gentlemen and women of earth,
I would like to emphasize that John Carter was completely fucking awesome.
and you should see it.
it started very indiana jones and ended very star wars. (with moments that echoed Conan, Gladiator and Chronicles of Riddick)
(and maybe a dash of HP Lovecraft-ish weird mystery).
I was completely blown away. You could tell this was the Director who made Wall-E. and I think it’s pretty clear he wanted to make a living Frank Frazetta painting. (a href=”http://abduzeedo.com/comic-book-artist-frank-frazetta”>ref()
I’m kind of curious (terrified?) to read criticisms of the film now, because nothing stood out to me as a problem. I thought it was perfect fantasy action spectacle epic. and despite sensing how so many little parts were ripped off for other projects over the past 90 years, I still felt like “an original untouchable standard” was being shown.
…I hesitate to go into more detail, because part of the joy of this film is taking in each new scenario/idea and judging how well it holds up for yourself. but I think that “holding back” urge is what fucked this film. the marketing tried to hold back, and/or focus on just the normal human angle. or something? it’s really not about some simple dude named John. the film doesn’t hold back. The film is about an astonishing super hero from earth, who jumps miles at a time, while swinging his chains to slaughter monsters and save the goddamned Princess of Mars.
It’s like Conan weird fantasy on acid. with extra helpings of fun science fiction. so fucking awesome. I suspect it was so fucking awesome that audiences may be in shock. “did i really just see that awesomething?” they ask themselves. then look around to see if anyone else saw it. Makes me sad to think the theatre may be half empty, instead of filled with cheering geeks.
The narrative structure at the beginning was maybe a little rocky, as it jumped around and flashback’d a lot. but this all paid of handsomely by the end.
Carter starts off as kind of a boring goth ponce in some victorian feeling city sending telegrams – then he’s suddenly dead and we’re in the mystery of his will – then they flash back to his earlier life as a mangy gold prospecting southern war hero – then he’s on mars bumbling about with super powers.
He’s mostly just this kind of cold, angry bad-ass for the first half of the film, who doesn’t have much to say. Like Indiana Jones?
You don’t know why he’s so violently opposed to taking orders, or if he’s an asshole who abandoned his wife and daughter. or what. I was actually worried for a while that the whole might end up supporting some message that it’s cool to abandon your family and run away to Mars.
But when they finally deliver the rest of the relevant backstory, and tie all these things together, I was in tears. I thought this was clearly the highlight of the film. John Carter charging an army of savage aliens, single handed, screaming and crying, inter-cut with memories of the horrible fate of family. perfect.
I really dug how they just dropped you into the fantasy epic with little care for setting up characters, but by the end of the film you feel like you’ve witnessed the formation of several unique families.
there was no part that felt like a poorly handled fantasy “nod” or throw away, which is so common in these sorts of films. Instead it all felt core to the story and deftly handled. the perfect fantasy serial, still untopped after all this time being ripped off.
loved it to death.
I’m curious what happened with the bumbling marketing. I hope their marketing department is currently being dragged behind a bus. Thought it sort of telling that the movie ends with the title card “John Carter of Mars”, and the JCM logo. it sort of felt like “fuck you, marketing asshats. the fucking movie is called JOHN CART OF MARS! BAM!” oof. anywho. go see it on the big screen. (but don’t waste money on the 3D conversion version) blah blah blah. why am i pretending i’m a critic? hmm.