulk is sent to mars thus he helps try to free the people from.. the higher up bad guys, like this movie. Might as well watch that instead.

HA! Glad to know I'm not the only one who got the first impression of Generic flavored main character at first.

I would love to see this movie but it really doesn't sit well with me.

Secondly how ya been Caramel!?

I watched the film and then watched this review, and I have t say, I completely agree with you. I remember thinking toward the ending that the story was essentially just Flash Gordon but with better special effects and a script that takes itself too seriously. But like you said, it was merely good when a few changed would've made it awesome, and that really annoyed me.

Just watched the film, I loved it. It reminds me alot of Lynch's Dune in that you just sit there looking at the screen thinking "what the fuck is this?" I mean the film has a walking city, these huge dragonfly looking airships manned by people dressed in Greek style armour and these weird bald guys with the blue super-weapon stuff that's like a Green Lantern ring, only better and blue. And that's just in the first 5 minutes, then you have the Tharks and the White Apes and Carter himself. The action is awesome the visuals are great and it's a fun movie.

If you were willing to shell out money for the Star Wars prequels you owe it to yourself to check this out, it's far better than most of the obvious comparisons (TPM, Avatar, Flash Gordon etc).

Axolotl:
Just watched the film, I loved it. It reminds me alot of Lynch's Dune in that you just sit there looking at the screen thinking "what the fuck is this?" I mean the film has a walking city, these huge dragonfly looking airships manned by people dressed in Greek style armour and these weird bald guys with the blue super-weapon stuff that's like a Green Lantern ring, only better and blue. And that's just in the first 5 minutes, then you have the Tharks and the White Apes and Carter himself. The action is awesome the visuals are great and it's a fun movie.

If you were willing to shell out money for the Star Wars prequels you owe it to yourself to check this out, it's far better than most of the obvious comparisons (TPM, Avatar, Flash Gordon etc).

Hell, just watch it for the dog, because the dog is awesome.

I think the problem they had with this movie was exactly the problem they had with other adaptations of books. It takes a LOT of exposition to get someone familiar with the background of a book premise, and it's much easier to do so if the media is one that you're reading the entirety of the story anyway. Translating all that exposition into movie format can be excrutiating, not to mention this movie had the endeavor of reworking the story itself for modern audiences. Honestly, if you directly translated Princess of Mars to a movie, it would be a fantasy setting OngBak: awesome action, lame hero, no one knows what's going on, and a VERY niche audience.

The fact that a movie production company turned a John Carter book into a movie that actually works is a miracle unto itself. If you wanted an untouched, riskier movie made from the book then it wouldn't have had the budget it did. It'd have gotten the same treatment as Scott Pilgrim: a cheap risky adaptation that bombed in theaters but made up the rest in DVD sales. I have no problem with this film... it's a bit hokey, it has the Disney formula all over it, but it works. It's hilarious at times, the action is great, the effects actually look good, and there's no plotholes to be pissed about. The crowning moments of awesome are in the movie, you just have to wait a little while to get to them.

Just saw this movie....it was a lot of fun. Poor Bob, I do not envy you, you've seen too many movies and are getting severely jaded. We need more fun movies like this one. And I thought it was a remarkably faithful adaptation of the book, all things considered. Hell, they even got the "astral dream travel" much more closely than you gave them credit for....so what if they cleaned it up a tiny bit for modern audiences and added a bit of a subplot in about the thern? They got virtually all the other key bits right, which really impressed me (and I won't go into it to avoid spoilers).

I really want this movie to succeed, I'd like to see the rest of the books turn into films.

So it doesnt meet to bobs nostalgic expectation. So yeah of course hes not fond of it. Color me unsurprised considering I knew this is how he would review it since the 2012 films to look forward to.

Crispee:
I watched the film and then watched this review, and I have t say, I completely agree with you. I remember thinking toward the ending that the story was essentially just Flash Gordon but with better special effects and a script that takes itself too seriously. But like you said, it was merely good when a few changed would've made it awesome, and that really annoyed me.

Wondering about that 'takes itself too seriously' thing...this is the movie with the giant speedy gonzales dog mutant we're talking about? Where the main character is, on a number of occasions, let's be honest, made to look like a complete dolt. (Subjected to no less then -two- comedic montages resulting in bodily harm, even Flash Gordon didn't have that many pratfalls!) Where the bad guys while I agree, were quite seemingly lacking in motivations were about as smarmy and outwardly evil as the average comic book villain. Yeah, the serious moments, were, shockingly, serious. But from what I'm reading I'm getting the impression of David Lynch's 'Dune' levels, which is hardly the case.

