AICN Review: “JOHN CARTER was amazing! I have not felt so genuinely surprised in a movie theater since seeing the original MATRIX.”

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Ain’t it Cool News has posted a review by Copernicus, who attended the same LA Times Hero Complex Screening we did, (and who is thus not bound by any embargo). This one makes mine seem positively restrained. Here are excerpts — or you can read the whole review at Ain’t It Cool News.

If you are interested in the history, much of it is recounted in a new chapter of the revised edition of THE GREATEST SCI-FI MOVES NEVER MADE. It is a very entertaining and fascinating book if you haven’t read it.

Back in the present day, I was not enthused with what I was seeing about JOHN CARTER OF MARS. First, they hired Taylor Kitch, who I was not impressed with as Gambit in the woeful WOLVERINE. Then they excised Mars from the title of the film, which I still find both wrong-headed and, as an astronomer, offensive. Others were grumbling about the redness of the “red men” or the size of the Tharks, but I could care less about that. What I found troubling was that none of the ads made me interested in the film at all — it seemed like some of the worst parts of STAR WARS, EPISODE 2 in man-panties. I didn’t care for that soulless CG supposed-love story, so why would I want to see this? And worse, outside of some hardcore geeks, the film was not registering *at all.* Astronomers are usually pretty seriously into science fiction, and I’ve probably asked about a dozen people around the office if they are going to see the movie, and I don’t think a single one has had any idea what I’m talking about.

All this is a long way of saying that I was curious enough about JOHN CARTER to ask Geoff Boucher of the LA Times Hero Complex blog to get me into his 3D IMAX
screening last night, with Andrew Stanton in attendance, because I figured it would be at least intellectually interesting to see what decisions they made about Mars and about adapting the material. But as for the quality of the film, I was expecting something between diverting, but forgettable, and train wreck. You know, KRULL.

Boy was I wrong. JOHN CARTER was amazing! I have not felt so genuinely surprised in a movie theater since seeing the original MATRIX. I saw STAR WARS through JEDI in their original runs at their formative ages of 4-10, and I lost my damn fool mind. Kids today will be doing the same thing for JOHN CARTER. This is their STAR WARS. Twelve year olds will lose their shit. That isn’t to say that this film is only for kids. But kids are hardwired for the spirit of wonder and adventure. We’ve all got it deep down, even if we’ve become jaded and cynical adults. I didn’t know I still had an inner 12 year old in me, but there he was at the JOHN CARTER screening, hepped up on crack. At most screenings these days the knowledge I have as an adult gets in the way of that pure sense of glee and discovery: I’ve seen the plot before, I’m unconvinced by the actors or the effects, or I’ve followed the development of the film so closely on the internet, or it is so spoiled in the trailer, that I know what’s coming. All that melted away in JOHN CARTER, and I was just right there on Mars discovering aliens, leaping around another planet, and getting into adventures.

Read the whole review at Ain’t It Cool News.


  • It’s exactly that kind of movie. You will want to go “back to barsoom” again and again, guaranteed. Me too. I saw it on Monday and I was ready to see it again on Tuesday…..

  • Yay! John Carter (of Mars!)Can’t wait. Sounds pretty great. How many times will I see it? Maybe 7 or 8.

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