Came across this recent review (Dec 2) and felt it was worth sharing. Very entertaining look at John Carter.
John Carter of Mars. No Group Sex But Great Summer — hem, Winter Movie
by Liam Scheff
An incredibly creative, much funnier-than-it-had-to-be movie that was riddled by critics (perhaps because of its terrible name): “John Carter” (of Mars).
A great adventure featuring some great looking actors (and one actress, “Oh, Goddess, I offer a potato chip sacrifice to your deeply sexy silhouette!”), featuring real emotional stakes in what is about the prettiest kid-adult movie you’ve ever seen. It’s a very adventurous adventure (for a change from today’s formulaic kids’ crap) about a Civil War Calvary soldier, tired and soul-beaten from violence and loss, who ends up running from the Indians he was trying to talk peaceably to (but was unable to because the American soldiers chasing him for desertion shot at them), ends up in a sacred cave, and stumbles into a transport area (a ‘telegraph’) to and from Mars, used by ‘ancient aliens.’ On Mars he discovers he’s a bit of a Superman, because of the reduced gravity.
There, he has to learn to fight (and care) again, for the “Indian” people (red-skinned, played by pretty actors), who are under attack by the “Roman” (looking) army. (In fact, the whole episode trades liberally and playfully on Roman era warfare and, if not actual history, then a feeling for it).
It’s a very spirited adventure, drawn from Edgar Rice Burrough’s (author of “Tarzan”) novel series, which I’ll now have to pick up. And it does play a lot like the ancient world set in the 19th Century West, (with echoes of “Conan the Barbarian” written in the ’30s by Robert E. Howard) – the same love of new and exotic locales, people and relationships – but without the gore, cannibalism or group sex scenes (Well, it’s not a perfect movie).
The critics took liberal dumps all over it. But, they loved Avatar, which was an over-rated intellectual vacuum – a Rousseauean fantasy that decries warfare by having a war. And they loved Wall-E, which used pretty digital effects to create a giant empty space being drilled into your head. And they loved the recent Batman movies, which mistake insanity for plot structure. Why did they hate it? It’s fairly complex. The politics are more subtly played, at times, than are allowed in American films. The good and bad guys seem to get along – at times. And the father of the princess is willing to let her marry the chief bad guy – who seems hardly bad or threatening, at times. He is played by the world’s greatest British actor to ever play a sex-addicted, stumbling, picaresque Baltimore Cop (the actor – Dominic West, who played “Jimmy McNulty” in “The Wire” HBO series – adults only, do not miss it, losers. It will tell you precisely how the world works. Season Three. Hamsterdam).
So, why did people not get it?