Hell:

So...forgive me if I didn't think it was taking itself -too- seriously. :P

That aside, reportedly this was made on a budget of 250 million, and isn't even going to make even close to that at the box office. So, that's probably going to kill any chances of a sequel.

I'm disappointed because I did really enjoy the film despite agreeing with many of the problems people are having with it. Don't know why, but at times it felt like this should have been a TV series. That I would watch in a heartbeat.

I love MovieBob. I didn't know all that much about John Carter before and now I just feel so much more enlightened. I don't always agree with his opinion, but he provides so much insight in his reviews that I've grown to treat them as much more than just reviews.

DVS BSTrD:
Would you say the plot is in retrograde from the original story Bob?

Of course you know, this means war.

GothmogII:

Crispee:
I watched the film and then watched this review, and I have t say, I completely agree with you. I remember thinking toward the ending that the story was essentially just Flash Gordon but with better special effects and a script that takes itself too seriously. But like you said, it was merely good when a few changed would've made it awesome, and that really annoyed me.

Wondering about that 'takes itself too seriously' thing...this is the movie with the giant speedy gonzales dog mutant we're talking about? Where the main character is, on a number of occasions, let's be honest, made to look like a complete dolt. (Subjected to no less then -two- comedic montages resulting in bodily harm, even Flash Gordon didn't have that many pratfalls!) Where the bad guys while I agree, were quite seemingly lacking in motivations were about as smarmy and outwardly evil as the average comic book villain. Yeah, the serious moments, were, shockingly, serious. But from what I'm reading I'm getting the impression of David Lynch's 'Dune' levels, which is hardly the case.

Hell:

So...forgive me if I didn't think it was taking itself -too- seriously. :P

That aside, reportedly this was made on a budget of 250 million, and isn't even going to make even close to that at the box office. So, that's probably going to kill any chances of a sequel.

I'm disappointed because I did really enjoy the film despite agreeing with many of the problems people are having with it. Don't know why, but at times it felt like this should have been a TV series. That I would watch in a heartbeat.

That is true, but what I mean by 'taking itself too seriously' mainly stems from the fact that the guy playing John Carter is speaking in a throatier voice than Christian Bale's Batman and generally acts constantly serious, like he when he refers to himself as "John Carter of Mars" with a completely straight face. The villains actors too are taking the film far too seriously, there are no cheesy dramatic shouts to speak of, nobody even shotus "CARTER'S ALIVE?!" or anything like that.

Saw the movie today. I actually thought it was pretty good.

The acting wasn't bad, the sfx were pretty good. There were some fun and exciting characters, but it just didn't pull together perfectly.

Still liked it though. Plus Malcom in the Middle's dad was in it. AWESOME!

Voltano:
I doubt this film would get done if everyone on Mars was meant to be naked. Then again, I wouldn't be complaining. >.>

Looks like a decent film to watch. Though if the main character is anything like "Superman" then I might not like him so much.

I look at it like a Nude Beach. When you have a place where everyone is naked, mostly you are going to see what you don't want to see. But then again if made into a movie EVERYONE would be too good looking and would just about come off as too unbelievably fake. Would be worth for the 3D then though.

Side note: Isn't there a 'tougher' Disney princess to relate her to seeing as how, ya know, Mulan isn't technically a princess? It was always weird to me she got tossed into that group of characters.

I'd fuss about Belle from Beauty and the Beast too but she's like my favorite female Disney character ever.

I thought it was a good movie. Don't know what movie bob's deal is.

*sigh*

Sometimes I feel like the only one who's happy this franchise got some attention at all, and a proper movie-budget at that. I mean, really, this is John Carter of Mars. Entirely unknown to pretty much everyone not up to their ears in nerd culture, and more or less always looked upon primarily as a catalyst for other works or an ur-example of pulpy sci-fi. It's not exactly books that you're shocked if people don't know or particularly care about.

And seriously, it's a good movie. A lot better and truer to the source material than I would have expected it to be. There's some hollywood-ish bits added that might not have needed to be there(but to be honest I don't really think the source material was in any way above any of it) but the stuff they got right they managed to hit absolutely spot on. The tharks are exactly like I imagined them when I read the books as a kid, as was Helium and the desolate martian vistas. In my view they really managed to capture a lot of the strange alien atmosphere that I remember the books instilling me with.

Well, I didn't mind the movie at all. I think the bad guys were campy, but that they seemed to be "setup" for a sequel. I liked it better than Avatar as a 3D movie, and at least it was better than the drek that was Conan, thank god...

I think they didn't have enough campy sci-fi looks to it with the spaceships and cities, but I didn't mind the story at all.

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