From the Visalia Times Delta: John Carter” is one wacky movie. It features an unwieldy plot that throws in elements of “Flash Gordon,” “Star Wars,” “Indiana Jones,” “Avatar” and “Conan the Barbarian” for good measure. And even though it clocks in at well over two hours, the film feels over-stuffed and rushed because of all the disparate story lines.
Still, in spite of its crazed plot and at-times bloated running time, it’s mostly entertaining. This is a movie aimed at the 13-year-old boy with a healthy imagination and a thirst for action. “John Carter” features visits to other worlds, sword fights, gun battles, 12-foot-tall, four-armed green creatures with a propensity for violence and a scantily clad princess whose outfit would make even Princess Leia via “Return of the Jedi” blush.
The movie, directed by Andrew Stanton of Pixar “Finding Nemo” and “Wall-E” fame, is based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “John Carter of Mars” series, which was first published starting in 1912. The novels obviously influenced a wide swath of future sci-fi series, including the aforementioned “Flash Gordon” and “Star Wars.”
To describe the plot is almost a losing proposition. It revolves around a Civil War veteran transported to Mars, which is the middle of a civil war between the kingdom of Helium and the mobile city of Zodanga. Turns out the civil war in manipulated by malevolent spirit forces led by Matai Shang (Mark Strong).