Review: John Carter Blu-ray; here’s why you need to give this film a chance

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(I’m not going to post a flood of positive reviews — just one for now.  There are both types out there — positive and negative, just like for the theatrical.  But all the fans of the movie are having a nice day of it, so let’s not rain on that just yet.  Contrarians please hold your fire, just for today.  Thanks.)

From by Peter Hall

How’s the movie?

Chalk it up to bad marketing, bad timing, or just plain bad luck– whatever the case, John Carter got a raw deal in theaters. It’s not a grand slam, but it is a grand scale, highly ambitious fantasy overflowing with inspired design and special effects work. Taylor Kitsch is a bit dry as a Confederate soldier who finds himself in the middle of a civil war on Mars, but thankfully he’s surrounded on all sides by supporting players that really give it their all, particularly Lynn Collins.

If you missed this in theaters, please don’t miss it on Blu-ray or DVD. It’s much better than the box office and general miasma of negativity in the press implies. Plus, it’s an exceptional HD experience.

Read the full review


  • “JOHN CARTER was perfection in a few ways that really matter to me though”

    Uh-uh. And I guess “perfection” means cliches, bad screenwriting and missed opportunities?

    I finally gave in and rewatched it and that’s what I got the second time around. Now some things did play better-Taylor Kitsch’s performance when he wasn’t Mopey Carter, the FX even on Blu-Ray still looked good-and the things I did thought work the first time around still do (Lynn Collins’ Dejah, Woola) but it still seemed Stanton had zero care for Burroughs in adapting it.

    It also suffered from just plan bad writing. Let’s have Matai Shang suddenly spill the beans to JC before he kills him? I think that works only with ill-tempered sea bass and unnecessary slow dipping mechanisms. Incredibly vague villains with no purpose or goal. The whole subplots with the medallion and the 9th ray which were badly thought out. Mrs. Useless P. Carter and the kid still add nothing (I got into a debate about this and the reason it doesn’t work? Watch The Searchers. Ford did better and there is an example of perfection on film).

    Also talking about derivative in the discussion about FlickFilospher well this film was deriviative but not because of Burroughs. The opening sequence, dropping us in the middle of an air battle-basically Star Wars without the text opening. John leaping to save falling Dejah? I saw that a month ago when Superman The Movie was on one of the HD channels. The one man flyer/speeder bike chase? Those flyers still look too close to Return of the Jedi. Now I’m sure the Stanton defenders will say that it was all taken from Burroughs and I agree. That’s still no excuse for Stanton to make such blatant steals from those movies.

    I guess it will still be a film full of “could have beens.” It could have been a great sci-fi fantasy film filled with romance, action and colorful characters. It could have been the closest and most respectful adaptaion of ERB on film. It could have been a blockbuster if Disney hadn’t screwed up and Stanton hadn’t decided he was better than the material or decided that audiences won’t care about tired ideas and a confused plot.

    I guess to be positive it’s more fun than the first time but still it should have been more than just a fun but forgettable Saturday afternoon film. But seriously perfection? Watch Lawrence of Arabia if you want perfection.

  • I was really glad I placed a hold on a copy at the local Best Buy. When I got there last night they were sold out. There’s one coming in the mail from Amazon as well (I pre-ordered as soon as possible), but I’ll send that one to Jan for Comic-Con.

    The Blu-Ray is gorgeous. Really wish most of the deleted scenes had made it into the movie, especially the ones with ERB, the Martian scenery that showed over Dejah Thoris’ voiceover during the “Hall of Science” opening, the extended Kantos Kan scene, and the bit with Carter and Tharks where he yells for water.

    There are almost no movies I can think of that aren’t flawed in some fashion. JOHN CARTER was perfection in a few ways that really matter to me though. The sense of wonder, the economy of the storytelling, the importance of character where even the action sequences and minor bits of business serve to illustrate it, the love story, shucks –the sheer romance of it all.

    I do believe I’ll watch it again tonight!

  • “Contrarians please hold your fire, just for today.”

    Well it’s the 6th. Does that mean the cease fire is over? If not sorry for breaking the treaty…I did buy the Blu-Ray (there I did my part, now what do I get in return? A promise if there is a sequel that Stanton will not be involved?) but haven’t watched the film yet so I’ll try to turn off the ERBometer as Dotar asked. That said…

    “Only someone whose only seen the film once could call it more flawed than entertaining.”

    Hey I saw Grown Ups and The Green Hornet once and they were extremely flawed. Does that mean I should watch them again to see if I missed the entertainment value? Granted sometimes the second viewing does improve a film but often times it actually gets worse.

  • Only someone whose only seen the film once could call it more flawed than entertaining. Anyway, overall great review! I love seeing the flood of great reviews on the web and hearing how the DVD/BluRays are selling out at the big chains! Excellent!! As it should be!!! I hope it continues! 😀

  • “Flawed but entertaining” – a perfect description of this film, though I’d stress the ‘flawed’ part a bit more, say with bold and italics, and suggest that watching grass grow is about as entertaining….

  • Down at the bottom of the page I saw a link to another article by Peter Hall that seems to be a regular series called “Buy Me, Rent Me, Forget Me”; this edition subtitled “Give ‘John Carter’ a Chance, Plus a Handful of Quality Releases Ahead of Father’s Day.”

    It looks to be quick round-up of multiple new/recent releases and Mr. Hall gives JOHN CARTER a verdict of “Buy Me.”

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