From RadiusLit.org By Tony Williams
“Entertainment offers the image of `something better’ to escape into, or something that our day-to-day lives don’t provide. Alternatives, hopes, wishes – these are the stuff of utopia, the sense that things could be better, that something other than what is can be imagined and maybe realized.” (Richard Dyer)
John Carter is that rare creature in Hollywood Cinema: a well-crafted, professionally made, work of entertainment lacking either the infantile regressive features of the Star Wars films (with the honorable exception of The Empire Strikes Back co-scripted by Howard Hawks’s collaborator Leigh Brackett) or the bloated pretensions of Avatar. Unlike the George Lucas franchise, it is a film that can appeal to both adults and children. It never attempts to insult the intelligence of the audience. Nor is it a weak film derived from other sources that have treated the subject matter much better, such as Run of the Arrow and Dancing with Wolves. It is not dependent on 3-D special effects to make it technologically significant in the twenty-first century. It is more of a high budget B-movie of the type associated with past masters such as Samuel Fuller, Joseph H. Lewis, and Howard Hawks in its aim of telling a story simply, but none the less meaningfully. Currently available in theatrical 2-D and 3-D versions, it represents a unique alliance of form with content in a balanced type of representation. This is as equally true of the special effects contained within the 2-D version and the extended perception of the 3-D version. In Howard Hawk’s phrase, the film does not “annoy” the audience in bombarding them with special effects, “high-tech” devices that distract from the narrative.